Tips on How You Can Avoid Awkward Situations on Facebook

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Facebook Moments You'd Rather Forget

Back in the old days (like ten years ago), awkward situations were limited to face-to-face personal interactions. Sure, there were the occasional awkward phone conversations, but in general, awkward moments happened at work, parties, school, stores, and most of all, family reunions. However, with so many technological advancements, we've also made advancements in our ability to find ourselves in awkward situations.

Facebook is one of the main sources of awkward situations in today's society. I don't have any statistics on that; I totally just made that one up. I've had lots of conversations with people though, and this seems to be a popular belief, so I am will to stand behind this one: Facebook is full of awkward moments.

Facebook is one place where everyone you know can merge together. It is like a big cyber party and everybody is invited. This leads to some really interesting interactions with people you would not otherwise ever meet. I remember my 16 year old cousin and my friend (around 50ish years old at the time) discussing a Taylor Swift CD on my Facebook profile page one day. The conversation pretty much took off without me and it was interesting to read. These were two people who'd never met, yet they bonded over their love of Taylor Swift. This was a nice moment on Facebook, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes when it comes to Facebook, awkward happens. I want to help everyone avoid that situation if possible.

Stop Friending Every Person You've Ever Met

Have you ever been on someone's page and you see they have over 1,000 friends? Why? There is no way you know that many people. It is OK to have that many friends if you are promoting a business, a blog, you are some type of celebrity, etc. If you are just an average dude and not using Facebook for any type of shameless self-promotion, why do you have that many friends?

When you friend anyone and everyone you've ever met, weird stuff happens on your page. First of all, it must be pretty impossible go through the News Feed. Second, some of your "friends" are probably going to try to strike up a creepy conversation or post annoying comments on your stuff. This will lead other "friends" to respond to those posts. Then, an entire annoying chain of events and arguments occur.

If you'd like to avoid drama and awkward comments, you need to attempt to be selective on who you friend. If someone starts trouble on your page, defriend them. If that person sends you angry messages, block them. It is as simple as that. Some people do not know how to censor anything they say, and those are the people that are going to say inappropriate things on your page. If you don't really know someone well, just don't friend him!

Create More Than One Account

This might seem like a nuisance to some people, but creating more than one account can be the best way to avoid issues. I personally have three accounts. I work at a fairly conservative office and some of my co-workers are easily offended. I know this because initially I only had one Facebook account, friended a few people at my job, and then offended someone with my status update on my private profile. Instead of being a mature adult and approaching me, she went to my boss to complain about my status update. She got defriended and I got a second Facebook account.

At some jobs, it is encouraged or even mandatory to use social networking sites. If this is the case at your job and you work with uptight people, you should create a second account. Even if this is not the case, it is not a good idea to mix business with pleasure. Keep your friends and family separated from your co-workers. It just makes sense. Once you have a few co-workers you really trust, it might be OK to add them as friends to your personal account.

Some people are firm believers that everyone should only have one Facebook account. People, for some unknown reason, trust Facebook's privacy settings and believe they can keep some people in certain groups and block them from seeing certain things. If you have that kind of free time to figure out the complex privacy settings of Facebook and you trust that it works 100% of the time, go for it. For me, I am not taking my chances.

I have one account for co-workers, one account for my online friends and followers, and one account for friends and family members. Some people even opt to create one account for family members and one account for friends. Depending on how much drama your relatives or friends can cause, that might be a good idea.

Don't Be an Obnoxious Poster

Some people post obnoxious comments, status updates, photos, etc. Don't be an obnoxious poster. You are purposely starting trouble. You are trying to bring on awkward situations. It is Facebook. Facebook is not a place to debate your issues and hurt other people's feelings. Apparently, you can instead take that type of activity to the comments section on Yahoo articles and YouTube videos.

Please do not be that person that posts passive-aggressive status updates. These are updates that are geared towards someone in particular, but the person shares these statements with the whole Facebook world. Passive-aggressive status updates usually go something like this: "It's OK you are not calling. I didn't want to talk to you anyway." or "I'll be going to the Olive Garden with my real friends tonight." Wow, that was so super annoying. Now, someone is going to be offended by this and post comments. This is when other random friends will join in and the stupidity will begin. Don't be that person!

Also, if the conversation does not pertain to you, stay out! If Betty invites Rhonda to have drinks after work, don't just read the invite and show up, too. Do you even know Betty? Why can't Rhonda go anywhere without you tagging along? I understand it would help if that conversation was not public, but still, stay out. So while I am on the subject...

Private Messages Mean Just That

If you have a private message you would like to send to someone, take a few moments to go to that person's page and click the "message" button. You see, when you post something to that person's profile page, EVERYONE sees it. Everyone can comment on it. Everyone can have an opinion. Everyone can possibly be jealous about it.

Keeping private messages private is probably the best way to avoid awkward conversations on Facebook. If you are getting back the results of your pregnancy test, perhaps you should share that in a private email or message. Even if you only post, "The test came back negative!" on a friend's page, that looks just a bit interesting to the average person. Someone is going to comment on it, and then the awkwardness begins!

