Why You Were Unfriended From Facebook

It seems odd that we're still talking about Facebook, a behemoth that we all expected to die out by now due to the laws of mainstream popularity.

Granted, many will claim that Facebook is slowly on its way out, but that is more of a cultural perception, rather than the fact of the matter. Facebook is stronger than ever, and many people are still rabidly using it---myself included.

My generation (older millennials) is one of the most active groups participating on Facebook. Many of us are young enough to be technology savvy, and we have plenty of free time. We also consist of newlyweds and new parents who are spending an increased amount of time at home (and ultimately on our phones or laptop) than we are going out and socializing.

One thing I've noticed about my generation's use of Facebook is that we're a fantastic focus group for trends associated with the platform. We were the early adopters, meaning we were the teens and young adults who made Facebook popular in the first place.

So for the past 9 years that I have had a Facebook account, I've unknowingly observed how social interaction on the platform has evolved into what it is today. Despite all of its changes, however, there are still some truths about how people use Facebook that never change.

Which brings us to the subject at hand: why you were booted off of Facebook by a supposed friend. I'm writing this because I have heard too many people complain about what they believe to be the underlined reasons behind a Facebook breakup, when really, they are the ones to blame.

One of the first questions I ask someone who is unfriended is this: Have you ever unfriended someone from Facebook?

No one has ever answered "no," which has allowed me to follow the question up with: Why?

They'll list plenty of reasons, many of them good. Some of the most popular are that the person offended them online.

It's no secret that differing opinions make many of us uneasy. Even those of you who default to becoming combative when seeing an inflammatory post will feel the fatigue of having to engage in an online debate over something you have no real control of.

The result is bitterness and resentment shared by both parties.

They say you should never talk about politics or religion at the dinner table. Many who believe that forget that some people view Facebook as their dinner table---a place where they can unwind and talk about the things that make them happy.

And here you come with your incessant links and comments that make your Facebook friends feel like they're watching a neverending campaign ad.

When you're passionate about something, it's addicting for you to never stop talking about it. This type of obsession is something we all struggle with, and it varies from people who post too many baby photos to folks who never stop talking about their relationships.

Is the unfriending personal? I believe so, no matter what the person claims. It may not mean that you don't like the person anymore, but you are clearly eliminating a privilege they once enjoyed due to something they personally did. You may not want them to resent you, but that comes with the territory of passive aggression, which unfriending ultimately is.

And sometimes, it's absolutely necessary.

In college, I once unfriended someone who would not stop badgering me on the site. He constantly messaged me and tried to force a friendship through the medium. He confronted me months later and asked why I unfriended him. I told him the truth, and that was that. I haven't seen or heard from him since.

Though I feel bad about this situation and wish I could have resolved it in a more meaningful way, the truth is that there are consequences to how you use the privilege of social media.

My advice to anyone who feels spurned by unfriending is to acknowledge that these online relationships are meant to cultivate existing friendships, not forcefully sustain delicate ones.

Many of you may be able to attest to the value of using Facebook to keep in touch with friends who are far away. You want to read what they have to say and view what is going on in their life.

But if you're using Facebook as a bulletin board for unloading your personal problems and opinions, expect the same results from how this would play out in the real world: people will leave you.

You may be unsure of whether or not you are bothering friends you intend to keep around online. Simply remember to behave in a way that you would expect from others. Don't commit the same social crimes that annoy you, and you'll be on your way to fully utilizing the benefits of Facebook.

Finally, there is a way to maintain a Facebook friendship without pushing the dramatic "Unfriend" button. Facebook now allows you to "Unfollow" someone's newsfeed without them knowing. This means that you can stay friends with them without having to read everything they say. For some of you, this may be a godsend.

Simply go to the person's profile page and change "Following" to "Follow."

And if you end up having to unfriend the person anyway, I suggest confronting them about it first. Tell them about what you're having a problem with, and if they don't resolve it, you can unfriend them without being mysterious about it. They'll learn from the experience, and you'll have treated the situation fairly and honestly.

By Jon Negroni

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Tech Magazine: Why You Were Unfriended From Facebook
Why You Were Unfriended From Facebook
Tech Magazine
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