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35 Reasons to Unfriend People on Facebook

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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…
  13. 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.
  14. My second ex-wife’s friends. Repeat my explanation of #13. And add an extra word besties in for good measure.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
253 comments
HarryKelvin
HarryKelvin






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Lisa
Lisa

I don't think you understand what the word "besties" means. ... It means BEST friends. You know, like ONE or two people, not EVERYONE.

But anyway, those are all fine reasons, and you have no reason to feel guilty. I'd follow your rules on a spree, but then I'd be down to like, 50 people, which is fine with me, but not even my friend's pet's profiles have that few.

MaghanTremain
MaghanTremain

the main group of people on my friends list is game friends. I admit, I play farmville, so a lot of them are there simply for that. A few though, I've become friends with. One I talk about kids with quite often. What my son was getting into, what cute thing her daughter did, ect. I would say a good 80% of my facebook I don't know in person, and most of that is facebook game related.  

Hyhybt
Hyhybt

Interesting. Coincidentally, the number of reasons on your list is precisely the number of FB friends on my list.

One thing I do hate, though: no notification when you've been unfriended. The only way to know, unless they tell you, is pretty much to notice you haven't seen anything from soandso for a while and check your list to see them missing.

atm
atm

Interesting, but the overuse of the word "besties" irks me...

John23423
John23423

This is kind of interesting. In my opinion what you did... and what many others do is like the opposite of the same coin. You have tolerance and intolerance and then you have understanding.. It should be that anyone should do anything as they please as long as it's not forcing someone else to do something or harass someone intentionally. So someone said they would unfriend you and then you went and did the same as they were and to more people whom you don't really know, out of insecurity. It would make sense that a person who is confidant in himself and knows how to use his/her own mind would simply be fine with them because that person will do as he or she pleases regardless of the circumstances. In my experience: I've lost friends because they though I was someone else, yet I never forced anything on them; I did as I pleased and they didn't like that. So it made me feel bad and then It made me think who are they to do that to me, when they don't know me and rightfully so. Then I learned why would I let another person govern the way I felt. I should do as I please and If we can't co-operate then we simply won't; and we'll go our separate ways. I understand the way you acted because I've done the same for a long time.

modernmom23
modernmom23

I unfriended all my ex-husbands family.  Some were nice, but its an ugly divorce and I don't need divorce gossip getting back to them via FB.  I have had an animal icon for quite a while as my profile pic.  It's a tree frog and represents my personality perfectly.  Plus after cancer and hair loss I'm not very photogenic from the neck up.

But I also hate hearing what my real friends had for breakfast.  Fortunately only one does that, and not very often.

Mary
Mary

Thanks for the smiles. Why did I find this article? Because after someone got on my nerves last night on FB, I looked at my account and discovered that out of close to 150 friends, more than 100 are in some sort of filter so I don't see them much. Facebook has become a drain. More and more I think, "I wouldn't say this to everyone face-to-face, so why online?" and "Ugh, I really didn't want to know that..." And that doesn't include the "friends" who've made Facebook (yes, both mine and theirs) into a bulletin board or even a billboard for quotes and other inanities.

RebeccaOwens
RebeccaOwens

unfortunately the not animal rule would apply to my twin sister. Her profile picture is one her cow favorite cow and her background is of her horse. She switches them up every once in a while but I rairly see her face.

cmt123
cmt123

How about the spouses of people you are friends with, just so they can see if you are talking about them?  I have had a few requests for that, and I just ignore them...They know they're just being nosey!  Good for you!  I don't have the guts to defriend anyone yet...But then again, I don't have 1,000 friends!

EvanKaqasi
EvanKaqasi

The strangest part of this article is that you seem to say that you DO care about what 444 people eat for breakfast every morning

Mark in Irvine
Mark in Irvine

I recently unfriended two people I actually met through other people, but who always seemed to prefer to argue with me about politics (a guy whom I met through my cycling group) and (surprisingly) things I said to her to be friendly (a woman I met through French-speaking friends).  I know have much less pointless aggravation in my life!!

janked
janked

LOL. I think this list might include EVERYONE on my FB friends list, save one or two people.

