The ex-boyfriend made fun of Rudnik by drawing a picture of her with the graffiti application and posting it on his profile. She had to ask a friend to convince him to remove it. Rudknik also says Facebook and MySpace groups often form instantaneously to gang up on either side in a breakup or campaign to humiliate someone.
Forget about Ms. Manners or civility. Etiquette? What etiquette? Technology has enabled everyone to take the easy way out via text message, instant message, email, voicemail, blog post, and even online video hubs like YouTube.
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Using instant messages and texts to end a personal relationship can be less viral than turning to Facebook or MySpace, though people can forward messages to a group in their BlackBerry or cell phone address book. According to the findings of a global study commissioned by Skype and Harris Interactive, 21% of the men ages 18-24 surveyed feel the new forms of communication encourage less honesty and openness. The study found that 81% of respondents said face-to-face communication is still the most acceptable way to end a relationship, while 7% said doing so via email was acceptable and 3% said via IM was acceptable.
Think it's just teenagers and young adults who are reeling from the new breakup modes? Think again.
Patti Wood, a 49-year-old Atlanta-based body language expert, trainer and speaker, recently experienced a breakup over email after three dates that were interspersed with continuous phone contact and email. The man she'd been dating initiated the breakup by asking a few personal questions and apparently, she says, not liking the answers he received.
"I felt devastated and made to feel less than, or not worthy of a face-to-face interaction. We weren't physical in any way, but it felt so cold and inappropriate to the level of self-disclosure and connection," Wood explains.
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Given her professional training, she was all the more surprised by the curveball. "It was a lesson learned for me in that I got pulled into that emailing relationship world for the first time as a major form of trying to communicate [with a potential partner] even with all of my knowledge."