For the vast majority of us on Facebook, the platform can be a great place to meet new people, stay connected with old friends and keep in touch with our loved ones. Even though most of us don’t “keep count” of our Facebook friends, having them there can give us a sense of reassurance.
That is – until we find ourselves “defriended”.
According to recent stats, we spend an average of 21 minutes per day on Facebook and there are around 864 million of us. Figures are unavailable on the global level of “defriending”, however, as Facebook probably doesn’t want its users to have access to that kind of information – after all, we’re there to make friends, not lose them…right?
My own recent experience with being defriended
I was recently defriended by someone on Facebook. Luckily for me, it was not someone who I was very close to – she was the sister of a good friend of mine – who I always quite liked, actually.
She was the type of person who constantly posted “Leftie” political stuff on her page and she once congratulated me for having what she called a “civilised” discussion with one of her Facebook friends on whether or not people should donate to charities that have a religious background (she thought no, I thought yes).
So, I was very upset to recent discover that I had been defriended by this person. Let’s call her Mary. I know that it would have been a deliberate defriending as she was always threatening to defriend people on her feed, and often posted that she had done a recent “clear out”.
So what’s wrong with that, you may ask.
My friend “John” and his recent defriending
Today I had another Facebook friend go on a defriending rampage, luckily not involving me this time. Here’s what he said:
– a judgmental parent who viciously attacked another parent friend
– someone making “jokes” about skinning cats
– a troll who went on at me for hours telling me what I can post on my own wall
Life’s too short.”
Sigh. I read that and felt very disappointed. I do not defriend people. I do, but only if I have ended up friends with them for the wrong reason and their posts bore me or contain graphic material. Apart from that, I deliberately try to make friends with people from a wide range of places. I particularly like people who have lots to say, and are opinionated.
Why I think that it’s “wrong” to defriend people will-nilly
It’s so easy to be intolerant, and I think when you defriend someone for being intolerant, or for sharing a view that is different to your own, you are limiting your own experience and losing your opportunity to reform or educate someone.
Imagine if everyone on our Facebook feeds was exactly like us? How boring would the world be then?
Drew Hoolhurst has a great post on the topic and he’s pretty clear about why he chooses to defriend people on his Facebook feed. He even admits to being a “shallow person” and even calls the move of defriending “passive aggressive.”
“You have posted over 10 times in the last few hours,” he blasts. “Most people don’t say that many things in public. Imagine stating whatever you just posted out in the wild, like 15 times. Was it awkward? Just imagine it’s the same here, then. Because it is.”
Read his full list of crimes here.
So what are some legitimate reasons to defriend people?
Cracked.com gives several legitimate reasons for you to defriend people. They are:
- You don’t actually know them.
- They love applications. These people are literally on Facebook for the Farmville fun and not much else.
- They are bananas.
- You are related.
A final note on defriending
Give people a chance. I like to keep my friends close and my “enemies” closer, and in this sense, an “enemy” is anyone who has a different opinion to me. It’s vital that we keep dialogues open and if someone has different political, social and religious views to you – all the more reason to hear what they have to say, in my opinion.
What do you think?
Who have you chosen to defriend and why?