The three types of vaguebooking (and which one is the most toxic of all.)

You’re probably familiar with “vaguebooking”. You probably hate it…and have done it once or twice. Or three times. Or… well, you get the idea.

To refresh, vaguebooking is an intentionally vague social media status (usually on Facebook) that leaves everyone scratching their heads.  I’m going to suggest that there’s three types of vaguebooking, and the type says a lot about the person posting it.

There’s the “so vague it could be anything” vaguebook, as exemplified by “Oh wow. Just wow.” I’ve put it against two different images here, and it gives the phrase completely different tones. This kind is almost certainly motivated by a desire to get attention, or to get people to ask what’s going on… so they can then pretend they’re not bragging, since someone asked.

Second, there’s the “cry for help” vaguebook. It’s possible this person is just wanting attention, but it’s also possible that they need help and can’t articulate it (for whatever reason). Out of all the kinds, this one I’m the most sympathetic to, since a vaguetext led to a friend intervening when I was having suicidal ideation).

And third, there’s the “insult as inspiration” vaguebook. This kind is characterized by a statement about standing up for oneself, or being done with people who have a bad characteristic… but doesn’t say who they’re talking about or why this is relevant now.  (And yes, this kind shows up a lot after a romantic breakup.)

To my mind, this is the most awful of the types.

The first might just be ego or bragging – failings, yes, but not damaging to others. The second might be attention-seeking – but the possibility that it’s a cry for help mitigates that a lot for me.

The third – well, if it’s someone you’re done with, you either are free to mention them or you’ve blocked them from your social media accounts (or both!), so there’s no reason to be vague about it. Instead, what it accomplishes is making every empathic person who is still struggling with “mammoth-brain” paranoid that you’re talking about them.

The person who is meant to be upset by the vaguebooking never sees it – and it causes harm to bystanders.

So for the sake of us who still care what you think about us, if you’re so truly “done” with that person you’re talking smack about, name them.

Or even better, don’t vaguebook at all.

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