How heartbroken Pinoys find comfort through ‘clownery’ Facebook group

July 28, 2022 - 2:19 PM
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Illustration representing clownery Facebook groups. (Illustration by Christian Patrick Laqui; Images used by Camilo Jimenez, Brett Jordan via Unsplash)

William* learned that his significant other is not happy with the “no label” relationship that they have, he commented on a post that resonated with him well he found on a private Facebook group called “Subtle Clown Traits” (SCT) to at least ease the pain of his heartbreak. 

Commenting on posts on SCT containing quips and personal narratives of fellow netizens’ “clownery” in relationships had since become a part of his routine when opening his Facebook account.

Like William, many Filipinos also have their own ways of dealing with heartbreaks. But unlike the older generation who usually cope by writing poems, singing songs, or just crying, they share their love and relationship dejections while making fun of it online to find comfort. 

As different Facebook groups emerge, Filipinos on social media now deal with heartbreaks through memes and witty banter shared on SCT where members have a fair share of “clown” experiences.

“Clownery,” or just simply “clown” is one of the newly-emerged dating terminologies that refers to “any behavior that you know is bad for you or fundamentally stupid, but you still do it anyway.”

Meanwhile, SCT a group that became an avenue to share “dating clownery,” was created on Dec. 3, 2019. It currently has over, 803,800 members. There are more groups of similar nature but with different names.

Posts on the group usually are usually centered on attempts to move on from someone, falling for someone while in the “talking stage,” and sometimes even touching on socio-political events and issues while relating them to relationships.

A sample of this is a post on April 17, 2022 wherein a group member correlated being a “sadboi” (sad boy), or a guy who is trying to appear sad to appeal to the emotions of another person to presidential aspirants Isko Moreno Domagoso and Panfilo Lacson.

“Isko Moreno Domagoso, Ping Lacon, welcome kayong mga sadboi dito sa SCT, hindi sa Malacanang,” the post read.

This was posted in April this year when former presidential candidates Moreno, Lacson and Norberto Gonzales held a press conference at the Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City. They then called on their fellow presidential aspirant, former vice president Leni Robredo, to withdraw her candidacy who was then just No. 2 on presidential surveys.

Because of this, some labeled the three presidential aspirants  “sadbois.”

This term is defined by a user-generated online dictionary as someone “who is often upset by things in the world.”

RELATED: ‘We’re not trolls’: Twitter users counter Lacson’s post-Manila Pen tweet‘Sadboi’: What this internet slang word means on paper and to some Pinoys

Also among the posts, one could regularly see on the SCT group are posts with “hugot” lines on relationships and dating.

Here are some examples:

  • “Dean’s lister daw pero t*****g-t****a sa pag-ibig,” Facebook user Glen Peralta wrote.
  • “Kung pinaglaruan mo lang ako e di nice game kinilig naman ako eh,” Facebook user Ruxel Qtt posted.
  • “Nutrition month pala ngayong July, gusto mo ba bumuo ng healthy relationship with me?” another Facebook user quipped with a kissing emoji.
  • “One week sa talking stage pero mago-one year na akong di makapag move on,”  another Facebook user said.

Coping mechanism

SCT peaked during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown when most Filipinos were confined in their homes and took to social media to find entertainment. Most Facebook group members belong to the millennial generation up to the Gen-Z.

Members of the Facebook group also mentioned that it gives them comfort from other problems aside from heartbreaks.

They said the group has been their coping mechanism. 

Twenty-year-old medicine student Hannah* said she used her free time to scroll on memes, jokes, and interact with other members of the Facebook group, for it let her “escape” from her problems in her studies.

“It eases my mental health din kasi nakakalimutan ko even for a short while na may problems ako like academics or problems sa bahay,” she said.

Sam*, 20, also shared Hannah’s sentiment saying it helped her cope during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was just my coping mechanism for stress, especially amidst the first wave of pandemics. I entertained myself by commenting. And posts are funny! Sino ba naman hindi mat-tetempt mag- interact?,” she said.

A way of “survival” or moving forward from something heavy or traumatic is why coping mechanism exists, according to Therese Pellejo, a psychologist and a former faculty member of the Department of Psychology of the University of Santo Tomas.

“It [is] all about how one makes sense of an experience in a way that he/she is not gonna lose it — that one can still be able to function,” she said in an interview with Interaksyon.

‘Not alone’

Pellejo also said that a “sense of camaraderie” has also been formed due to some shared experiences of the members, which is also a form of comfort to them.

“[The] sharing of memes, jokes about negative situations that they experience and having people comment and laugh react doon sa shinare nila, makes them feel that they are not alone in that experience,” she said. 

Group member William also said that he finds comfort when he sees an individual who shares the same experience as him, turning their experience into humorous online content. 

“I feel like I’m not alone, nangyari rin sa kanila yung mga nangari sa akin. So, there’s comfort na may mga katulad ko rin pala,” he said. 

Despite giving comfort, Pellejo said that the coping mechanism could become unhealthy if one depended their “entire happiness” on the engagements they receive online.

“What if walang makakita like it’s 3 a.m. when you posted those things? Tulog na yung mga tao. No one reacted like you needed some affirmation that you are not alone. Eh doon ka lang nag depend…You don’t have any other way of feeling like you’re not alone,” the psychologist said. 

“So kung walang nag react doon at the time na you wanted to see affirmation then you [might] feel bad about yourself,” she added. 

In the case of William, who left the group once, but returned after a week, he said his Facebook feed does not feel normal without the posts from the SCT group. He said that he is just doing it for comfort and fun.

“Tinatawa na lang to cope up,” he said, referring to heartbreak.

*Names have been changed at interviewees’ request.