It Sucks to be Unfriended

Friendship Redefined

Person A is friends with Person B and Person C is friends with Person D. And hey, Person D, our algorithm says you may know Person A too!

Welcome to the new definition of friendship.

Social media has added a new layer to human relationships. It used to be that only marriages are put into writing. This time, friendships are recorded, consolidated and published into one big gallery we all know as the Friends List.

Well, who doesn’t want that? It’s nice to see all your friends neatly organized into those cute boxes right?

These social links work just fine. That is, until you break them.

No Physical Equivalent

You don’t go telling your friends in the face: “I hereby unfriend you.”

The big problem with unfriending is that it doesn’t have an equivalent state in the physical world. Outside the context of social networks, how would you unfriend someone?

You either become enemies with another person, or remain friends. While friendship can deteriorate over time, it never completely disappears. A friend you haven’t spoken to for 10 years still remains a friend.

A Strong Message

The home of social networks is a highly impersonal domain - the internet. That’s why some people take unfriending lightly.

But no matter how innocent you see it, whenever you unfriend, people can get hurt or be bewildered. That’s why it’s done discreetly. You’re hoping the person may not even care at all, at best you’re hoping they don’t notice it entirely.

Of course, you will never know.

Reasons for Unfriending

A Nielsen survey cites offensive comments as the primary reason why people impulsively click that unfriend button. The reasons vary: a friend trying to drag you into a “revolutionary” income-generating scheme, an ex-officemate posting depressing shares or folks who provide streaming coverage of their daily lives.

Relax

On the other hand, many people think that we shouldn’t take everything that happens in social media too seriously.

Folks that don’t have Facebook accounts can never be unfriended. This pseudo-phenomenon only impacts people who are into social networks.

While many people will be affected by unfriending, a lot more don’t mind. “What the heck, unfriend me and I’ve automatically unfriended you too!”

You May Need Them Someday

You may Need them Someday #

The person you just unfriended may end up with a key role in a future event in your life - maybe you run into some accident and he’s the only one around, or she may be that one connection to a special girl you’d like to meet, or that one person that could link you to that covetted job.

Avoid It

Exercise unfriending with extreme caution. The privacy settings provided by Facebook allow you to precisely control post visibility, there’s no compelling reason to unfriend someone.

Unfriending should only be reserved for one thing: when there’s real-life severance of a relationship - a major fight, a bad break-up, a divorce perhaps.

To avoid this dillemma, don’t add or confirm friend requests from people you don’t know too much to begin with. A new facebook friend is tantamount to a contract - I know this person well enough to call him a friend.

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