Seven Reasons to Unfriend someone on Facebook.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 22, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

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.



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & 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. | 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. michey says:

    An ex who changed his mind constantly & has been inconsistent in acting on how he expressed he felt about me. Facebook can be a scapegoat for people too cowardly to take right steps towards what they want with someone. "Popping in" to learn everything that person's been up to, maybe even when the other women he's dating aren't boosting his ego enough (and probably to make sure I'm still single), doesn't fly with me; I've expressed it, and won't be accepting another re-friend request. Get a clue.

    Tough love, baby. Tough love.

  2. kerry says:

    I unfriended someone who decided to date not just one of my ex's but two… even after I told her after the first time, that hearing about it through the gossip mill was hurtful and actually dating someone's ex is kind of a betrayal and not very kind behavior. So, she decided to do it yet again. The first time I forgave her, the second time, I sent her a very clear message telling her she was not my friend and voila! Unfriended literally and figuratively!

  3. Kate says:

    I’ve unfriended a woman who several times posted anti-Muslim memes and commentary. Her “liking” all the ongoing, horrifyingly bigoted comments just backed up her belief system for me although ALL her other postings were of tiny, cute animals. ALL of them. I’ve no room for a racist, no matter how cute the animals were.

  4. Nyaran says:

    Kimberly. I do the same on a regular basis. People I met once and who are now far away from me (in kilometers and thinking), I unfriend, because looking at their vacation photos doesn't take me anywhere.

  5. bulk up says:

    Anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of testosterone.

    As an advanced bodybuilder, protein should probably be the number one food

    in your diet as it will help to build additional muscle while generally not add to your waistline the way an over abundance of

    carbohydrates do. These muscle fibers are responsible for the explosive bursts of strength

    and power. Just two days into it, you feel a drastic difference

    in energy and clarity of thought. So they feel they have to start doing

    something to be great.

  6. Mia says:

    A lover and I consciously parted facebook ways when we decided we would make our relationship "open". she couldn't deal with the possibility of seeing a picture posted or a comment made from anyone who might be another lover. She found a loophole to look at my facebook anyway. The "opening" of our relationship was her idea. I eventually blocked her from Facebook to make our twice a week

  7. David says:

    I have unfriended a couple people when they ignored my messages. These were old friends who I hadn’t seen in along time and got along well with. I usually give them a shout out and suggest that we get together to catch up some time outside of fb. I can see they see that they have read my message (with the check mark) but they never reply, not even with a short hello. I’ll usually give it a couple weeks or longer. The message I get (especially when I see them making multiple posts, comments elsewhere) is that they can’t be bothered or don’t care. So, I really don’t want to be friends (virtual or real) with people like that.

  8. Concerned says:

    I am considering unfriending work colleagues because I don't want them knowing about my social life. For a long while I made it a personal policy not to add work colleagues as friends because I believe it is best to keep work and social life separate. But after one colleague persuaded me to add them I found it difficult in my own mind to justify not adding others or accepting their friend requests so now I have quite a lot of work colleagues on fb. This makes me feel uncomfortable as I have broken my own rule and I am quite a private person who struggles with the whole concept of fb in many ways and I don't like going to work and feeling that colleagues may be judging me because of posts on my facebook.

  9. Katherine says:

    I had to go through an unfortunate round of un-friending when the IRL gossip channel outside of FB was getting littered with misrepresentations of my FB posts. I kept finding myself saying, “how do they know that?” regarding friends not on FB. In order to root out the gossiper, I randomly removed probably more than a few people who didn’t deserve it. Nonetheless, my faith in humans and their ability to be loyal friends is shattered.

    I no longer post anything personal on FB as a result.

  10. Deanna Graves says:

    I'd add, "If it makes you sad to read their posts." I have a friend I was once very close to. Over the years she has drifted away and realizing I only find out about her life is via Facebook just made me sad.

  11. magentasmusings says:

    I unfriended someone I knew from my childhood because whenever she got drunk she would send me diatribes about how crap our childhood was.

  12. AKP says:

    There's no need to unfriend if it means it will ruin some business relationships or if you have mutual friends and will see them in the near future. There are features on Fb that allow for people to be excluded from seeing your posts and even some photos like mobile uploads and things you upload to your timeline. You can even put them on a Restricted list disallowing them from viewing anything but technically they are still your friend. I find that feature makes my life easier as opposed to seeing them and hearing, "Why'd you delete me?"

