While very little on Facebook should be taken literally (or seriously), there are seven types of status updates that are, in fact, truly terrifying cries for help. The best thing you can do when you see one of these is to simply ignore them. Remember that first scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones creeps through the cavey-pyramiddy thing full of shiny trinkets at every corner? Each one was a deadly trap—spend too much time on the bright and shiny thing and BAM! You’re impaled by a wall of wooden stakes.
Like that booby-trapped cave, your Facebook feed is jacked with similar perils. The best thing you can do when you encounter one of these is to tread lightly and move on.
1. The Defriender
This is the one where some horse’s ass makes a comment that pisses everybody off and rather than simply explain that no harm was intended, the person snorts a line of pure, uncut ego and challenges anybody who might be offended to defriend them, as if the author’s consent is required for the defriending. These authors invariably use the term “feel free to” before “defriend.”
“Some people don’t like to hear the truth but I call it as I see it and if you can’t handle the truth then BY ALL MEANS, FEEL FREE TO DEFRIEND ME. ”
What it means:
“I fucked up big time and it looks like I’m going to lose some friends over this one, so I need to make it seem like I’m the one kicking you to the curb, not the other way around. I can turn dog shit into diamonds easier than I can admit making an honest mistake.”
2. The bathroom mirror shot
The mere fact that someone is throwing poses into their bathroom mirror is simultaneously hilarious and tragic. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, I was just standing here, chilling next to the shitter, and I figured hell, I’ve got a phone in my hand, why not?” Then, with toilet paper, wet towels and a sink for ambiance, the person puts on their sultriest pose ever (usually sucking their cheeks in or pulling their shirt up to show off their abs), and snaps away. I’ve always wondered about these people. If you date one of them, do they take you back home to their shitter to hang out with a glass of wine and some making out? What else do they do in there?
What it means:
“If this doesn’t improve my self-esteem, I’m going to start hoarding cats.”
3. Divisive political rant
These people can’t just have a point of view. They need to share it with the world. All the time. Over and over, all day long. They treat their political outlook like their favorite sporting team, loudly cheering on their own opinions while at the same time, incessantly suggesting that everyone whose life experiences are different than theirs must have either a lower intellect or inferior moral character than they. The funniest part about the divisive political update authors is that they will tie everything back to their political opinion, no matter how unrelated a topic might be because by now they have invested their entire sense of self in their online political persona.
“Well I see that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has finally inducted Guns N Roses. What about Trace Adkins? I guess Obama and his liberal media are too busy electing A BUNCH OF DRUG ADDICTS than honoring a REAL AMERICAN.”
“Great news everyone (cough, cough…) The wheat grass shots at Whole Foods are now $3.50. We can all thank the Republicans and all their Wall Street fat cat buddies for yet another #EPICFAIL”
What this means:
“As long as I have something to complain about, I can continue to avoid taking a long, hard look at myself.”
4. Long-winded meal description
This is the one where the author offers, unsolicited, an inordinately-detailed description of what they’re about to eat, accompanied by some refined pursuit that they know none of their friends would ever do. Rarely does the author ever imply that they will be sharing the experience with another person. That’s because there is no other person. Anyone taking the time to sit down, log into Facebook and offer a chillingly meticulous overview of the rest of their evening is quite likely two steps away from composing angry manifestos and becoming a super villain.
“Sunset barbecue with rib tips marinated in special Cajun spices and homemade hickory barbecue sauce, twice baked potato with fresh chives from the garden (Yum!) and organic sour cream, lightly-glazed string beans in ginger sauce, Branford Marsalis on the stereo and some Beaudelaire in my favorite comfy chair with fresh peach cobbler with salted caramel gelato for dessert. #winning!”
What this means:
“Every waking hour of my painfully bleak life feels empty and meaningless. Someday I’ll show them…”
5. Complaints about co-workers
Some people love to bitch about their co-workers on Facebook, bizarrely assuming that their friends (who also have jobs and co-workers they don’t like, but who simply handle their problems) will enjoy reading about their stunning lack of coping skills. They do this several times a week and often this cry for help will be followed by number 1, above. These people will also transfer their inability to manage inconvenience over to any situation during the day, constantly suggesting that store clerks, other drivers and people on television are “idiots” and “morons.” These authors will never, ever take the next logical step of drawing the conclusion that the only constant in their never-ending parade of “idiots” is them.
Example: “If one more idiot tries to tell me how to do my job, I’m going to start scalping people. If you change your email address and don’t tell me, IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM, BITCH.”
What this means: “I’m an adult with zero conflict resolution skills and that’s why I’m always acting like an immature asshole.”
6. A picture of a flower
This is only a cry for help when it’s from a guy. You’ll note that guys in relationships never post pictures of flowers. Also, guys never post pictures of flowers on their buddies’ Facebook walls. The dudes who post pictures of flowers (rightfully) assume that their guy friends will skip right over a picture of a flower, or if by chance they notice it, they’ll assume it was a chick who posted it and totally miss that it came from their buddy. This single guy gesture is aimed at all females. When not taking cell phone pics of flowers, the author of this update spends his time fantasizing about being a drifter who rescues small towns from bad men.
What this means: “Look! A flower! What kind of guy posts a picture of a pretty flower? Well, a diamond in the rough! Also, I’m brooding and complex–you’ll enjoy peeling back all the layers of my dark and stormy persona. Tell all your single friends about me! I’m available!”
7. The Teaser
This cry for help takes the form of an intentionally obtuse update that indicates that something has happened to the author, usually bad but occasionally good, and the author wants to talk about it. Most people call a friend when they have significant news, but the author of The Teaser is either short on friends or their news is short on significance. The Teaser is pretty obvious, but if you’re ever in doubt, look for the ellipse.
“That was the last straw…”
“Can’t stop smiling today…”
What this really means:
“Hey, you know and I know that if I came right out and said what was up, you’d scroll right on past quicker than a FarmVille request because short of my Friday morning Sudoku challenge, nothing exciting ever happens to me. I promise that if you pretend to be interested in me, when I go home tonight, I’ll strip down to underwear and take a picture of myself in front of the bathroom mirror and send it to you. Deal?”