This Graphic Shows When You're Most Likely to Break Up

January 4th 2016

Kylie Cheung

Facebook made headlines in November when it introduced a new feature making it easier for users to see less of an ex's activities in their newsfeeds. But fewer people are aware of Facebook's ability to help users predict when their breakups are the likeliest to occur. In July 2010, British journalist and graphic designer David McCandless released a revealing graphic at a TED conference which identified key words like "break up" or "broken up" in 10,000 status updates to determine during which time of the year breakups are most likely to occur.

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The McCandless' graph is partially broken down into holidays, vacation periods, and even days of the week. Looking at the data, the most breakups seem to occur leading up to and during spring break, which typically falls in late March or early April, which is ironically, shortly after Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day itself sees an ironically high amount of breakups, perhaps because as CNN's Doug Gross put it, the "holiday has a way of defining relationships, for better or worse." Meanwhile, more breakups take place on Monday than any other day of the week in May, proving that yes, the gloomy first day of your work week could actually get even worse.

Screenshot of peak break up times of the year on Facebook

On the other hand, April Fool's Day doesn't see too many breakups for obvious reasons. And just slightly more breakups take place during the famously romantic summer vacation period. Fall, the unmarked period between summer holiday and Christmas, appears to be the safest time for relationships. And a relatively minimal amount of breakups occur on Christmas day, which McCandless identified as clearly "too cruel" a day for ending relationships.

As for the day users are the most likely to receive "Dear John"-like letters? "Christmas day," McCandless told CNN, proving the holiday is probably not only one of the safest, but also among the happiest, for relationships. However, in a way, Christmas seems to be the calm before the storm: The cold winter weeks following the holiday see about as many breakups as spring break.

And not only is data collected from Facebook helping users to potentially predict when their breakups are most likely to occur — it also could increasingly be the medium people use to end their relationships, especially among Millennials. According to the Daily Mail, one in six Americans has used social media to end a relationship, and most of them were between the ages of 18 and 29.

Social networking sites like Facebook are increasingly leading our social lives and interactions with people — but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Possibly predicting when a breakup will occur and then limiting your exposure to your ex in your newsfeed isn't a poor deal at all.

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