Deciding When to Unfriend on Facebook

Each day millions of Facebook users log on to play games, leave comments to friends, share photos and videos, take quizzes, send messages and engage in a host of other virtual activities the network offers. With over a billion members and numerous apps, there is a lot of ways to spend time on Facebook.

“Friending” other people is a large part of the Facebook experience, and when members sign up, they often find a bombardment of friend requests arrive in the first couple of days. These invitations for Facebook friendship may come from friends, family, colleagues or long-lost classmates. Sometimes people get friend requests from friends of friends, or even from people not even known, but have similar interests based on profiles.

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At first all these invites may be exciting, and new members are inclined to make all these connections. However, later they might become more discriminate and/or decide the online connection was too impulsive and opt to remove people from their lists. Deciding who and when to unfriend on Facebook can be tricky because people might get offended, but each person needs to decide what is best for him or her. It might help to evaluate some of the top reasons why people unfriend (or defriending if that’s your preference – seemingly there is debate on this – but at least one Facebook founder/owner prefers “defriend”).

  • Don’t know the person well – sometimes connections are made too quickly.
  • Privacy – After a while, people often realize how much “real life” information can be shared on the network and they decide they want to be more discriminate of who they share with, so they pare down their list.
  • Have a fall-out – Hey it happens everywhere, both in the virtual world and the offline world, people have disagreements, get mad, become upset or just react to a quarrel.  
  • Person has changed – People often connect out of nostalgia, but then realize the person is not really the same person they remembered. Or it could simply be a person’s spouse has a problem with the friendship and the disconnect could have to do with offline life.

When someone is “unfriended” or “defriended”, the immediate reaction may be one of confusion, hurt or bewilderment. Others may respond with feelings of anger. Still others may just simply move on. Whatever the emotion, it is important to keep in mind there are many reasons why people may remove a friend on Facebook; sometimes it is personal and other times it may have nothing to do with the person that was removed as a connection.

Losing Facebook connections is bound to happen at some point in everyone’s Facebook experience and often it does not mean the Facebook “breakup” was personal, although in some cases it might be. If the latter is the case, perhaps the person is not worth fretting about because maybe a true friendship never existed to begin with.  

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