Seven Reasons to Unfriend someone on Facebook.

Via on Jul 22, 2012

Relephant Bonus: Online Loneliness: “This Video Will Have You Completely Rethink How You Conduct Yourself Online And In Person (Video)”

I give a lot of talks on how to do social media right. I gave one two days ago, as part of the Unreasonable Climax. In it I emphasized that, really, even when you’re swimming in a digital world, we need to comport ourselves in a personal, grounded manner.

If we’re real online, it’s good for our relationships and business. If we’re spammy, of course, we’ll accomplish the opposite of what we’re going for. ~ ed.

Click Image: Dave Taylor.

Relephant Deep Reading: Buddhism vs. Speed: Busyness is Laziness, by Dr. Reggie Ray.

Letting go or moving on can be hard to do. But it can be a real message, both to your once-friend and to your own sense of fear or attachment.

I unfriend folks with regularity—not because I dislike them, generally, but because I’ve been stuck at the Friend limit for three years, now. When you’re close up to 5,000 friends on FB, you’ve got to be selective. And so, rather accidentally, I’ve discovered the virtues of raising my bar for friendship, whether virtual or otherwise.

Note: unfriending someone doesn’t mean they can’t message you. Usually, depending on your settings, they’ll still be able to view your public posts on your Wall. So you’re really not parting ways with them—it’s not a big deal.

Seven reasons to show Facebook “friends” the virtual door:

1. Wall Spam. I unfriended a wacky mentor of many in the [ X ] community because he never related to me personally, but just posted promotional petitions, links, and diatribes, on my Wall. When he did message me, it was usually for a good cause, but again in a somewhat off-his-kilter manner.Question: is your “friend” posting stuff on your Wall to you…or trying to reach beyond you, to your friends? If they’re just trying to “promote,” they’re treating you like a distribution outlet, not a human manner. Note: that doesn’t mean folks, including you, can’t share links and petitions that you genuinely like, with those you genuinely like. Keep it personal.

2. Jerky Condescension: I just unfriended a senior Buddhist (who’s appeared on my talk show, and does great work in his field) for acting like a…how do I put this politely?…dick. Posting in a public group, he started rather passive-aggressively guilt-tripping me about not helping out my mom, though I (as I’m not going to litigate in a public group) help her out a ton (and gladly—I owe her everything I am). I’d just posted to fellow Buddhists, asking if someone might be inspired to drop a few old DVDs off with her, since she’d recently fallen off a bus and couldn’t get around, and was laid up for a week—last time I was up there I gave her my MacBook Pro (because it had a DVD drive) so she could skype me/see my photos Facebook/be in touch with everybody/watch movies (she doesn’t have cable, or wifi). Interesting Update: I think I violated the Bonus, below, unfriending out of feeling offended. The gentleman messaged me and, as I suspected, had some personal story about his mother that meant a lot to him, just wanted to be sure I paid attention to my mother, and lectured me a bit about taking a vacation (the first of my life) when I could be helping my mother in person. I reminded him that he didn’t need to remind me to help my mother—I love to do so and owe her big-time and, while I wasn’t going to explain what I do for her out of defensiveness, I care for her.

3. Hot folks you’ve dated who don’t reply. If you find yourself on a one-way street of communication, let go.

4. Hot folks you’ve dated who message you too much. If they’re crazy, don’t just unfriend them: block them. Stalking includes cyber-stalking. Take it seriously. Less is more, when it comes to crazy.

5. If you don’t know the person, and aren’t connected to them through work, or some at least vaguely meaningful way. My friend request queue is also maxed out—mostly with folks I’m not sure I know. I try and only accept friend requests with, or make friend requests of, those I have some real or meaningfully virtual connection to.

6. If they’re whacky. Even if they’re less than crazy—if they communicate aggressively, or strangely, if they leave five comments on each of your posts…gone.

7. What else? Give me a few other (good) reasons you’ve unfriended someone.

Bonus: one reason not to unfriend someone. If you’re having a moment of defensiveness, or anger…let it pass. If, when you’ve calmed down, you still feel like they may not be a helpful presence in your life…let them go.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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90 Responses to “Seven Reasons to Unfriend someone on Facebook.”

  1. @trekmonk says:

    Nose poking relatives!

