Who Has a Facebook Relationship Status and Why: A Casual Case Study

Cristen Conger

MomStuff is in a relationship with knowledge and data.

When I started by Facebook account, I was freshly out of a relationship, so I filled in "single" in the relationship status field. A few minutes later, after loading up my interests with things like "jazzercize" and "hobo culture" (ironic social media interests seemed hip to me in 2007...I have since recognized the error of my ways), I decided I didn't want any status whatsoever. So I removed it.

Then Facebook alerted my fledgling group of friends that "Cristen Conger is no longer single." People took that to mean that I was dating someone, and over the next few weeks, I fielded a steady stream of questions with the same concluding answer of "No, no. I'm still single."

A few years and a couple relationships later, you still won't find a relationship status on my Facebook page because that initial experience left a bad taste in my mouth. And seeing those broken hearts on friends' pages who have been through breakups make me cringe. If my heart breaks, I'd like for it to happen in private, but that's just me.

But I'm in the Facebook minority. I learned from Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon that around 60 percent of FB users have a relationship status on their profile. Wondering why so many people opt to publicize their romantic situations, I asked the Stuff Mom Never Told You Facebook fans the following question:

Quick poll: Do you have a relationship status on your FB profile? Why/why not?

Comments immediately started pouring in, and this is what we found.

  • 62 percent said, "YES, I have a relationship status."
  • 25 percent said, "NO way."
  • 13 percent said, "IT DEPENDS on whether I'm in a relationship.

Overwhelmingly, the folks with a status were either married or in a long-term relationship, which makes sense. In the words of one user, "I want everyone to know who the person is that I love."

Fellow non-relationship status Facebookers like me cited privacy issues and being single as their main reasons. As one guy put it bluntly, "God no, I've watched too many divorces play out on here & those were train wrecks I do not want to add my potential carnage to."

The handful in the "sometimes" category typically list themselves as taken while in a relationship and remove the status during single times. Like the committed relationship-ers, the status is an easy way to let the world know you're off the market for the time being. But broadcasting that you're single and ready to mingle isn't as appealing.

Then, there's the rare case of the "single all the time" status, which is the one we oughta be wary of (I watched "Catfish" only a few days ago). As one sassy lass shamelessly explained, "Single Status at all times - because I'm a hustler. I don't ever add guys as friends while dating or together - I think it only breeds insecurities on both sides."

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