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Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Un-friending

I think it's widely accepted that facebook is both awesome and evil (it's about 30/70). One of the ways in which it is evil is the un-friending.

I'll admit that I have unfriended people myself. In fact, I recently un-friended about 35 people who were on my friend list. Before you tell me how harsh that is, I have to clarify that these were people I barely knew, but who's friend request I accepted because they looked vaguely familiar and we had some mutual friends. That describes the majority of them anyway. When their updates showed up in my news feed, I'd think, "who is that?" So I didn't feel very guilty un-friending most of them.

I was talking about this with a friend of mine this past week and she told me that she had recently been un-friended by someone and that it didn't feel very good. It was someone she knew growing up and even though she hadn't been in contact with this person for years, she was still kind of hurt when she realized this person had un-friended her.

I could relate. One old friend of mine friend requested me last year, then three months later with no explanation, un-friended me! That was more amusing to me than anything, but it did make me wonder if I'd done anything wrong.

Often though, I think we have no idea that someone un-friended us. I have, in the past, noticed my number of friends decrease and wonder who un-friended me. But I figure if you don't notice that you're no longer friends with them, you probably weren't that close with them anyway. Either that or they were trying to stick it to you and you didn't notice, which really just sticks it to them.

Another friend told me that her family uses facebook as ammo when they're mad at each other. She said that her siblings and cousins are constantly un-friending each other, then later friend requesting each other when they make up.

From talking to some friends about this, these are the top reasons for un-friending people. (This poll was not scientific.) You'll have to let me know if I miss anything important reasons.



Have you been un-friended? (I'm going to post a poll at the side to make it easy for you to respond.) I'm also curious about what makes you un-friend people, or if you have done it in the past.

In other news, I wish I could remember life before Facebook...

15 comments:

Brenda Hatch said...

That's so funny cuz just yesterday I got a message from a girl I knew in high school that said, "why did you delete me?" I haven't responded yet and don't know if I will. We just weren't close, but I knew her.

Lady Baillio said...

I purposefully don't check or remember how many friends I have. It saves the pain of knowing I've been un-friended. I do it every quarter it seems. Mostly to people who never reply to my comments or messages.

Melanie said...

I recently had been thinking if I had been unfriended. My number of friends tends to fluctuate, but it doesn't bug me.

I recently got home from the mission, and either don't remember some people that I friended, or they changed their (last) names, and don't recognize them. I am contemplating un-friending people, but who knows, maybe in the future something good can come from a vague facebook connection?

Melanie said...

I regularly un-friend people, people who don't give the appropriate "that's too bad" comment when my cat died, people I've never met but made a covenient online social networking connection, jerks from my mission that i don't want commenting on my wall, i unfriended one ex because i didn't want to see status messages about his new girlfriend, and i unfriended one guy temporarily because i missed him more than a friend should and we were on a break (he was readded later and he knew that i was taking a break at the time). But, for the most part, I don't bother unfriending people from high school or whatever even if I don't talk to them much.

Sara said...

This is really funny. I've hidden a few people because their status updates are annoying ('what kind of stripper are you' quiz, really?). I don't think unfriendly people is a big deal. If they don't like it, they take Facebook way too seriously. And they should realize that you and them were not really "friends" in the first place.

Katherine said...

I think that un-friending people really adds a whole new (and often unwelcome) aspect to the social order of one's life. It's similar to rejecting a friend request. Do I really know this person? Do the vague memories I have of this person constitute a need to reconnect after 15 years just so they can invite me to be a warlock with them? I have also un-friended several people who I don't really know but accepted as a friend on a whim. Right before my HS reunion last year I accepted all kinds of friend requests from classmates who later got the ol' un-friend boot. You know there'll eventually be self-help books on the subject: "How to Cope When Your Friends Un-Friend You" "An A-Z Guide to Accepting, Rejecting, and Un-Friending Friends on Facebook" "'Wait, Didn't I Have Five Hundred and Fifty-TWO Friends?' A Guide To Tracking Down the Un-Friending Offender."
And just think of the Lifetime Movies: "Un-friended: She thought they were friends, but apparently...she thought wrong."

Sarah said...

I, too, usually hide the individual I don't want to hear about any longer (annoying quizzes, constant updates, TMI, etc.), which I suppose is my passive aggressive approach. :) I did unfriend a handful of people after the election when they were VERY derogatory towards the candidate I support. :)

Marilyn said...

The bad thing is that now that you've posted this blog, we'll all know what you are thinking if you delete us. Hi Elizabeth, just thought I'd try to get to know you better. Grant said you have looked at my blog, so I wanted to see what you were up to. THis isn't stalking, is it?

Sandy said...

this post inspired me to do a little un-friending myself! and by inspire, i mean that after i read this post about facebook, i couldn't stop myself from compulsively checking my own account, and in doing so i noticed that one of those "who the heck is he?" people suggested i "become a fan" of the company he works for for the second time in as many weeks, so i finally manned up and un-friended him. it feels good in the way that unfriendly things sometimes do.

Melanie said...

Okay, it's ironic having made that comment. I have left people as friends after falling outs because it wasn't a big enough deal to unfriend even if we were no longer talking to each other. But, that guy that I mentioned I had unfriended before on a break, just unfriended me and I have no idea why. As of four days ago, he was asking to trade pictures online and video chat. Our relationship is stable and pretty good these days. And, he's not the kind not to mention that something is wrong. It's so unlike him. It made me feel I had done something wrong. I was really upset. It'd be like my sister unfriending me. And, then his friend said something kinda cold when I mentioned it to him (since I had noticed it on his page that we no longer had this friend in common). So, I told that guy off and then I unfriended about 150 people that I either didn't recognize or have any social networking value to trade. Now, I know that even if I don't have many friends that live in the same city as me, the ones on Facebook are ones I either keep up with or with whom I have some kind of valid social networking connection. I feel better anyway.

Elizabeth Downie said...

That's crazy, Melanie!! I wonder what happened? Facebook really is the root of all evil. ;)

Vaughn said...

i have only one un-friending story, which i am extremely vocal about. We were pretty good friends. She is the author of one of my many ridiculous albums in fact. She dis-added all boys when she got engaged, and changed her phone number. Me being the persistent person that i am, i added her, and forgot about it, then a few months later when her best friend was telling me how much this "ex facebook friend" missed me i added her again. Now i am blocked from seeing her completely. Her loss, not mine, her best friend shows me her page all the time, because we think it is ridiculous.

Vaughn said...

the funniest un-friending experience would be the girl who sent a friend request 5 times after i denied her request. To solve that pesky problem i decided blocking her was not the best idea, rather leave the request in my inbox so she could not add me again, so there she will sit forever.

Vaughn said...

one last thing, now that i am all over the comment thing. I hate those people who change their name and you go "who the heck is that" only to click on their name to find out they changed it. Grrr

Elizabeth Downie said...

Haha, yeah Vaughn, isn't that the worst when people change their name? Or wait, is it Vaugn-illa? I can't even remember what your real last name is anymore ;)