  2. Banu says:

    Crazy. I JUST wrote this post on my Facebook page and saw this on my newsfeed. Here is what I posted:

    Banu Sekendur
    22 minutes ago
    Yesterday I went through my Facebook “Friends” list and removed 200 people. I am making this post public so you can see my reasons. If you have noticed my absence, searched for my name and see “Add Friend” on top, you are one of the 200 people and you deserve to know my reasons. I have changed my Facebook friending philosophy and choose to add and keep friends according to that.

    1) We met once maybe 5-8 years ago and never interacted since then. We don’t really know each other.

    2) You keep coming at me with criticism or you are in a constant disagreement with me (probably with others too or you just can’t stand me). Then why be interested in seeing what I post other than looking for a reason to unload your personal frustrations?

    3) You have sent me unfriendly emails.

    4) I see that our philosophy in life and what we care about in life are SOO different that we probably wouldn’t have a conversation if we ran into each other even if we lived on the same block.

    5) I feel low vibration energy from you and unfortunately I can feel it in my body and know who it is coming from. You might guess that I don’t enjoy it.

    6) You rarely ever use Facebook, so what’s the point?

    7) You use Facebook but probably removed me from your newsfeed so you never engage with me and haven’t in years. So why stay?

    8) You are one of those people who get on Facebook and view it as a paparazzi show. My life is not a TV show to watch. I prefer to engage instead.

    9) You belong to my “past life” and I have cut ties with you anyway so what’s the point? I have moved on and so have you.

    10) You created a fake account to spy on me even though I have denied your friendship request.

    11) I choose to share myself openly. And I simply don’t feel 100% safe with you being part of my life that way.

    12) We never email, text or call. So we are not really friends.

    Thanks for reading. I truly wish you all well in your life. Go and rock the planet!
    xoxo

  3. Enchanted Seashells says:

    I have unfriended someone because they supported a hunting organization and I'm anti-hunting. I'll unfriend someone if they keep sending annoying posts to vote for them for a contest or game or blog status. I feel as if I'm being used only as a "notch" on the belt, and I'm expected to work for them. And I've unfriended those who keep sending sponsored posts about products and want me to click on it so they make a couple of pennies. I don't appreciate being used in this way. This was a great article!

  4. SingingRae says:

    Nice post – I actually have a tradition where every year around my birthday, I reevaluate my friends list and do a large unfriending. I find that that helps me keep emotions like hurt or anger out of it, but it allows me to release ties to people whose presence in my life is no longer serving me. I am about to embark of my fourth year of doing this and I love how it helps me feel lighter and freer as I enter a new year of my life.

  5. crimsonowl says:

    I recently unfriended someone after a strange event. Our university was in the news over an issue involving a sorority, and the faculty wrote a letter to the University president about it, in which they kept referring to the sorority members as "Greek women." I posted on FB that it was disappointing and surprising that an international faculty would use an inappropriate term, since the women are not Greek and were not born in Greece, they are members of a sorority. This person just kept hammering away at me, and I never really got her point, but I kept telling her that she was missing mine, and it was simply my opinion. She kept telling me how many people join sororities, what they do on campus, etc, etc and I'd say yes, but the FACULTY used inappropriate language, especially with so many cultural studies profs who would never use that term, and that was my point. Her new husband then had to weigh in and I felt like I was tag teamed. Finally I just told her that none of her arguments were even relevant to my point and that's when she responded with something very personal and offensive. She told me I should base my research on something other than how many Greek boyfriends I had while in college. ( I dated a man who was born in Greece for a time). That's when I told her that her comment was cheap and offensive, and she knows very well that I have a MA in Comm with an emphasis in international communications and cultural affairs and since she was a graduate of the same program, she surely knows how we studied this topic specifically in a specific class! It was very offensive to make that kind of cheap comment on a FB post, knowing that anyone could see it. She replied that I was the one who was getting personal, so I waited 24 hours for an apology that never came and then unfriended her. I thought she WAS a good friend – the couple had been to our house many times. Normally I would say a good friendship can get past something like this but she didn't seem to even want to try. Maybe there really is something to it that people are just meaner on FB. I don't regret unfriending her.

  6. MestUp says:

    I should unfriend a guy I am still in love with. I am married. I have gotten to the confirmation pop-up box a couple times…

  7. Gruntcandy says:

    Interesting article and comments overall. I’ve taken a different approach to many of my friends who post offensive political and religious material. I keep it there to juxtapose all the “yes men” I normally associate and agree with. I think it’s healthy to keep the opposing views around for sanity checking. I admit it makes my blood boil at times but I also choose to ignore this posts on occasion and not read them at all.

