Technology Makes Us Jerks

By Amanda Tonoli

Photo Courtesy of MTSOfan/Flickr. “Cell Phone Shorts”. CC by 2.0.

Breakups suck. When you part ways with someone you loved or liked a lot you feel like part of you is suddenly missing. Your mind does this weird slideshow thing and you see memories of the two of you flashing when you close your eyes or see something to remind you of them.

No matter how awful, breakups are a part of life — and so is dealing with them.

In “The Thoroughly Modern Guide to Breakups,” published in Psychology Today in January 2011, Elizabeth Svoboda addresses the terrible ways most of us handle breakups, and the appropriate ways we should go about them.

“Saying goodbye is heartbreaking, and most of us are total jerks about it,” Svoboda said. “Bad dumping behavior is booming, especially among the young.”

The bad dumping behavior Svoboda is referring to is the impersonal way people are dealing with such a personal thing — like over cellphones.

“Remote shortcuts like electronic endings look deceptively appealing — although, at the very least, they chip away at the self-respect of the dumpers and deprive dumpees of a needed shot at closure,” Svoboda said.

Shooting a simple text or leaving a cheesy voicemail saying, “it’s not you, it’s me” is a sure way to piss off a now ex. It’s borderline disrespectful. If you can’t say it to their face, then you shouldn’t have had the privilege to be with them at all.

People in this generation have access to so many different mediums to vent on — sad or angry posts on Twitter or Facebook. How many times have you muted a friend on social media to keep their incessant whining out of sight and out of mind? Venting your emotions on social networks can get annoying, and make you look crazy during a break up.

“Little wonder that hypersensitivity to rejection is on the rise, and it’s contributing to large increases in stalking behavior, especially on college campuses,” Svoboda said.

This dangerous behavior is growing. Svoboda reported more than 3 million people that say they are being stalked each year. Technology has made it so much easier to check up on people. Just visiting their page once a day is harmless, right? Wrong.

“The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to stalk their ex-partners; they’re willing to do just about anything to make the hurt go away,” Svoboda said.

Although it doesn’t seem criminal, social media is enabling all of us to wander about the dark side and partake in very stalking-like behavior. In regards to making your heart hurt less, checking their page won’t help you — it’ll actually probably make it hurt more.

“Most people are having more and more serious relationships before they find the one that works,” Svoboda said. “The emerging social reality demands some preparation for romantic rejection, given its potential to shatter one’s sense of self. For both parties, the experience influences how — or even whether — one moves on with life and love.”

When we break up, whether we are the dumper or the dumpee, there is a ripple effect. Either way the effects are irreversible. So, take great care in the way you handle yourself and other people. The way you or someone else moves on is dependent upon their last relationship — so don’t act like a jerk.