Social networking can help us keep in touch with our pals, but it can also complicate a friendship. One thing that can cause trouble is the act of unfriending someone on Facebook. When should you do it and what does it mean for your friendship if you do?
When You've Been Unfriended
If you have been unfriended by one of your close pals on Facebook, your first reaction may be anger. After all, even a virtual rejection hurts. But before you get upset, ask yourself:
- Has my friend taken his or her profile down? If your friend removes their profile for a while, it will look as if you have been unfriended. When their profile goes back up, they will once again show up in your friend list.
- Does my friend use Facebook as much as I do? Perhaps your pal doesn't enjoy the site and wants to limit their time on it.
- Is my Facebook friend really just an acquaintance? Sometimes people will start off with a personal Facebook page, then decide to keep only their closest friends and family and unfriend the rest. It's not the most effective way to manage a page, but it could explain a sudden unfriending.
If you answered no to these questions, you and your friend may have some issues to work out. If you recently argued or if your pal has been gradually pulling away from you, the unfriending will most likely be a reflection of that. It's up to you to connect with your friend and work through the conflict.
Before You Unfriend Someone
Deleting someone from your friend list can create some very negative feelings. Before you do it, ask yourself:
- Am I just angry with this person? In order to undo an unfriending, you'll need to send the person a friend request again. So if you're just angry, let some time pass before you decide that you'd prefer not to speak to them through Facebook again.
- Am I sick of this person's game requests, wall posts, or status updates? Some people just overwhelm us with their information on Facebook. If that's the case, you can choose not to respond to requests, or adjust your privacy settings so you can no longer see their updates. To stop seeing their posts, go to "account," "privacy settings," and "can see wall posts by friends."
- Am I fed up with Facebook in general? If you are, start by taking a break from social media before you start limiting friends.
After You Unfriend
When you delete someone on Facebook, it doesn't necessarily mean you won't see or hear from them again. Be prepared with an explanation if you should bump into them. Your contact may have shown themselves to be a frenemy or negative influence. If they weren't really a friend, you took the right step in unfriending them, and they probably won't even ask you about it if you should see them out somewhere.
Other people, however, take unfriending very personally. They may not even realize they have been behaving poorly. For these folks, you may need to talk things through afterward, much like you do after a falling out. Unfriending definitely changes the tone and status of a friendship, so use caution before you do it. When you've thought about it and still want to go ahead, then do it without regret.