    The obvious unfriending I’ve done recently is for friends who’ve passed away. I don’t like the birthday reminders for dead people, nor do I appreciate posts to their walls from their other friends who haven’t let go yet.

  8. teresa mupas says:

    Un-friend if you or the other aren't ever going to use your Facebook friendship or whatever other kind of relationship to enhance your non-virtual one. You're just going to passively check out my photos and not say hello or even greet me on my Facebook-notified birthday? Un-friended. #beruthless

  9. Becky says:

    I unfriend someone when I feel they aren’t genuine, if they are a crazy ex or if they are just plain insane. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of cyber stalkers that live in my city, who I barely know but feel the need to try to tear me down due to jealousy or boredom in their own lives. It’s sad when people feel the need to do this.

    Great article :)

  10. anonymous says:

    I just unfriended about 100 people recently. If I don't want to share who I AM with them, for whatever reason, namely because I don't know them, then they're gone. I don't understand the need to "up" your friend count. I would rather be myself and communicate with those that I know/like. I unfriended one person because they kept friending my friends and relatives — weirdo!

    • anonymous says:

      Also….great article! And….did you re-friend the critic who judged your relationship with your mother?

  11. trixie says:

    I have a policy about unfriending people for not taking the time to use punctuation. I don't care if it's a pain to use punctuation with an iPhone. Maybe that's a sign that you should spend time trying to participate in facebook activities.

  12. Kim Willis says:

    I have unfriended when someone demonstrates racist or misogynist views. I also unfriended someone who became threatening over a post I made he didn’t like. I have also unfriended people who began bullying other friends on politically charged threads.

  13. mardeeknits says:

    My test for whether a person should be my "friend" on Facebook is whether they are providing a meaningful positive influence on my life. If I've known them in person, it's a fairly high threshold of forgiveness but I've unfriended people for posting things that are blatantly racist or hateful. (Everyone is entitled to their political beliefs and they can be different than mine, so long as they are respectful). Some I simply hide because their posts are full of negativity and I don't need that lingering in my brain. One of the odd things of social media is that I have so many people "telling" me about every minor nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience in their lives – including a lot of things they wouldn't bother to mention if I saw them in person. Before I post, I always ask myself, "Is this helpful?" and I often self-censor because I don't feel that I need to exert a negative influence on the day of others who might be reading my post in their feed.

  14. Erin says:

    I use my filters. No one knows what the others are seeing and I get to live in a quieter world.

    No harm, no foul.

  15. barefootbellringer says:

    I provide support to a community that is only able to meet twice a month. If I notice a great deal of drama coming from one or more members of the community, I will pm them, and if it continues, I will unfriend them. There are times when I want to leave FB, but then I realise there are people with whom I could not connect, without FB. Twice a year I go through my friends list and unfriend anyone I haven't have a conversation or interaction with. Most of the time they don't notice, but every now and then I get a friend request…again.

  16. Karen says:

    Waylon, I agree with most of your post, but I don't get you airing your private grievance, complete with enough detail that if he should read it, the "senior Buddhist" will know it is he you are talking about, on here. It seems pretty passive aggressive and goes contrary to Buddhist teachings of right speech, at least in my book. You could have said you deleted someone who you did not see eye to eye with without sharing specific details.

  17. I unfriended (and blocked) a friend from childhood because the only time he would EVER comment on anything of mine would be to argue (not debate) with me over religious/political differences. Now, I have a very "golden rule" attitude which I know not everyone follows so I let it go for a while even though I wouldn't post on his polar opposite and equally offending postings. But when it got to the point where he would name call, curse and ONLY post to agitate me, that's when I unfriended him. And I would have left it at that but heaven forbid we have mutual friends that I might share an opinion with. He made sure to try and drop his condescending remarks on those posts as well.

  18. anonymous says:

    I have unfriended 2 girls that are sisters and both of them are constantly posting photos of their yoga poses or hair styles and their vanity. I just pick up on me! me! me! Or these cryptic messages they type which I call “ask me about ME” posts. I actually feel low self-esteem when I see people bragging so much about their perfect lives, their beautiful meals, their vacations. I don’t need to feel that way so I just unfriend them.

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