Learning to say “no” can be as powerful and positive as saying “yes.” Letting go isn’t loss. It’s allowing room for new.
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.
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.
Relephant Bonus: Online Loneliness: “This Video Will Have You Completely Rethink How You Conduct Yourself Online And In Person (Video)”
Relephant Deep Reading: Buddhism vs. Speed: Busyness is Laziness, by Dr. Reggie Ray.
Or you could just bail on everyone all together and join the social media site that isn’t stealing all of your information:
Facebook in Real Life:
Trolling friends on Facebook Messenger: