On Saturday I got a horribly long email from someone on Facebook in which he let me know under no uncertain terms that he was disappointed in all of my life decisions and that if I couldn’t change the way I do things, he would be unfriending me on Facebook.
I started laughing. Out loud.
And after I wiped the tears out of my eyes, I wrote back, “I’ll make this easy for you.” I then went to his Facebook page and unfriended him.
And that got me to wondering… who are all these 744 friends that I have on Facebook?
I started scrolling through my home feed, and I realized… I don’t really know a lot of these people enough to actually care what they ate for breakfast this morning.
And then I got all belligerent and went on a massive unfriending spree. By the time I was done, I had cleaned out about 300 people. And then I looked at my work. And I thought, this is good. And then I looked at my home feed. And there were only updates from people I do want (desperately) to know what they ate for breakfast this morning.
So who were the 300 people that I was friends with but didn’t actually know? I of course had my blogger hat on and I made myself an awesome list as I went from page to page, mercilessly clicking that powerful “unfriend” button.
These were the 35 (often recurring) types of friends I unfriended.
- People I always wished I was friends with in High School. I’ll admit it. When I first got on Facebook, I scrolled through my graduating class and added my real friends, but also all the cool kids (a group I was just a daydreamed part of). Amazingly, a huge percentage of them accepted my friend request and we’ve been FB besties ever since.
- Neighbors I saw across the room at church once. I had a lot of neighbors (in Mormontowne, we call them ward members) as Facebook friends. Most of these people I had never talked to more than to raise my hand at church and answer Sunday school lessons. And of course, if we were neighbors we were also besties.
- My 14 year old cousins. Now, maybe I’m a jerk older cousin to remove them (at least five of them). But I didn’t really know why I was Facebook friends with all my little teenager cousins. I love ‘em. We are besties. But I really don’t care about their drama class drama or their math class miscalculations.
- Past friends’ siblings. There are people I used to hang out with all the time. And of course, good friends often had siblings that I would get to know. And after we became besties, I’d add them on FB. But, friendships move on as they often do, and I realize that years down the road, I don’t really care what an old friend’s little brother’s favorite post-apocolyptic movie is.
- Ex fitness-group pals. This was admittedly the hardest group to unfriend, because we really were besties for a long time. I’ve been in a couple Biggest Loser groups on Facebook and I had lots of friends from those groups. But in the end, I was on an unfriending spree and I had made a firm decision that any Facebook friend had to also be someone I knew in real life.
- People I kind of met at a party once. When you’re a little drunk, everyone is your bestie. And I had a lot of people on my friends list that I met once, pinkie promised that we’d be friends forever, and then never saw again.
- Girls I thought were hot. This kind of goes with number one, but there was a definite group of girls who I added on Facebook over the years for no other reason than that they were hot. And I’m man enough to admit it, even if it means we won’t be besties anymore.
- Judgmental family members. Yes, I deleted a few actual extended family members for no other reason than that I often worry about what I post because I know they will think non-bestie thoughts about me when I share things like underwear charity events.
- People I used to know and now I don’t no mo’. There were several people I actually knew once upon a time. You might even say we were besties. But time has faded those relationships so much that I had to think really hard, “who are these people?” And is it okay that I just don’t care anymore?
- My ex wife’s little brother’s friends. Noah’s mom and I lived with her family for a little while, and her little brother always used to bring his friends over to the house. We (of course) became besties, and later on we became Facebook friends. But now, all these years later, I just don’t know that I need to know why they love or hate Chick-fil-A.
- Girls I became FB friends with just so I could digitally stalk them before saying yes to a date. When you meet girls on dating websites (like I often do), sometimes the pictures and profiles leave you wondering just how real they are. And when I’m worried about it, I like to become Facebook friends so that I can digitally stalk the hell out of them as I make my informed decision about bestie potential. Problem is, I’ve always been too chicken to unfriend them, whether we ever went on a date or not.
- Neighbors I once cared about. Unlike #2, there were some neighbors I once actually knew. We were “sidewalk besties” and would talk to each other, attend neighborhood barbecues, shoot the breeze while out walking our dogs, whatever. But now when I see them on my friends list, I almost prefer them to stay memories of good sidewalk buddies. As much as I’d like to hear about their current adventures on the PTA…
- My ex-wife’s friends. When I was married to Noah’s mom, she would get together with old high school friends sometimes. And they were pretty cool. And pretty soon we all were besties. And pretty soon we all were Facebook friends. But now I can admit without fear of sleeping on the couch that some of them were too cool for me.
- My second ex-wife’s friends. Repeat my explanation of #13. And add an extra word besties in for good measure.
- Friends of ex-girlfriends. When you’re dating someone that you think is AWESOME, you’re not going to have a chance if you don’t make her besties your besties too. After all, besties will make or break any relationship. What I wasn’t sure of is why I was still friends with the besties of some of the girls who now walk by the town square every day, hoping to see my head show up on a spear.
- People I added because I thought they were someone else. When details of past friendships get hazy, sometimes you see a person pop up on the “someone you might know” section of Facebook and think, “OH YAY! MY OLD BESTIE!” Then they accept your friend request. And you realize, this is not the person I thought it was. Yes, I had several of these on my friends list, all of whom I never unfriended because I couldn’t admit that I was that out of touch with reality.