Real Friends – A How-To on “Unfriending” on Facebook

I have found myself using Facebook less and less over the past year or so… I found myself assaulted by game announcements, pictures of kids I have never and would never see in real-life, drama and angst from people I hadn’t seen in years and, in all honesty, would probably never see again.  It was overload and I didn’t need it.  Where I work, I deal with being constantly bombarded with crap like this so I really didn’t need to come home and hear it on Facebook.

Lately, I have been wanting to integrate my internet footprint onto Facebook, sharing things of interest from my blog, my RSS feeder, my Youtube account, etc., and thought Facebook would be a great outlet as a part of that, however I just couldn’t stomach the inane ramblings of so called “friends”…. so I did it.

God YES! REMOVE REMOVE!!

I unfriended.

In the ego-driven world of Facebook, I hit the “unfriend” and forever silenced people that, while I cared about each of their individual well-beings as people, could care less about their daily dealings.  I call it “ego-driven” because that’s exactly what Facebook becomes.  –>  If someone invites you to be their friend, you begin collecting them on Facebook like they are trophies, “AMG I HAZ 3000 friends on FACEBOOK, I IZ HAWT!”  No, you aren’t.  You just don’t care who you are friends with and are opening yourself up to getting daily updates on how someone’s little Timmy’s is doing on their potty training… you know… little Timmy, son of that person you USE to know in high school and barely ever talked to and who never actually talks to YOU anymore.  But all-be-damned little Timmy ALMOST had a bowl movement in his little trainie-potty yesterday, and by golly you’ll know about it!

I got another Facebook friend! QOOT!

So, like a proud and majestic Native American warrior, I resolved to discarded my trophy “scalps” and sorted out only people who I could actually LABEL a REAL LIFE friend or family member.

I went from just under 200 friends down to 87.   That’s right folks, I committed to telling over a 100 people I no longer required hearing about their lives on a spastically  daily basis and ended our Facebook relationship.

Now, I know what some might be saying who read that… “but Rich, why didn’t you just hide their newsfeed updates… it’s an option and you just click —” NO!!!    You are missing my point here… if they aren’t friends, why are they listed as a friend on Facebook?  Why should I have to go through and IGNORE a “friend”… ??

I’m finding my time on Facebook to be much more relaxing and productive!  No longer do I get page after page of mindless drool, but rather updates from people I actually care to HEAR about!  Can you even imagine Facebook doing that?!  I didn’t either, but it does now!!   Here are a few tips I kept in mind as I went through this process – follow them, and Facebook can help you keep in touch with people you care about too!

When going through your long list of friends that you worked hard to accumulate since starting Facebook, your main question is, “why is this person my friend?”

Did you use to go to school with this person, and haven’t seen them since?
Is this person just a casual acquaintance… you knew this person in passing but have never actually hung out?
Is this person an extended family member, (ie. distant cousins), you never see anymore and never messages you?
Is this person a spouse of a friend?
Is this person a children of friend?
Is this person a friend because you are “suppose” to be,  (see spouse of friend, part of a club or church, etc.)?
Is this person an Internet contact you no longer have contact with, (ie. a network through a blog or other)?

Unfriending is a hard but neccesary process...

Is this person a family member of in-laws/relation through marriage… or for that matter a family member you don’t care to hear from?
Is this a person whom you use to work with, but either you or they have moved on?

You might be surprised, going through a list of people, how many people you have “friended” but don’t much act like an actual FRIEND towards…   if they aren’t your friend, why have you friended them on Facebook?  Think about it… what is your motivation for having this persons life lay bare to you… do you really care?

I don’t know… call me heartless and uncaring, but I’m glad I did it.  In the grand scheme of things, Facebook is an online tool, so why shouldn’t I use it as such, instead of some kind of social hangout where I have to DO something because it is expected or socially correct.  Oh, and as far as the feedback from “unfriending” 100 people; first, they don’t even GET a notification that you aren’t their friend anymore, you just DISAPPEAR into the shadows… and secondly, even if they DO notice, they probably don’t give a damn since they haven’t really been “friends” with you before…  so there is very little in the way of blowback on doing this, but I’ll say it anyways…

If you ARE a friend who actually cares enough to read this blog and are not just an ex-reciprocal trophy Facebook friend, I may have unfriended you in error!  Please contact me and I’ll re-add you, since obviously it was a mistake removing you if you take that kind of effort to reconnect… otherwise, have a great life and I’m sorry to say I will probably not miss hearing about little Timmy.

