Maybe it’s because I’ve lived over 50 years, or maybe it’s because I’m not Kylie Jenner. But Facebook unfriending is not really a big deal to me. I have known people who completely cut off their real-life relationships with me after I removed them from my Facebook friends list. It’s nothing personal.
I may be in the minority, but Facebook is very different from real life for me. I can be friends with you in person but reject the kinds of things you post on social media.
Friends out of control
When I first started my Facebook account, I was excited to accept every friend request that came to me. I connected with friends from elementary school, old boyfriends, cousins I met once, and friends of friends who shared similar interests. Unfortunately, as Marie Kondo would say, not all of them filled me with joy. Opening my Facebook page soon became something I dreaded, and it often left me feeling anxious and confused.
An indiscriminate gaggle of Facebook friends meant having a newsfeed that ran the gamut of content. Some of my friends posted only inspirational memes, but others posting nothing but complaints about their spouses and jobs. I had a few friends who could turn any thread (and I mean ANY thread) into a political rant, and others who used my newsfeed to promote their latest multilevel marketing venture.
Time to do some housekeeping
It’s not that I have thin skin or that I can’t handle when someone disagrees with me. I just believe that whom I interact with on social media is a personal decision. Of course, it is important to be kind and charitable to others, but I’m certainly not going to invite someone to sit in my living room to tell vulgar jokes, mock my faith, or spew expletives. If I don’t believe in the values or lack of values a certain TV program espouses, I simply don’t watch it. Why would I subject myself to these things on social media when I have a choice?
Still, there are some in the younger generations who may disagree with me and say that I just don’t understand the point of social media. They may say, “Why unfriend? Why not just ‘unfollow’ or ‘hide’ the person?” But it’s not that simple for me. Sometimes the thought that something toxic is still lurking there behind all the goodness and genuine friendship on my newsfeed is intolerable. There is always the chance that some Facebook glitch will allow that person’s offensive or annoying comments back onto my newsfeed.
Unfriend: Who should go?
I have read numerous articles that list the kinds of people everyone should unfriend from Facebook, and most of them have some commonalities:
- Those who rant about politics
- Those whose posts are crass, trashy or offensive
- Anyone whose name you don’t recognize
Most pundits agree that these and a few others should go. However, my point is that it is a very personal decision. And just as you have the right to unfriend whomever you want, if someone unfriends you, let it go. It may have nothing to do with you. To take offense at being unfriended may cause injury to a perfectly fine and real friendship.