A year's worth of break-ups from Facebook graph

David McCandless -- graphic designer, author and obsessive data collector -- analyzed over 10,000 break-ups, based on changes in Facebook status, over the course of a year in an impressive act of science / cyber-stalking. The results, graphed above, paint a very collegiate picture of the break-up cycle. 

According to the survey, you are least likely to be dumped on Christmas Day, but also most likely to be dumped between now, the first of November and Christmas. Most people start off the summer single, but there's also a huge spike in the spring, around Spring Break. Most relationship changes are announced on Mondays, perhaps because a lot of dating, and dumping, takes place on the weekends prior.

Whether this study adjusts for people who take a few, mourning weeks to adjust their statuses, or for those of us who can't even what our statuses are, I don't know. Still, 10,000 is a decent sample size; we should probably all be extra nice to our boy- and girlfriends between now and the new year, just in case. 

Commentarium (15 Comments)

Nov 01 10 - 8:22pm

Perfect! Then I'll just wait until she dumps me.

Nice site makeover, by the way.

Nov 01 10 - 8:39pm

People cheat during spring break, and money issues come up during Christmas..

Nov 02 10 - 2:59am

Actually, the study suggests that FACEBOOK USERS are more likely to get dumped between now and Christmas... or, rather, than most changes in relationship status from "in a relationship" to "single" occur mid-February to Mid-March and November to mid-December... and while "10,000" is an impressive sample size, we are looking at "10,000 out of 500 million+" active users (500+ as indicated on Facebook's own FAQ)... that's a small sample of 0.002% of the "population of Facebook users". Not sure about any other demographics of the population... like age, gender, nationality, etc., factored in, but I think maybe not... and, for this to be valid, the pattern would need to be confirmed using more than a year of data... after all, this COULD be the pattern for only THIS ONE YEAR.

Nov 02 10 - 4:32am
Amber Lamps

I wonder how much of this reporting is true? I.e. do people accurately remember the day they were dumped. For me, the killer was Valentine's Day, plus/minus a day. I dropped three chicks after VD.

Nov 02 10 - 6:13am

Yeah, VD would make you drop a chick...

Nov 02 10 - 7:44am

@Colin: yes the sample size was small, and over a single year, but if the examples were randomly chosen it may still show a general trend, especially with peaks that strong. I mean, the actual changes, if one looked at the entire population of facebook users over say 5 years, probably wouldn't look all that different, if possibly not so well defined.

Nov 02 10 - 2:27pm

This is when people change their statuses then. Not when they get dumped.

Nov 02 10 - 2:31pm

@ Colin.....I'm sure you're a very smart law or polisci student. Keep in mind that there's nothing unique about Facebook knuckleheads er... users. Facebook users are mainstream people, so what's true in this sample is very likely an accurate snapshot of life.

Nov 02 10 - 2:46pm

Makes sense. You've had the last hurrah and now you don't want to fork over cash to buy presents or go through the show of pretending you're still in love while spending time with your families.

Nov 02 10 - 3:13pm

I think that either the author of this article is a dope, or the graph is misleading. I could see during the first couple weeks of December could be said, not between now and Christmas though. According to the graph, there's not even a full season's worth of days that you're less likely to get dumped than today. Couldn't you have waited a couple of weeks to run this article, Ben?

Nov 03 10 - 10:30am

I wonder if their was a following or coinciding spike in the status change for going back "in a relationship"? and what that would look like on a graph.

Nov 04 10 - 6:42pm

Well..sadly enough i'm one of the dumping ones...but i only did it because i knew it was coming anyway..And i;m too proud to be dumped by a guy!

Nov 07 10 - 12:16pm

nothing unusual..its the usual mating ritual...we are all looking for better mates...so dumping and dating happens all the time. And to the proud lady above here...well ur right only u r going to do the dumping cause a guy would always keep u in his web if he can along with the other more tastier options!!!

Nov 28 10 - 10:09am

There's a name for this! Back in university we used to call it the "Turkey Dump". It usually applied to all the couples that started dating in the summer, and tried to make it work through school... or all the long-distance couples in general. Thanksgiving is generally the first time you'd get to see them (and dump them) in person.

Dec 30 10 - 8:09am
John H

Where's the vertical axis? Does it begin at 0? Is it geometric? Honestly, a graph with an unlabelled axis is nothing more than a slightly pretty picture.