Why You Should Stop Unfriending People

Why You Should Stop Unfriending People

Unfriending – it’s the ultimate passive aggressive ‘f*** you’. As soon as Facebook allowed you to start adding friends it became popular to unfriend people. How many times have you seen a status to the effect of ‘just culled 243 friends – if you’re reading this you’re one of the lucky ones!’.

The purpose of mass culling was simple…in ’09 when it was popular to do it. People thought it made them look selective about the company they keep. In practice, it just signalled that the culler had enough spare time to dedicate half an hour sifting through their friends list.

These days, culling happens in different circumstances. Someone says something you don’t like or…writes a blog post about you and you reach straight for the ‘unfriend’ button.

The reality is though that it isn’t about sending your target a message. Unfriending gives you a sense of instant gratification.  You feel offended and you are struggling with a loss of control. Unfriending gives you an immediate sense of control back. That is all it will do. Five minutes later you’re still offended and either they will know it, and know they got a rise out of you, or they will not notice and you’ll feel pathetic.

It’s just a way of voicing your displeasure in a way that doesn’t actually voice it. You may think it says ‘I don’t care’. You’ve missed the fact it actually takes effort to log into Facebook, find them amongst your 579 friends and hit ‘unfriend’. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t even bother and they will know it. It basically confirms that you can’t articulate a retort and can’t structure an argument so you’ll just opt out altogether. It’s forfeiting.

This is not to say you should never cull someone from your Facebook. There are occasions the Bear advocates the practice, including:

  1. culling an ex;
  2. culling a pedophile (unfortunately this has actually happened to some of our friends and they did the right thing and culled them…a year later); and
  3. culling someone you are convinced is plundering your personal information.

Broadly speaking though, it’s a childish practice and one which is likely to earn you a reputation for being thin-skinned or emotionally stunted rather than actually upset anyone you’ve unfriended.

Assuming anyone still uses Twitter (we hope so because we’re about to share this article), ‘unfollowing’ is even worse. Unless you’re Justin Bieber unfollowing Selena Gomez no one will ever notice.