“The awkward moment when you notice you’ve been ‘unfriended’ on Facebook.”
I signed up to Facebook in 2007 and so much has changed since then. In the beginning you were limited in what you could do. You could upload a photo, post a status (that had to start with your name and then ‘is’) and people could write on your wall. Likes, and the ability to reply to a comment, were non-existent. In those days it was all about how many friends you had.
7 years later and Facebook is a completely different platform than it used to be and we are smarter users. We are much more savvy about our privacy protection and it’s more about quality than quantity where friends are concerned. I couldn’t even tell you the number of friends I have now, because I never check. Though because we added every man and his dog** in the early days, or throughout every job we’ve worked, there are times when we want to trim down our friend list.
**I’m not kidding. I am friends with a dog. I like him because he always looks like he’s smiling and he doesn’t send me game requests.
So we want to cull someone, but how do we do this without offending them?
- Cull someone if they stop engaging in your life and you aren’t close with them. Of course it would be weird to like or comment on everything, but for the bigger events going on in your life, or your happiest announcements, do they at least throw a “like” your way? If not, then they should understand why they were deleted.
- Cull if you realistically aren’t ever going to see them again. This is a tricky one with old colleagues for example. You don’t want to offend them and don’t want it to be awkward if you do run into them, but if you’re trying to keep Facebook for closer friends and family and the person in question isn’t someone you regularly hear from, you no longer have work in common and won’t likely see them again, then offence should not be taken.
- Delete someone in the first instance to end a friendship. It’s impulsive, petty and you’re likely to regret it. If they are someone you usually correspond with and you’re having a dispute, check in on them. Communicate. I will never unfriend somebody just because we may not be talking at the time.
- Make a status telling people you’re about to dum dum dum… do the cull. I fail to see the point and you risk people perceiving you as attention seeking and desperate for your friends to comment with “please keep me!” and “I hope I make the cut!”
- Restrict someone on Facebook unless you absolutely have to, and I understand that there are circumstances where this may be the better option. However, people can tell when they’ve been restricted and it’s unfair to the other party as you’re still technically “friends” with them and can see their profile, but they are very limited in what they see of yours. Tiny bit stalkerish. You’re better off deleting them altogether.
[runs off to check I don’t have anyone on a limited profile]