Special thanks to those of you who took part in this survey. Special thanks to my editors and to Meld Magazine for running the story! Check the original version here.
IT’S official, boys care more about their Facebook relationship status than girls.
A recent poll of 138 single and taken Facebook users, aged 18 to 30, busted the myth that girls put more stock in how their relationship is presented on social networks.
The boys surveyed believed them and their partners should declare their relationship on Facebook the moment things become official.
One of the boys confessed it was an example of a “man’s pride and ego”, which according to psychology is a bit of a stereotype, but it totally makes sense.
On the other hand, girls don’t think their Facebook pages are that important and prefer not to change their status. Don’t believe me? It’s true. Many confessed they feared the possibility of breaking up and thus becoming a subject to gossips.
Some of the girls in this group admitted to changing their Facebook statuses anyway, just to avoid fighting with their boyfriends.
And now, a fun fact: Only 13 per cent of couples surveyed hadn’t changed their status on Facebook.
“It’s important and I will change my status.”
The majority of the girls who fitted into this category said declaring their relationships on Facebook was a sign of their commitment to their partner.
These girls said they were comfortable with their partners and wanted to share their happiness with their friends. They also said it was a convenient way to tell their friends and families about their new partner.
The boys in this category weren’t feeling so charitable. They declared their relationships for security reasons, saying it prevented their partners from flirting with other people and keep other from flirting with their partners.
Some honest single guys even confessed they’d prefer it if girls declared their relationship status so they knew who was on the market and who wasn’t!
“I think it’s not right to say you’re single when you’re actually not. By having a ‘in a relationship’ status on Facebook, it means you’re acknowledging your relationship with your boyfriend to your friends, families and other people.” MC ♀
“Letting others know that you’re in a relationship allows you to set up a barrier. I mean, I’m sure it’s uncomfortable getting messaged every minute by a boy friend that’s not your boyfriend.” RE ♂
“It’s not important and I won’t change my status.”
Surprisingly, there were striking differences between in this category.
Most girls reasoned changing relationship status was risky because there’s always the chance of breaking up. Even if they’re committed, they could go from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’ any time and people might start making up stories about why they broke up.
Boy in this category played the privacy card, insisting they wouldn’t tell strangers their bank account numbers, so they don’t see why they should their ‘not-so-close’ and ‘non-friends’ on Facebook about their relationships.
“I think I’d rather tell someone in person about my relationship status than publicise it on Facebook. It’s just nicer that way. I don’t want it to be the subject of talks by other people (aka gossip), especially if I end up breaking up with that person.” IC ♀
“Changing the relationship status will indirectly pressure both sides who are in the relationship. They’ll feel as if they’re on display, especially if there are certain expectations from family and close friends.” AK ♂
“It’s not important, but I’ll change my status.”
A third of the people surveyed, fell into this category, and most of them were girls.
The single ladies said if their future boyfriends were to send them a ‘relationship request’, they wouldn’t decline it.
But the majority of girls in this category were already in a relationship. They confessed changing their status wasn’t important at all, but being ‘Facebook official’ was a small sacrifice to avoid fighting with their partners.
The boys in this section said they didn’t care, but changed their status to give their girlfriend’s a sense of security. They also insisted they were confident enough in their relationship to let their friends and family know about it.
“I honestly think it’s really bothersome. If say, a relationship ends, then you have to change the status back and everyone will make a fuss out of it. I wouldn’t change my status if my boyfriend didn’t ask me to.” PE ♀
“As long as we know we’re together, that’s all that matters. But I still think it’s nice to change your status. And if I should cross that bridge one day, I would definitely change my status because I’d want my friends to know the great girl I’m in a relationship with.” AS ♂
“It’s important, but I won’t change my status.”
Interestingly, only two of the boys surveyed thought changing their Facebook status was important, and yet haven’t done it. Why, you ask? To avoid gossip, of course!
“It’s important because it’s a signal to other people to stay away. But then, I’m reluctant to publicise it. There are some annoying people in my friends list that I don’t want to know, and I’d rather avoid them.”AS ♂
The couples in this category have all changed their Facebook statuses, but that doesn’t mean they share the same opinion on the matter.
“I think it’s important because if my status changed to single, some people would ask, ‘Are you having problems with your boyfriend? Are you guys still together?’ Plus, I think the status implies he’s mine.” SS ♀
“Not important at all in my opinion. I changed my status because my girlfriend asked me to. Facebook is not an ID, so why should we share our personal information?” FG♂
“Initially I thought I would just leave my status blank until I got married. But I did change my relationship status on Facebook because my boyfriend requested it! It was important to him and I think he’s proud of our relationship and wanted to tell everyone.” JP ♀
“I think it’s very important. My Facebook status is how the world sees me. I think once a couple makes their relationship official, there should be a discussion about changing their status.” PL ♂
So how much does Facebook’s “in a relationship” status mean to you?