Unfriending, unfriends on Facebook

I consider myself a reformed Facebook junkie, there was a time when I binged on Facebook, hours spent looking at holiday photos of someone I’d not seen in 10 years, friending people I’d met in the 80’s. I appreciate that there maybe people reading this who hardly remember the 80’s. The 80’s was spent waiting for mobile phones and the internet. While we waited we had long leisurely phone calls based in one place as opposed to barking into a mobile; “I’m at the checkout, Text me”. We met up with people face to face in social environments. Meeting someone on holiday might mean exchanging addresses but really you never saw them again, now they become your Facebook friend – for ever.

I am a big fan it does enable me to keep in contact with friends overseas, friends around the corner who never answer their phone to me, some members of my extended family that previously I didn’t exchange Christmas cards with. Facebook can be a beautiful thing.

I now check Facebook most days rather briefly via an app on my phone, apparently 50% of 800 million active users check in daily, which in effect makes me normal, bingeing is a thing of the past. However, during my bingeing it seemed important to have lots of Facebook friends, rather like lots of glasses of pinot grigio on a night out, the more the merrier and but then it gets a bit out of hand.

I don’t have a huge amount of Facebook friends, more than the average 130 but less than many, but there are a number of randoms on my Friends list. A month ago someone I used to work with, someone who never extended much in the way of friendship towards me sent me a Facebook friend request, usually I just accept, but I hesitated I thought about it and rejected. I began to considered the people on my friend list who aren’t actually friends more unfriends and as part of my Day Zero Project I pledged to ‘unfriend unfriends on Facebook’, therefore giving myself 1001 days to unfriend people – get a grip! until July 2014? Why do I feel bad about unfriending people I don’t even see or even communicate with even on the most basic Facebook level?

One of my real friends decided what’s the point of all this and culled 60 ‘friends’ (obviously as soon as she told me I rushed to check I was still in her fold – I was). So I did it I unfriended, I must admit I felt a bit of trepidation at the first one and had to give myself a little talking too and it was fine. I don’t imagine any of these people will notice I’m gone. I did consider going completely minimalist and unfriending madly but that’s not the point of Facebook and obviously, I need to be friends with the various people whose status updates I find ‘challenging’ (and blocked) and with a dog who has 3 friends and doesn’t even use it’s real name and never replies to my wall posts. I’ve come to think that a cull every now and then might be a healthy thing, because realistically I’m not going to delete my account and Facebook is forever and but actually not all ‘friends’ are.

43 Comments

  1. Sandy Calico

    Hmm, interesting. I only joined FB to promote my blog, I don’t have a personal FB account. Now I’ve got nearly 400 ‘friends’ and I don’t know all of them. What I should have done was opened an account as me and a ‘fan’ page for the blog. I could then keep my real friends as friends and have everyone else on the fan page. Maybe I’ll sort it out one day. Good luck with the unfriending!

  2. headinbook

    I’ve fallen out of love with FB too, but I think the magic might return if I were to take a scythe to my friends list.

    There are lots of people on there who I don’t really care enough about to be anything other than bored by the litany of bad days, sick children and feckless partners. I wish them no ill, but there’s a limit to the number of times one can write “poor you” with any sincerity.

    My fear is that “unfriend” sets off some kind of klaxon alert on the FB page of the culled, though!

    1. helloitsgemma

      there is no klaxon but there is a setting to check if you have been unfriended – but who on earth knows where it is and then what are they going to do.
      i found with facebook, I blocked people like that and no one noticed I didn’t comment.

  3. lucy from crumbs

    Couldn’t agree more. I was wondering whether I could do the same thing too. you’ve given me the courage. FB – to me – is a much more intimate forum – than say Twitter. I don’t want people I don’t really know looking at pictures of me at primary school!

  4. motherventing

    I had a massive cull of FB ‘friends’ fairly recently and felt better for it afterwards! Why have these non- friends in your life? Do you really need to know what they ate for dinner last night? Once you’ve unfriended it makes you realise just how much you actually value your ‘real’ friends. Now the hooha round FB has calmed down a bit, maybe the obsession with having AS MANY FRIENDS AS POSSIBLE will no longer be mandatory!

