Seven Reasons to Unfriend someone on Facebook.

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Facebook in Real Life:

Trolling friends on Facebook Messenger:

Relephant bonus from Waylon Lewis:


Learning to say “no” can be as powerful and positive as saying “yes.” Letting go isn’t loss. It’s allowing room for new.

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 (try 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, we’ll accomplish the opposite of what we’re going for.

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 some regularity—not because I dislike them, but rather because I’ve been stuck at FB’s rather arbitrary Friend limit of 5,000 for five years and need to make room for new friends or colleagues. So I’ve been forced 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. You can still be in touch. And usually, depending on your settings, they’ll still be able to view your public posts on your Wall. So you’re not absolutely 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 or advertise 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. Friends, exes, ex-friends, colleagues who don’t reply. If you find yourself on a one-way street of communication, just let go. Letting go isn’t less: it’s creating space in your life for new. Let go.

4. Folks 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.



Or you could just bail on everyone all together and join the social media site that isn’t stealing all of your information:


10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Have Unfriended me on Facebook.

Please Don’t Envy Me: The Facebook Status Everyone Should Read.


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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 | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


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

  1. Skot Schuler says:

    I have a artist “friend” on Facebook who usually posts about art, fashion, and hippy stuff (clothing, furniture, decor, etc.). Recently she started posting extremely Islamaphobic and nationalist memes. I am not a Muslim, but these memes are so blatantly racist I don’t want them in my feed. I’m ready, willing and able to unfriend her, but here’s my question; do I try to talk to her first? Should I try to save the friendship or dump her?

  2. Stacey says:

    A number of these if not all of them I have unfriended people for. Other reasons I can simply say has a lot to do with what they choose to post and what shows up in my news feed. I am a pretty open minded person, I accept peoples beliefs and what they enjoy out of life. Though, sometimes they push through to what I've discovered as limitations to my open mind. For example, posting lewd photos/videos ( example. cleavage shots, almost nudes, butt photos, twerking etc. ). While one here or there is tolerable, if that is all they choose to post ( no matter my relation to them ) I either hide all their posts or simply unfriend them. I have a right to choose what I see in my news feed. Another reason is what people choose to write about in their statuses. I get on my Facebook to stimulate my mind and my mood. I want to read posts that are funny, deep, intelligent, pondering and meaningful. Or simply loved ones and people I care about sharing what's going on in their lives ( achievements, goals, events, thoughts, feelings, etc. ) positive or negative. While everyone has ups and downs, there are some people who just always seem to be down in the negatives. Their posts and statuses are never uplifting, they never try to see the light in a situation. They just carry on about some drama or negative feelings they have either about themselves or someone else. When someone is always posting negative statuses, pictures, quotes etc. I unfriend them or hide their posts as they never seem to leave that melancholy state of mind. Some people might say to me I'm not open minded and that I should just ignore these two types of posts, let people be and move on. While I agree, ignoring it is best, it is also my Facebook and as I said, it is my choice to choose what shows up in my daily feed. I have never stopped anyone from doing or being what they want, but I can choose to remove someone if they're posts are distasteful, make me feel uncomfortable or just put me in a negative state of mind.

  3. Landon Kimbrough says:

    I'm tired of the lack of logical thinking and obvious (to me) talking points from Faux News. They ask questions about my posts which have little to do with what I've posted (straw man arguments)

  4. Payton says:

    If you're an artist and the friend you blocked was only friends with you to rip off your designs. If you see your work start showing up on the web you need to get rid of the thieves! I recently dumped 3 people for this. We never spoke anyway I'm not even sure why we were friends.

  5. Meg says:

    I recently unfriended someone because I don’t want to be friends with someone who posts pics of her four month old watching cartoons, it’s an ideological difference so deep I don’t see the point. I also unfriended a few friends and friends of friends from college whose lives no longer jive with mine, they are very fringey and not respectful of women. Lastly, I had a rough time in high school and at one point realized I had no desire to share my life with those people.

  6. Sarah Fulkerson says:

    I see nothing wrong with cleaning the ole' friends list up a little, especially with the people who NEVER communicate with you. But to delete someone just because they made several comments back to back or might be "weird"? All this "letting go"…."letting go"…I do understand it and believe it is important to learn the art of letting go and be comfortable with it….but this article borders on snobbiness and unwilling to accept those that are different somehow? I realize as stated by you that you can always message them, but do you know how much good and close friends I have made just by accepting people's quirks and I am richer for it and much good has come from these relationships. Lately I feel like this obsession with letting go and keeping people from a very important quality that it seems so many people lack these days, and that's loyalty. Not saying that all FB friends are as serious all that, but I decided to give my honest opinion on this subject. No disrespect. Cheers!

  7. Jbucka says:

    I've unfriended someone for constant negativity. Always sarcastic, always whining.

  8. The Ceej says:

    If they're wacky, that's a good reason to send them a friend request, not to unfriend them. I like wacky. Wacky is fun. Weird Al is wacky. I rest my case. Unless they're wacky and stalkery or wacky and dangerous… Then, it's not the wackiness. It's something else.

  9. Matt says:

    I'm considering the idea of unfriending someone. I have recently made romantic gestures to a friend and I'm 90% certain that it's all going to blow up in my face once I tell her it's me. I might as well unfriend her before she has the chance to do it to me…it also prevents me from seeing what she posts, which should help get over her. Yeah, I'm going to unfriend her right now.

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