If you have something really personal you need to say to a friend, don't post a passive-aggressive status update and don't post a comment on that person's page. Send a private message or, hey, pick up that object with the numbered buttons on it and call somebody. No, don't send a text; you can actually call someone when you have something important to say.

If You Do Something Embarrassing, Keep It To Yourself

Remember when people used to have dignity? Remember when you learned some things were better left unsaid? Remember when people used to be embarrassed by foolish actions? Well, those days are gone, my friend! But let's bring them back. When you make a boo-boo, don't let the world know about it.

I don't know about you, but the last thing my teenage cousins need to see is their 30-something year old cousin (who should know better) getting drunk at the bar or flirting with some guy who is way too young for me. This is exactly what they would be subjected to if I did not have a little something called dignity. It doesn't mean I am not doing these things. I just make sure there is no online evidence of it. This means no embarrassing photos go on my page. This means I do not friend random hot guys and hit on them on Facebook. That is what Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid is for anyway.

Delete, Defriend, Block, and Untag Are All Your Friends

Sometimes when you least expect it, a fight is going to begin over the stupidest thing on your profile page. Just recently, a friend of mine posted something simple as her status update. She mentioned she was going to see fireworks with her family. Well, guess what? This status update caused its own fireworks on her page. A couple of people actually posted comments about being upset they were not invited. Seriously? You can't even see fireworks without bickering?

In awkward (or just plain stupid) situations like this, just delete the status update. There is no reason to start some crazy argument online. Send some private messages explaining the situation and don't allow people to flood your profile page with embarrassing comments. Delete, delete, delete!

If someone is being a total pain on your page and always posting negative comments, just simply defriend that person. I don't care if it is family members engaging in this activity. Drop them! If they ask why, tell them until they learn how to post some normal messages, you can't be online friends with them. Being related and being online friends are two separate things. Explain the difference to them. If all else fails, block them on Facebook, too. You don't need someone like that posting stuff that is embarrassing for you. It makes your friends feel the need to either A) pity you, B) defend your honor on Facebook, or C) both.

As I mentioned before, I keep my embarrassing photos to a minimum on Facebook. However, some friends can be crazy and they attempt to catch you at your worst. Of course, this type of friend also likes to post these photos and tag you in them. You can untag yourself easily from a photo. If they keep tagging, you keep untagging. If they keep it up too long, remember to defriend and block that person. Do you see a theme here?

The theme is: delete, defriend, block, and untag are your friends. Even if your online friends turn out to be losers causing awkward situations on Facebook, deleting, defriending, blocking, and untagging will always help get rid of the awkwardness. It is a shame you can't somehow apply all of those techniques to real life, too. I guess you'll just have to actually confront people in person for all other matters, just like the good old days.

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle

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Comments 20 comments

josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Jeannie,

Hey I am your first comment! YAY! When I saw the notification in my email, I just had to come on over! This was a great hub on a relevant topic. You bring up many good points! I for one am guilty of the too many friends point, and you are absolutley right. That does cause for some awkward moments. Couldn't you of posted this hub a few years back? ROFl

No but great job, I really enjoyed this hub! Keep up the great work here on HubPages! voted up, useful, awesome and interesting. And sharing! Have a great rest of your day!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

What would we do without Facebook? Probably lead much simpler lives for one. Having said that, I can't imagine not having it. If nothing else it is a constant source of amusement. Great hub Jeannie; entertaining as always.


iTommyGuns profile image

iTommyGuns 4 years ago from Blakeslee, PA

I feel that most people shouldn't have to worry about what their company thinks about their Facebook post unless there is some sort of direct relation with the post and company. Great hub! Thumbs up and going to follow.


ksinll 4 years ago

Yes, lets bring back the days when people didn't feel the need to tell everyone everything! Very well said.


QuirkyMooki profile image

QuirkyMooki 4 years ago from United states

I enjoyed your Hub! I wish this advice had been available to me a couple years ago when I started facebook. Only because I enjoy playing facebook games and have added loads of people who play the same games as myself. I wish I had created different accounts from the start :)


recappers delight profile image

recappers delight 4 years ago

This was a really good hub with some great advice. A lot of it - such as not broadcasting your follies to the world on purpose - is common sense stuff. However, while I never put embarrassing photos of myself up on Facebook, I have friends who like to tag me in photos. I might just want to go make sure every picture that somebody else has put up of me over there is flattering.... great hub.


myownlife profile image

myownlife 4 years ago from london

Great hub, really interesting hub and informative as well.

You ended it in good way with a snap and written info on news feed...


