How to handle being “unfriended” on Facebook

It will happen when you least expect it.  It will happen for reasons that may confuse you.

And in this world of instant online gratification, you immediately think to yourself … “What the hell is going on?”

Trust me, I’ve had it happen to me.  Many times.  More times than I care to admit or understand.

But I’m sure it will happen to you.

And you won’t even realize it at first.

I woke up this morning, and as I am wont to do in the mornings, I checked my Facebook page.  Figured I’d see what my friends were up to.  Some of my friends have upcoming birthdays that I shall celebrate, others are involved in trips or family projects or whatnot.

You know, the casual Facebook feed that we’ve all grown accustomed to.

And then it dawned on me.  I haven’t seen any news from a certain friend of mine.  Maybe he hasn’t posted in a while and I didn’t notice it or realize it until today.

Let’s check his page and see what’s going on …

Oh.  There’s his profile picture, with the button that says “Add Friend.”

So … I don’t remember unfriending him…

Which means … yep … he unfriended me.

Of course, you now want to go back to your normal routine of the day … but in the back of your mind, you’re thinking about this.  I know you are.  I was.

“What did I do / say / not do / not say to cause someone I’ve known as a friend – both on FB and in real life – to sever that connection between us?”

You go back through your history with this person.  What was it?  Did it involve some sort of political message meme that you posted?  Did you post your 500th derogatory term about Eli Manning and you know he’s a Giants fan?

And you want to call them, e-mail them, show up at their house and say, “Dude, what the hell?  I thought we were friends forever, and now you’ve dropped me from your FB friends list like I have leprosy or something?  Not cool, man, not cool…”

Let’s start with the obvious.  DO NOT DO ANYTHING IN THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE AS A RESULT OF BEING DROPPED AS A FB FRIEND.

I will repeat that if you didn’t catch it the first time.

Understand that we all go through periods in time where our personal lives change.  Our worlds travel in different arcs, we meet new friends and new adventures and new concepts.  We are on a journey of discovery and excitement and magic.

Yet sometimes, in our travels, our connections with our friends change.  Sometimes we cull our Facebook friends file; you’ve seen the posts about “I’ve got to clear out all these FB friends, so if you are still reading this post, guess what you survived the first cut.”

Nice.  I’ll have to see if I survive the rest of training camp. 😀

Sometimes our friends are also going through a traumatic experience of their own.  Their worlds are changing in ways we cannot even fathom or comprehend.  And they need time away from that trauma, from that trouble, from that conflict, from that despair.  So they close down their FB account, or they make it totally private.  In those cases, they are managing their situation in their own best possible way.  Give them time to heal.  Let them reach out to you when and if their life situation improves.

Trust me on this.  You don’t NEED to give a reason to unfriend anybody on Facebook.  You don’t owe anyone an explanation.  And even if you did get an explanation of the situation, you might not understand or comprehend why this is even an issue.  It may not be an issue to you, but it is an issue to them.

And even if someone unfriends you on Facebook, you have to understand something very important.  Facebook is an online construct.  People were friends before Facebook was invented.  And there are people in this world who will do things with their friends WITHOUT having Facebook as a chaperone.

Besides … what if you did know WHY someone unfriended you on Facebook?  “Oh, I got so sick of your posts every day about the election, I don’t need to see those in my feed every day.”  Well, were you for or against the election results?  Is it that important to you?  Were you hoping your ex-FB friend would swing around to your concept of politics and disavow their own?

Of course, there’s another way to deal with being unfriended on Facebook.

And it’s the best way possible to deal with that issue.

Simply make a new friend on Facebook.  Someone else.  Maybe someone at work.  Or someone from your weekend gatherings.  Or that struggling artist who wants you to come see their gig on Saturday.

In fact, that’s exactly what I did today.

Someone unfriends me on Facebook…

I just consider that an open slot for a new friend.  Hello, person who friend-requested me… nice to meet you.

And to the person who unfriended me, a simple message.  I’m glad we were friends – both in the real world and in the FB universe.  Whatever reasons you had for unfriending me, I hope it wasn’t for anything that you found offensive or hurtful of me.  If there was, then I apologize for whatever actions caused this decision.  But I still wish you all the best.

And if someday our paths cross again, I hope it is in good moments and good cheer.

Because friendships can travel through different paths – sometimes they intersect, sometimes they diverge.

And sometimes they travel on, and we never know where the roads may take us.

And you don’t need Facebook to confirm or deny this.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “How to handle being “unfriended” on Facebook”

  1. I never understood the Facebook trend of collecting friends just for the sake of increasing your friend numbers. If you’re a public figure, I can understand the high numbers. But for average Joes and Josephines, my question is this: How many of these “friends” would even give you the time of day if it wasn’t for Facebook?

    Like

  2. Nice piece, Chuck. I fall in to the category of having so many friends I don’t know many of them. I collected a bunch during my book tour four years ago (now 780) and have been too lazy to winnow the chaff from the wheat. So when someone unfriends me, as I suppose they do, I hardly notice. I do have a core group of friends I actually follow when I get around to it, or when something they post pops out at me. Wish I were more organized.

    Like

  3. It would be great if we could mute all the GoT memes, political crap, “type AMEN and share” posts, etc. and just see people’s original content on FB. That would help keep the connections going. When I unfriend (and I do!) it’s usually people who have not commented, liked or otherwise shown that they’re following what I’m doing over a period of a year or more. Saying “Happy Birthday” may remove you from the penalty box, but I’d prefer something more. Harsh, possibly, but I don’t treat FB any differently than real life: if there’s no connection, why are you in my contacts list?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s