Friending too quickly. When you get home from a party and there’s a friend request waiting from someone you met at the party, it’s kind of awkward, whether you like them or not. Waiting until the next day to make that request says, “I have a life, I need to sleep, and I wasn’t afraid I’d forget who you were 12 hours later.” The pinnacle of awkwardness is when someone pulls out their phone and asks how you spell your name, so they can request you right there on the spot. On-the-spot friending is an almost 100% accurate predictor of later awkwardness.
Unfriending too quickly. If you’re upset with people, try just hiding them from your newsfeed and/or putting them on limited profile access. When you’re absolutely positive that friendship isn’t coming back—like, say, a year after you’ve broken up with their best friend from high school—then unfriend. Isn’t it awkward when you get a friend request from someone you didn’t realize had unfriended you in a fit of pique? Don’t be that person.
Like negative things. “Oh my God, today was the WORST. My boss bitched me out, and my mom had to go to the hospital because she forgot to check her blood sugar and passed out. I might as well just kill myself now. [2 people like this].” Who does that? (If you want to give them the benefit of the doubt, consider that they might just have fat fingers. On an iPhone, it’s dangerously easy to like things accidentally.)
Liking your own posts. Even if you do this ironically, it still looks douchey. Pro tip: When you like a post on a page you’re an administrator of, the like is credited to the page, not to you personally. Don’t make your page look douchey.
Post photos of yourself gazing deeply into your webcam. Your MacBook may see your soul, but all we see is awkwardness.
Friending people just to invite them to events. The friend request comes in, and you’re like, wow, this guy knows 75 of my friends—he must be cool! No, it’s because he sent requests to all 1,000 of your friends, and 75 of them fell for it. You’ll now have the inside scoop on all his upcoming fire-eating performances.
Create an event called “Lost My Phone—Need Your Digits!” What do you do when you get invited to one of these events by an acquaintance you’re pretty sure didn’t have your number in the first place? Do you send it to them? Awkward. Do you ignore the invite? Awkward! Humankind must have invented a better system than this.
Share an ethnic joke and note that you got it from a friend of that ethnicity. If you’re going to post a video where a guy in peyos and a yarmulke adapts the lyrics of “Bitches Ain’t Shit” to “Goyim Ain’t Yids,” don’t throw your Jewish friend under the bus for it.
RSVPing to private parties you weren’t invited to. Oh, so that guy who pulled out his phone and friended me at a nightclub two years ago is coming to my Memorial Day pool party? That’s awkward.
Full disclosure: Jay Gabler will admit to once RSVPing to a barbecue he hadn’t been invited to, hosted by someone he’d never met in person. Even though he didn’t actually attend the barbecue, it was still really awkward.