Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Here's what's wrong with all the "I'm cleaning out my Facebook friends list, so if I don't hear from you, then you'll be unfriended" type posts I've been seeing a lot on Facebook:

A lot of people don't check Facebook every minute of every day. In fact, some people go days or weeks (and sometimes months) between Facbook sessions. Those people won't see your ultimatum in time and will just get the "unfriended" boot. And then, one day, they will realize that they haven't been seeing your posts lately and look you up, only to find that they've been unfriended. There are not many ways to hurt someone quicker than finding out that you're no longer someone's friend. It feels like you've been cut out of their life, culled.

I've been unfriended a couple of times by a couple of people I thought were my friends. I'll be honest - it hurt. A lot. And it turns out that one of them unfriended everyone from work. It's not that they didn't want to be Facebook friends with me, it's just that they cut everyone in a particular category out with the intention of adding them back in later one at a time. It was a shotgun approach to weed out a couple of bad "friends." But imagine my shock when a friend - both on Facebook and off - said in a passive aggressive way "you don't have value to me anymore, at least not enough to be a friend on Facebook." And that's the only conclusion I could reach because I wasn't given any notice of what this person's true intentions were. It was just one day - gone.

And here's the thing: Facebook is the perfect place to have casual friends. In fact, it's what it was built for. It's a great place to passively keep up with an acquaintance or someone you met at a conference or a long-ago friend from high school or someone at work who works on the other side of the building who you know from running into them in the break room. Facebook doesn't require an active connection.

So feel free to clean out your friends list. But PLEASE just go through and weed out the random contacts and people you really only intend to never hear from or speak to again. If someone is - or has ever been - a real-life friend, then leave them on. It's not hurting anything or anyone (unless it's a college friend who's gone freaking nuts and is just really annoying). But please try to think of the real-world equivalent of your Facebook "un-friend."

In the real world, if you told someone that you didn't want to be their friend, it's a pretty hurtful thing. You would never do it casually. So don't do it on Facebook, either.

1 comment:

MommyGirl said...

crap, I'm sorry, Boy...I was trying to hide you, not unfriend you. Whoopsie!