I wrote this on 23rd July 2007 originally. Am republishing it today with some additional updates and copy editing. Enjoy Technology, Breakup and post break up syndrome in the web2.0 style.

[Note: Men Heterosexual men reading this post may replace the masculine words with feminine to be able to identify with the content. Non-heterosexual women may replace masculine with feminine. The post is inclusive of all gender and sexuality]

In the good old days, when people broke up they used to take a bus, train or plane and leave the city forever, so they won’t ever see each other even by chance. They used to tear off all the diary pages, the snaps, greeting cards and love letters and return all gift items so there would be nothing left in their possession which would remind them of each other. Tech made breakups simpler. Nowadays, you’d just have to hit the delete / remove / unfollow button. I’ll tell you how many times and where.

If it’s a very serious break up and you really don’t wanna see his face ever, I mean never ever, remove him from all your IM clients, Gtalk, Yahoo, Skype, MSN etc. Not just remove but block / ignore him wherever possible. On Gtalk blocking means either of you won’t get to see each other’s availability status. You’d always appear as off line to each other. Sending offline messages also wouldn’t work. On yahoo ignoring an ID means the same thing. That ID won’t be able to send you IMs any more. (But there’s a flip side to this, I’ll come back to it in a while)

Delete his email ID from all mail clients, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail. If you just don’t want to hear from him, set a filter or tag the mails in such a manner that they are never delivered in your inbox and straightaway gets deleted.

Remove his number from cell phone’s address book. No wait don’t do that. Keep the number so you’d know which calls not to pick. Clear the saved message folders – Inbox, Sent items.

Remove his name from friends list in Hi5, Friendster, Orkut, Ryze, LinkedIN, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter etc. Again whether to just remove / block / ignore or go as far as ‘report abuse’ that depends upon the magnanimity of the break up.

On most of these sites if you block / ignore an user account once that user won’t be able to send you any more scrap, messages, friend request etc any further. So be very sure before doing this. If you ‘report abuse’, future activity of that user on that portal would be in trouble. You can use this as a revenge mechanism.

Leave common domains like common mailing lists of Yahoo / Google groups. If he is a part of any email group, facebook group or page, twitter list that you created or is an admin of or moderate, even better, go ahead remove him from these list. As a revenge mechanism you can also ban him from these list.

Give clear message that its over

Delete the orkut testimonies you wrote for him. Remove yourself from his fan’s list. Remove his blog URL from your blog roll and stop subscribing to his RSS feeds.

Delete everything that might remind you of him. Old blog posts, flickr photos, orkut scraps, clean up your mail box. Delete saved chat conversations.

How to balance your ego

I said earlier there’s a flip side to removing someone from IM contact list. Here’s that. Sometimes after a breakup you might want to keep the option of him saying sorry open. No harm in that, but you sure don’t want your ego to be busted. Do you?

Yahoo comes really handy in doing this, safeguarding your ego I mean. This is what you do.

  • Don’t remove him from the list, just stealth settings.
  • Go permanently invisible to him for first 4-5 days.
  • Then change settings and appear online to him again.
  • Next you gotta wait and watch, if after having seen you online, he buzzes you or not. If he cares for you, he would.

On the other hand if you completely remove him from the list, but then feel like going back and adding him again, he’d get an intimation that you want to add him. He’d know you first deleted and now trying to add. Not good for your ego at all.

Similarly, for Gtalk users I suggest don’t remove his ID from the list but block him instead. When you block or unblock some one that person don’t get any notification. But if you remove him from the list and later try to add, he’d get a notification and would have to approve your add request.

So block him for as long as you are really pissed. Then unblock him.

But a major set back to your ego happens when you see him online in a green / available mode and so do you, to him and yet he doesn’t buzz you. In such situation however it is better to remove him but not ignore / block him. If you remove, he can still see you online, but you can’t. So it’s like saying, “I am letting you go but I am right here if you feel like talking buzz me. I won’t initiate from my side for sure.”

I hope those tips helps. In my next post would be writing about how courtship is much more romantic and smooth these days with the IMs and Micro blogging tools like twitter etc. I could have first written the ‘Technology and Courtship’ post but am a pessimist you see. So the Tech and Breakup post came first.


30 thoughts on “Technology and Breakups

  1. Techo breakups are just BITS & Bytes.
    Either its value is FALSE or True.
    In anycase you can express them with Emoticons!
    No heart ache, as one is just Leading a Second Life!

    Good summarization, Sanjukta.


  2. well i think leaving the city was easier, u see now u hav to work much more to get someone out of ur life and still it is never complete…
    u may remove him but read his scraps on a common friends orkut page and there u see his display name…it may state love hurts and u wonder is he refering to u? he never mentioned he was in love?


  3. @ Sis (swagata)

    Cant agree more. That’s the whole point of writing this post…that we leave so many footprints in the virtual world its very difficult to get over.. more so when the person is just a scrap/IM/GB away, just a matter of typing a Hi and hit enter on Gtalk… God its so painful to resist yourself from doing that…

    @Ajith Yeah I know i just said that.

    @ Prashant, all the time since the past 7 years of my virtual existence.

    @Vinu so said my sister.. I totally agree

    @Karnail That’s true

    @ All Thanks for your comments..


  4. Hmmm..Good ways to “Avoid” a person.. What is the best way to “Forget” that Individual. Would a brain transplant help?? Depends on your definition of “break up”.. Is it breaking all ties, physical and emotional? Another drawback: What if the person is not tech friendly and still in your thoughts day and night.. Any suggestions? or should I see a shrink?


  5. Destroying memories is a very childish way to deal with big emotions like sadness and anger.

    Get rid of the drama. L(o/i)ve is not black or white.


  6. @Seema
    See a shrink :P

    Right. Am not talking of real emotions here.. its meant to be funny sort of.. serious relationships cant be dealt this way agreed..


  7. Great Gyaan, and timely indeed. I ‘break-up’ with a guy sometime back and it was pretty tough for me not to bump into him somewhere online. Just missed such great tips!!!

    P.S. A ‘Break-up’ need not be of opposite sexes.


  8. Well nice post!! Guess you had a experience in breakups! lol..

    It also helps when you ditch a company/fired from it. You wont like people from that company contacting you if you just maintain a professional relationship.


  9. @ Layon
    :) Thanks

    @ Kalyan

    Apologies freind. At least I shouldn’t have got into the vicious circle of patriarchal norms…after attending all those discourse on Sexuality.

    This habit we have of, defining everything within two gendered square boxes… It’s a shame I wasn’t attentive enough, and did exactly that…what I have learnt not to do.

    @ Srikanth
    Eggjactly :)


  10. Ten years ago when I broke up it used to be so much easier! You forgot buzz! And the worst is when you are on skype or gmail and invisible and see the other person green and you are itching to show that you are also on gmail or skype, but doing that might not be good for your ego ;)


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