    Well done. Can you unfriend any more?? 😉 X

  5. Ali

    Love the comment on ‘Lie to me’ about imaginery friends a few weeks back. ‘Lots of people have imaginery friends now, it’s called Face Book!!!’ very true.

    I never bowed down to the number pressure, but that is just me or perhaps I am just unsocialably sad 😉

    So anyone who is my Face Book friend, I can promise you I would always give my time to you, I value you as a person, you make me smile and laugh and I do actually like you!!! Which goes also to the small handful that I have never met but all the above apply to you too 🙂

  6. Fiona Cooper (@nlpmum)

    A cull is def in order for me on FB – I know what you mean “headinbook” – I worry too that they might get a klaxon alert to me being unfriendly to them…. there are some I don’t know from adam who I wouldn’t be bothered about and some I see in reality who I would….. but they don’t get a klaxon alert….. do they?

    1. helloitsgemma

      no klaxon, but there is a setting to see who unfriended you – but who knows where it is???
      People put accounts on hold or close accounts often so numbers tend to go up and down, I think it takes a lot to notice who is actually missing – don’t worry. Whats the worst they could do? Friend you again?

  7. mum of all trades

    I honestly think facebook is nothing but hassle. It seems to be the root of an awful lot of bitching and competitive showing off, I just don’t want to go there! My facebook for my blog has a few hundred ‘friends’ which are peopel I’ve never met and I just want to share new blog posts with.

  8. Sarah Mac

    Nodding through most of that although I am pretty mean when it comes to rejecting friends requests from people I barely know.

    I have less than 100 FB friends but some of them are people who have slipped through the net and it probably is time for a quiet cull (none of this like if you want to still be my friends stuff!).

    FB has many good and bad points – I’ve deactivated it a couple of times because I needed a break and then gone back.

    Doubt many people missed me much and to be honest, I didn’t miss most of them much either.

    Having said that (aware that I may sound like a cranky old bitch so why WOULD anyone want to be my friend) My true friends know they are because I will keep in touch in other ways too.

  9. antoinette . (@divasupermum)

    interesting post, i don’t do fb to often,just nip in out, not enough time to spend hours on, i don’t know how anyone can have 400 friends on fb to much shared info

  10. Ally Bean

    I deleted my FB account a few years ago. Just walked away from the whole thing. I’ve not regretted it. However, when it comes to Twitter and the blogosphere I have way too many people who I follow. And am in the process of culling the lists. But it’s tricky to do– who’s sincere and who isn’t? That’s the issue for me.

    1. helloitsgemma

      I don’t think I could walk from FB – but well done you.
      Twitter/bloggersphere, I think you just find who suits you and who doesn’t. It’s easier to manage via lists you stick to the lists that suit and dip in to the others from time to time.

  11. Alexander Residence

    I read 150 was the maximum number of friends one person could juggle. i ‘divorced’ my husband on facebook last week, nothing personal, I still can’t explain it to him, I think its the one part of my life I like to keep private! We’re friends, but not linked as married anymore.

    1. helloitsgemma

      gosh – how did he take it?
      I have more than that – but actually, some are blocked, some never post, some I just scroll over and so it doesn’t feel unmanageable.
      I think the number of actual/real friend is actually nearer 60? maybe we should do some research – another post perhaps??

  12. Midlife Singlemum

    I haven’t culled, except one randonm woman from Chicago who kept inviting me to events, because I use fb to promote my blog. However, I never write anything too personal for anyone to read. I always think the criteria shoudl be: When it says it’s their birthday and you don’t leave a message because they’d think you were mad – you probably aren’t really friends.

  13. Rachel

    I often “unfriend” people. I do feel a tad guilty but those people hardly communicate with me so why should we be “Facebook friends”.

    It’s nice to de-clutter sometimes x

  14. Mum2BabyInsomniac

    I had a massive Facebook cull a few months ago, to be honest I get more and more brutal every time I sign in. If someone is taking up my homepage then I delete them! The only surprising thing is that some of them send another friend request! I Have a rule, if I wouldn’t speak to them in real life then I delete them x

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