This weekend’s forthcoming The New York Times Magazine features an article on getting dumped in the 21st century, as experienced by teenagers, centered around a Boston Public Health Commission conference on “healthy breakups.” At the event, high-school students were allowed to debate the etiquette of ending things in the age of texting, sexting, and Facebook, including whether or not it’s acceptable to be “posting mean/embarrassing statuses about your ex” or “rushing into a new ‘Facebook official’ relationship.” Though the story is called “Teaching Kids How to Break Up Nicely,” perhaps adults should have been invited, too.
A 17-year-old boy named Roberto gets slammed by some girls at the conference for saying, “When I’m done with a relationship, I’m not going to wait a day, an hour or even 10 minutes to update my status.” But anyone who’s social-network friends with old high-school classmates knows the practice continues well into supposed maturity. Then there’s divorce! And people who proceed to click “like” on relationship status changes are another issue entirely.
The legend of the Carrie Bradshaw’s Post-It note split is not entirely fictional. At every age there are the same insensitive emails, status changes, flat-out-disappearing acts, and even break-up tweets.
Although the first cut might’ve stung for the 15-year-old girl who “learned that her girlfriend of two years had dumped her only when she changed her relationship status to single” on Facebook, we know adults who have suffered that exact same fate, except back on Friendster, which might make it worse.
The kids attending the talks learned that Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz were a good example because they made a movie together after breaking up, while Kanye West and Amber Rose were a bad blueprint because he’s made at least one mean song about her. But on the subject of celebs, maybe Pam and Tommy would be a more honest lesson for the children: Even as you age, it’s going to happen over and over again.
Teaching Kids How to Break Up Nicely [New York Times Magazine]