Repairing Relationships: Mending Break-Ups in the Digital World

22Apr08

I wanted to quickly share some reflection on my previous post: The Time I got Dumped on Facebook. Although the situation at the time was very difficult, outing a good friend through my post was wrong and could have been just as humiliating as the original situation. My intentions were not to embarrass him, or use the Internet to ruin a great friendship, but to point out that there might be a “better” way to end relationships.

In thinking about this, I’ve realized that the Internet can strengthen and heal the most damaged of relationships. Through my experience, it has been the Internet that has given me the courage to talk about sensitive issues that I might be uncomfortable addressing in person. IM allowed us work out unresolved differences and embrace a new friendship. It acted as a platform that we could stand on to take small steps towards developing a healthy friendship which could thrive and grow over time. It allowed us to be honest with each other about what had happened and why, and provided closure during the months following the break up. Over time, our online communication translated beautifully off-line, as we were able to interact at social gatherings and engage in face to face conversation.

Without the help of the Internet, our friendship today may not have been possible. Looking back, I have no regrets about what happened and actually think that the break up was beneficial for both of us. Just to follow up with comments left on the post, he may have had a lapse in judgment, but shouldn’t have his character and integrity questioned because of it.

Have you ever used the Internet to repair damaged relationships?

*I thought the cheesy emoticon from FlickR might help with mine. :)

Sarah Hutton

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One Response to “Repairing Relationships: Mending Break-Ups in the Digital World”

  1. “It has been the Internet that has given me the courage to talk about sensitive issues that I might be uncomfortable addressing in person”

    It’s an interesting paradigm; the Web gives you just enough distance from a person (you’re not speaking face-to-face for example) to feel comfortable opening up and make the dialog more intimate and personal.

    I’ve not used the Web to repair damaged relationships but definitely to reconnect with people I’ve lost touch with offline. When Facebook first hit the Web, suddenly I started talking, sharing photos, wall posts, etc with friends I never imagined I’d bump into again.



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