I’m lucky to have the support of a great family, and have yet to be disowned by them. But one piece of constructive criticism I have for my family is that they need to leave Facebook. Or, at the very least, completely leave me alone and for all intents and purposes on Facebook. Yet, despite my efforts, I cringe every time I see the upper right hand corner of my Facebook page in the friend request area. I feel agitation, discomfort, and sorrow knowing that I have no choice but to accept my relatives as “friends.”
Being stalked by family members on Facebook can take a variety of ugly turns. The stalking can be classified in three main ways, with a variety of different subdivisions. Think of it as the unholy trinity of stalkers. Types of stalking are “The Liker,” “The Wall Poster,” and, worst of all, “The Commenter on All Pictures Posted.” While it’s possible for one to achieve all three of these traits to be a pure master of stalking, family members tend to specialize in one area.
The first type of creepy relative is “The Liker.” This tends to be the relative who you may not know super well but still feels like they need to be part of your life in some way. This can translate to your mom’s cousin, or a great uncle on your dad’s side. What classifies them as “Likers” is their condition in which they chronically like everything that you post. New profile picture: “Like!” New status: “Like!” And worst of all: a new relationship post. You better believe they’ll like that one.
The second type of stalking relative is “The Poster.” This could be a grandparent or an uncle who posts too much on your wall. The issue can escalate quickly because the post just sits there, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. Say you’re a football player and you get injured. But instead of just the trainer, your coach and fellow teammates coming to your aid, your mother stands up, jumps over the guardrail, and runs right to you while the entire school watches. This is pretty much the equivalent of ‘Great Uncle Leonard’ posting “It was great to see you at the reunion. I loved how your mother was kind enough to pull out the old baby pictures” for all 900 of your Facebook friends to see.
The third, and worst, type of relative creeping is “The Commenter on All Pictures Posted.” They’re especially lethal because when Facebook inevitably becomes the high school yearbook of the 21st century, everyone will see what your grandfather had to say, not just your cool friend.
Much like “The Poster,” this cannot be undone. You’re stuck with the comments, which can be detrimental to your social life. They can invade your life in a whole host of uploads about teenage life scenarios. Pictures of you at school, hanging out at Mt. Tamalpais, at prom or the absolutely 100 percent worse case scenario: partying. There is truly nothing more shameful than a comment from your mother on your prom pictures stating “Honey, it feels like yesterday I was breast feeding you and now you’re here at your senior prom with your beautiful girlfriend. Where did the time go?” or a comment from your twice-removed second aunt from Alabama commenting on a picture of you at your friend’s party, “Wow that’s sure water in that water bottle ;) LOL.”
While there are many subdivisions such as “The Mother With Too Many Mobile Uploads” or “Sir Tags A Lot,” I covered the most important ones.
Now, you may be looking for a solution and you’re in luck. It’s very simple and it’s only a few steps. Step one: spend about three hours deleting every interaction with your relatives since you created an account. Step two: block every member of your family. This goes for family friends as well. Warning: do not just unfriend them because when everyone sees you’re still on Facebook, you’re screwed. Step three: at your next family gathering when everyone asks where all your posts have been, say you deactivated your Facebook. If they ask why, lie that it’s a distraction from college applications or that it’s too time-consuming.
Once you have done that, take a minute and enjoy your family-free Facebook and go back to your normal way of life. But if that still fails for whatever reason, just delete the account altogether and only use Instagram. Old people haven’t ruined that for us yet.