A bonus edition of “Don’t Suck At Facebook” tonight looks at another long-term scourge of social media … Facebook couples’ profiles, the sort in which one or both parties insists on going by “JimNLinda Lastname” instead of engaging in Facebook antics separately and using the “in a relationship” function to get their show of possessiveness out of the way.
The Facebook joint profile for couples has been a thing since Facebook became popular, and it has never declined in creepiness. The reasons are legion, probably first and foremost because it appears to all others with whom these users interact that even the simple prospect of a lover having Facebook privacy might send one or both parties into a tailspin of paranoid jealousy. Family law experts have seen a rise in the role of social media in their cases.
Social media and Facebook, in particular, are very tone and context-dependent — and I think those of us maintaining sole-operator Facebook accounts can agree that joint couples’ Facebook profiles are incredibly awkward to deal with for many reasons:
- The aforementioned possessive implication — most users imagine anyone who would insist upon openly sharing a Facebook account is so terrified of Facebook flirting they deem it necessary. Such a suggestion makes others uneasy interacting with couples Facebook users;
- We don’t know who we’re talking to. Maybe I need to ask Linda a few cubicles over if she has a spare tampon, but in addition to being unable to shout it across the office, I also don’t know for sure Jim isn’t creeping on our discussions;
- It validates the idea that love and privacy don’t mix, as seen in an early plea on a Facebook page dedicated to couples who can’t even be apart in imaginary spaces because they have no individual identity anymore:
Hey. I think we all get that there’s a certain level of curiosity we all have about our partners’ and significant others’ social media communications. But it’s intrusive and coercive to do the joint Facebook profile thing, and it makes everyone involved look unstable to boot.
Runner up: the two people in a Facebook profile photo move. Not only does it still confuse the pants off half of us (ever spend a few days pinging someone back and forth before you realize their name is unisex and they’re not, indeed, female like you?), it also broadcasts a certain insecurity addressed by proving coupled status in what’s meant to be an avatar for your “you space.”
Back in 2009, a married blogger lamented the rise of the couples’ Facebook profile, explaining:
“I’ve been married for a while now, and I can say that couples do not instantly become the same person once they get married (although they can become increasingly similar). They are two different people. And each person should have their own Facebook. It’s bad enough that I have to share an apartment, a bed, and money with my wife. But she can get her own damn Facebook. And she prefers it that way, because she is not insane.”
Years later, this habit has not decreased — with therapist Suzana Flores remarking last month:
“Psychologically, when couples share social media accounts, it more likely than not is a sign of codependency or insecurity … It’s almost like the couple is … too enmeshed.”
So while couples’ joint profiles are a huge indicator a person sucks at Facebook, it doesn’t mean coupledom is Facebook suck territory. In fact, a very close-knit couple can use the service to great effect reinforcing their own individuality to friends in witty comments and thoughtful interactions.