  13. adrianresajones says:

    There are a few things that you can do without unfriending people, assuming that, like most of us, you don't have 5000 friends. You can unfollow them so that you don't have to read their kooky posts. You can turn off the feature that allows people to post on your wall and you can make sure that they don't see your posts by using the appropriate settings.

    One could look at facebook as a place to practice loving kindness…

    Someone with 5000 friends could turn their personal facebook page into a "page" and create a smaller, private personal facebook page for real friends.

  14. Instantkarma says:

    I unfriended my toxic sister in law after years of knowing her “real life” and watching the fiction version play out on her FB. For months I read status of her pointing the fingers at anyone and everyone she could knowing the truth that she was causing her own drama most of the time, and feeding on the negative and sympathetic comments on these posts. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 2 Decades and she never, ever contributed to our lives in a positive manner, her and her abusive husband did purchase some things for us and our kids over 15 years but usually

    Just to brag about it or remind us of it often. She became so enraged that she put 100% effort in to making my life hell. I had to see her for my father in laws funeral, and I am

    At peace and actually proud that I unfriended her, because her real life behavior reflected all of what I was trying to remove from my life. although I will

    Miss my neices and nephew who are teens now who have been completely brain washed, I look at my own two beautiful teen daughters and I am positive I have done the right thing.

  15. Grace says:

    I love these 12….

    But I would also add a 13…

    Those who would be trying to exit the “friendzone” by either belittling my partner or my choice in said partner, or otherwise disrespect my relationship by attempting to get me to date you when I’m actually Happy and Content with said partner. Unfriended. Friends are for support and encouragement. If someone offers a valid point of, I care about you and I feel your partner is unhealthy because…. (state your case, then drop it) and add afterward that you will support them no matter what they decide. All about respect.

  16. SupportYou says:

    Try to search for all your work colleagues and block them out first, so that they could not send you friend requests.

  17. John says:

    I find it poor that this article is headlined "7 Reasons to Unfriend Someone on Facebook" and the 7th reason is "give me more suggestions.

    That means it's 6 reasons, buddy. 6 reasons plus a request for the crowd to do the rest of your work for you.

  18. Cori says:

    I have been thinking about unfriending my stepmom. My dad passed away rather unexpectedly last Thanksgiving. She began dating in February, and has moved in with a new man. They often proclaim their love to each other on Facebook. Although, I do want her to be happy, I am still deeply greiving. I asked her if she could be more discreet for a while longer, for my family’s sake, and out of respect for my father. I recieved no response. Should I just unfriend her?

  19. Snad says:

    If they post really bad jokes that border on or jump stupidly over the racist line.
    If everything they post pisses you off, even mildly.
    If they have no fucking sense of humor whatsoever and take the piss out of your sarcastic or subtly humorous posts because of it.

  20. benaourine says:

    simple et comprehensive

  21. Sam says:

    Unfriended my friend (ex) a little while after we broke up. Not because we couldn't talk to eachother anymore or anything but because her digital presense when online made the moving on part after the break-up harder for me.

  22. galdorf1 says:

    tried to join ello and keep getting a no dice message, lol, when i joined facebook, regardless, i still was accepted, guess i stick to the tried and true, as new is not better, it appears to be flustrating, lol

  23. @deesantucci says:

    I unfriended someone who I could barely remember but who kept trying to tell me I should have a pool party and invite him. Really? I thought I was supposed to do the inviting. I tried to ignore the first few attempts but after about the 5th time

  24. jontees says:

    I have been on both sides of the fence. There were times when I unfriended people for what I felt were perfectly valid and legitimate reasons. Usually it involved some annoying instance of the person somehow reminding me that I really didn’t know them all that well or at all by either wishing me a “Happy Birthday” or simply at random coming up and speaking to me via messenger as though we were good friends. On the other side I was left baffled when old “real life friends” as well as people I met entirely online who seemed to like the majority of my content removed me for reasons known only to them. I felt slightly betrayed in some instances but quickly got over it.

  25. jontees says:

    I tend to frequently remove flaky people who make minor changes to their profiles and act as though they are now this “completely different person.” their “change” may be something like switching from a full name to a first and middle name or a nickname. This is largely preemptive as in the past my head has been on the chopping block several times when people started making these “big changes.” so I get them before they get me basically. Another time the wife of a former high school acquaintance unfriended me for reasons known only to her, since I was on the fence about getting rid of him anyway her doing this made the decision easier and I gave him the axe.

  26. 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?

  27. elephantjournal says:

    You can unfollow her if you just don't want to see her posts and remain friends.

  28. 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.

  29. 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)

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. Jbucka says:

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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.