Other  articles on “unfriending” on Facebook I found interesting:

Oxford University Press/OUPblog.com  – 8 Reasons to Unfriend Someone on Facebook
All Facebook.com – The 12 Step Recovery Guide For Being Unfriended on Facebook

10 Comments

Filed under Editorial and Reaction, Gaming and the Internet, Love and Relationships

10 responses to “Real Friends – A How-To on “Unfriending” on Facebook

  1. I guess I am in the social misfit club on this one. I have never had a facebook account, nor do I want one. Part of the reason is exactly this.
    I think part of the reason that people like collecting “Friends” is the peeping tom aspect that, let’s face it, is in all of us. Also, I find facebook to be the pinicle of the gossip machine, and I am truly uninterested. (I’ll stop now, this is not my blog =) but thanks for the topic suggestion)

  2. Oh, I think that Facebook CAN serve a purpose, but for most, that purpose is muddled up with all this egotism ;)

    I’m surprised you aren’t on Facebook, since your name is FACE of Boe… but of course I’m just stretching your Dr. Who reference to fit into a clumsily construed joke :D

  3. Chris B

    I also haven’t drank the Facebook Kool-aid because of every reason you wrote about! If I was to join Facebook (it will never happen!) I would only have friends that are strictly family, and literally seriously maybe 3 to 5 outside friends. Because I won’t “friend” people that I DO NOT spend time with.

    And really, it just sounds like High School all over again. No thanks :-p

    Great post Rich!

  4. Rofl! yes, that is a great way to put it! Fact of the matter is, most of the people I “unfriended” were FROM high school… and I’m not big on class reunions and all that, so REALLY I probably won’t ever see these people ever again… so what’s the point. It does tend to get very ego-centric and “look-at-me”-ish, if there is such a thing.

    I think, reading back now on what I wrote, I kinda come off a bit harsh; so just so nobody things there was more to this, there wasn’t… nobody made me upset or anything like that, I just, cumulatively, had had enough and went on an “unfriending” spree XD

    But yes, if you haven’t sipped the Kool-aid yet, don’t bother starting O.o ROFL!

  5. For the longest time, I labeled anyone that had more than 200 friends a “friend whore”. I would frequently go on friend purges, dropping those I had not communicated with in a while. However, once my family joined FB to stay on touch, I have to admit I have exceeded the limit I set and should probably label myself a friend whore.

    But isn’t one of the points of FB and other social networking sites to embrace the technological age we are in and utilize it to keep in touch with those that have crossed our lives? Yes, it can diminish the weight of how we define relationships and allow us to be content with “surface gliding” our friendships. I like that I can keep up to date on the activities of old friends, and vice versa.

    Glad to see you didn’t unfriend me, btw. ;)

  6. Rofl! Charlie Charlie Charlie… of course you are still my friend :D

    And just to answer the question, there were a “few” who it was a “little” hard to unfriend… but on the same token, there were others that I almost dropped and didn’t, so it’s definitely a fine-line…

    Not to say YOU were on that line! ROFL! Just saying, yes, it was hard ;)

  7. I guess I havn’t been overwhelmed with the baby pictures but the only person I have unfriended was my son’s ex-girlfriend. I still don’t know what to make of facebook.

  8. @ Ralph – Yeah, it can get out of hand. I haven’t “unfriended” anyone for malicious reasons (yet), but yah, that can happen to… this is more of a “house-cleaning” experiment ;)

  9. dee

    Hi Rich. This was an awesome post. So well said. So well thought out. Miss seeing you in the “real” world :) Hope you are well.

  10. Memyselfni

    Great article! I wanted to thank you… Just today I unfriended a family member because of devious ways… Such as copying my posts and editing them as her own… In essense making fun of what I posted. Huge family blow up and of course I am wrong… Just thankful I am not the first to get sick of family on facebook :)