Disclaimer: I’m heading down the path to rantville and probably shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard right now.
Recently I was using my tablet to enter the wonderful world of Facebook and I accidentally hit the Find Friends link. I wasn’t really looking to do this but what the heck. So Facebook is like the matchmaker and begins to recommend people I should be friends with and, as I begin to scroll down, I see the name of someone I could have sworn I was friends with but with the new feed (or so I thought) I hadn’t seen anything from them in a while. Apparently, the feed was not the problem because the fact is – they unfriended me. As I scroll down, I see another one that I know I was connected with so I know it’s not in my head.
What the heck?
One person is not someone I’ve had any conflicts with. They are local and we run in similar circles. We may not cross paths a lot but I know what they do, consider them a colleague/friend and, come to find out, they didn’t view me the same way. The other was an impossible-to-please person so I get it and I’m totally cool with it. I still didn’t unfriend them but I’m definitely not losing sleep over it.
Now I know there are many opinions out there about unfriending but they seem to fit pretty well into two categories…
1. That’s just rude!
2. Just let it go.
You may well have an opinion that fits somewhere in one of these categories – maybe a little bit of each – and here is my philosophy on the subject.
Un-friending someone falls somewhere in the middle. I certainly don’t want to waste energy or time thinking about it or being upset about it BUT I also feel making that choice is pretty much the same as going up to someone and saying straight to their face “You can’t sit at this table because I don’t like you and there’s no room for you anyway” – oh wait, that was not about Facebook.
You get my point.
It’s mean. It’s bridge-burning mean.
It’s juvenile and feels like we are back in grade school.
You can have like 5,000 friends so, unless you are close to that, you don’t have to worry about someone taking a seat that you don’t really want there. With all the options out there for controlling your feed, why do people feel a need to make such a bold statement?
Would you walk into a networking meeting, and upon seeing someone you don’t care for, go up to them and say, “I don’t like you so why don’t you leave?” Would you make a point to let them know you don’t like them?
Would you go to a social gathering and be rude to someone you didn’t care for in front of everyone else?
Maybe you would but I wouldn’t. Unfriending is really doing just that. I don’t resonate with everyone and I still wouldn’t be unkind to them. I maybe wouldn’t sit and visit with them all night but I’m not going to be rude.
What do some of the “experts” out there say about unfriending…
Time Magazine suggests 10 reasons that make it proper etiquette to unfriend someone. Your parents, the person is in love and posts about it all the time, they are your ex, you don’t actually know them at all, you wouldn’t say hi in real life, they are event crazy, they are really negative…you get the picture.
Huff Post suggests it’s ok if someone is stalking you, if you’ll never ever see them again in real life, or if they might be screwing you over.
Remember the “lose 10 friends and get a whopper” deal from Burger King?
A first-of-its-kind study, where the results were shared on Consumer Affairs, showed that the biggest reason people unfriend is because of too many pointless posts. Of course, one can always hide the posts instead of unfriending someone.
The Wall Street Journal had to say this about not being BFFs anymore with someone.
Bottom line…my opinion is don’t do it unless you are positive you will never ever ever see them again (I just ran into someone yesterday I hadn’t seen in 7 years), you hate their guts and don’t care if they know it, or you are the equivalent of the mean girl in high school. Handle your connections differently…as if you were face-to-face with them vs. hiding behind a computer screen, hoping they won’t notice. As adults, most of us would choose kindness (at least I hope you would).
So where do you stand on this topic?? Inquiring minds want to know…
AND how do you handle it if and when you run into someone who has either unfriended you or you’ve unfriended them?