Super Lux profile image

Super Lux 4 years ago from Singapore

interesting. nice one :)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

josh3418 - Yay for having the first comment! Yes, I agree... this hub would have been helpful a few years ago... for you and me both! Some of this is just learning from my own mistakes. I've had so many awkward encounters on Facebook. Thanks for the comment, for sharing, and the votes! :-)

billybuc - Yes, Facebook is here to stay for now. Even though lives might be easier without it, it is nice to reconnect with people sometimes. It is also nice to know what family members in other states are doing. Thanks for visiting my hub!

iTommyGuns - I agree you shouldn't have to worry about your company and Facebook, yet it is a fact of life. Some companies even insist on getting your Facebook login before you can work there. I would not work at a place like that, even if I am desperate for a job. Thanks for following me and thanks for the comment!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

ksinll - Exactly! I've been guilty of oversharing a time or two, but I gave up on all that long ago. I rather even bother with status updates unless I have something interesting to say. Thanks for the comment!

QuirkyMooki - Having more than one account is sometimes the best idea for Facebook. Sometimes I simply have a work-related status updates my friends won't care about or I have photos to post for friends that no one else needs to see. It really helps. Also, you can do the same for Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks for dropping by!

recappers delight - We all have those friends! I do like to occasionally post embarrassing old childhood photos, but my cousins do the same. It is like an embarrassing photo war. It is all in good fun though. I don't care when people remove the tags. It just means I won. :-) As for other embarrassing photos, I work hard to stay out of those or remove the tag. It is tough keeping up sometimes though. Thanks for checking out my hub!

myownlife - I am happy you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the comment!

Super Lux - Thanks so much! I am glad you like it.


StellaSee profile image

StellaSee 4 years ago from California

Hi jeannie, I agree with all your points here.. I can't believe someone would tell on you at work like that! What a *insert your own word* Anyway, I always wonder how some pple get like a 1000 friends! I guess they do just add everyone they meet eh? I don't think I'll ever break even 500 friends since I only add people if a) I share a class/ we're in the same organization b) I've spoken to them more than a few times or c) we're friends in real life. For co-workers I think I would prefer to add them on Linkedin unless I'm really cool with them :)

This is kind of random but I saw an interview about Justin Timberlake on getting a facebook/twitter account and he was saying nowadays it's not about how much you share with people, but how much you can keep to yourself!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida

I only have FB because HP and many other writing forums recommend it. Even my place of business recommends being active on Facebook. Frankly, I don't like it and am not active. I check it when I get notifications that someone has posted something, but I volunteer nothing. I've seen too much of what your article addresses; one of which was my ex-boyfriend bashing my unemployed son (without naming him, was the justification). I hit the roof! Commented he was totally out of line and he immediately deleted the comment and all those following.

Frankly, I spend so much time catching up with my Hub mail, I have no time nor the desire to read someone's every movement. I know one woman who posts every time she and her boyfriend go out to eat - which is everyday! Seriously???? Enjoy your date and put the damn phone away for an hour.

K, I've said my piece. Now I'll go check Facebook to see who's bashing my tirade. Whew! Exhausting!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

This is a great hub and good advice. When I was still fairly new to Facebook, my cousin and an on-line friend from a writing group got into a huge and nasty debate about health care reform on my Facebook page. I didn't feel right deleting their comments because of some misguided notions I had about freedom of speech, but instead tried to moderate in a humorous way. Not good. The on-line friend (who I had never met personally) ended up unfriending me and quitting the writing group over the whole ugly incident, which I thought was a huge overreaction on her part. But, still, I learned my lesson. The delete button is our friend.


QuirkyMooki profile image

QuirkyMooki 4 years ago from United states

I mainly play games on through facebook and post pictures I find funny. That is about it . But arguments do occur where everyone can see them. You forget all about that fact when you are angry and want to prove that you are right or have some point to believing the way you do, I mean it is your facebook page not theirs. But that doesn't matter when they are all connected they way they are.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

StellaSee - Wow, I can't believe I am actually saying this, but those are some wise words from Justin Timberlake. He has a really valid point. Thanks for checking out my hub and thanks for sharing!

bravewarrior - I like Facebook, but I do have issues with the drama it can cause. The site I still can't figure out is Twitter. I have it because, yes, it is recommended to have one. However, I still don't get the point and I don't find it very interesting. Oh well. Thanks for the comment!

DeborahNeyens - Wow, that is crazy. It does sound like she overreacted, but it is amzing the drama the Facebook cause sometimes. Yes, I am a firm believer in deleting things on Facebook. Anything that helps keep the peace is a good idea. Thanks for sharing!

QuirkyMooki - Yes, that is true. I do tend to say some things and not mean them when I am angry as well. But of course, it helps to delete comments once one has calmed down. That doesn't help if someone else has already saved them, but it can still calm matters down sometimes. Thanks for checking out my hub!


msorensson profile image

msorensson 4 years ago

Me too, I love Facebook..


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for checking out my hub!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Positively awesome, Jeannie, and so very true! I like to "weed" my friends about once a month. VUMS.


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Excellent hub. I agree with all of your points. I had an account, but hardly ever used it so I decided to close it for good. Facebook brings too much drama! And you're right! Unless you are a celebrity or promoting something, who has time to keep up with 1000 friends.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

TToombso8 - I know other people that regularly "dump" friends from their friend list on Facebook. Thanks for the comment!

lovedoctor926 - You are right... sometimes there is just too much drama on Facebook... yet, I still use it. Thanks for checking out my hub!

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