Roland
Roland

I defriend people who repeat themselves 35 times.

PamBrown
PamBrown

Must resist urge to see if you unfriended me.........

BlackCat
BlackCat

This was interesting, because it's so completely different to the way I view Facebook. I have people from all sorts of sources on my friends list: high school and university, past jobs, social groups, online communities, family (both local and international) and a few friends of friends that I've gotten chatting with on other people's walls. If I decide that I'm not really interested in what they have to say (this has particularly gone for high school folks) I just hide their posts from my wall. That way they're still there as a connection if I ever want / need it for some reason, and the rest of the time we can be happily oblivious to each other in our online life just as we are in our real-world lives. :D

Then again, I'm also aware that I don't post very much to Facebook, so I also have no worries about whether they'll see anything about my life I'd rather they didn't. Anything important about my life usually doesn't end up on Facebook. If you're important enough to know about it, you probably have contact with me outside of Facebook. ;)

Michele Roza Egger
Michele Roza Egger

My grounds for unfriending is more content based: Fantatical Politicking; Religious Spewing; Excessive Swearing; Inappropriate comments made on my photos, statuses or wall; Constant Negativity

Dawn Owens
Dawn Owens

oh and though it was tough because i still care about all of them, i just deleted my ex husbands family.  Still think of them as mine and love them dearly but was a cleansing/closure thing.

Dawn Owens
Dawn Owens

I've been thinking about this too as i was talking to my daughter about being responsible and careful with what and who she shares information with and your list helped me cut mine down.  I'd been telling my daughter she had to cut her list down and my rules for her are that if she has never met them she must delete them, if she has not spoken to them or seen them in person in the past year she must delete them.  These are also now the same rules for accepting friend requests.  Also told her she doesn't have to accept all family requests, only the ones she interacts with regularly, no reason for her to accept a request from my third cousins uncles nephew that neither of us have ever met.  Anyway bottom line, if i have the rules for her i decided i needed to lead by example and follow those basic rules for mine as well. 

Kirsten Livingstone
Kirsten Livingstone

How about people you thought (for one reason or another) that you wanted to connect/reconnect with, and it just did not work out...

DwightMungerIII
DwightMungerIII

I think I am one of the people you unfriended. Honestly, this blog thread surprises me. I have/had a different perception of you, and this one does not fit with that perception. Maybe I will email you about it one of these days. Remember, always BE KIND. :)

Marilyn Weaver Sonnie
Marilyn Weaver Sonnie

I've taken a number of people off my friends list because of their irrational hate speech posts masquerading as political views. Even some that have been besties for a while.

Meg McCormick
Meg McCormick

That was an interesting analysis of your friends group. I may be an outlier here - but I view Facebook as an extension of my overall network. Once I've connected with someone, I figure, even if we don't end up compulsively commenting on each other's comments, there may be a time when I post something (I do a lot of "groupsourcing" here) and that person will be the one to help. So, while I have unfriended in rare instances, I DO hide posts. Even though I'm not quite sure how Facebook knows which posts are "really important". And, with political season upon us, I'll be hiding a lot of ranters... anyway, my $0.02.

Meg McCormick
Meg McCormick

That was an interesting analysis of your friends group. I may be an outlier here - but I view Facebook as an extension of my overall network. Once I've connected with someone, I figure, even if we don't end up compulsively commenting on each other's comments, there may be a time when I post something (I do a lot of "groupsourcing" here) and that person will be the one to help. So, while I have unfriended in rare instances, I DO hide posts. Even though I'm not quite sure how Facebook knows which posts are "really important". And, with political season upon us, I'll be hiding a lot of ranters... anyway, my $0.02.

Katrina Bocchi
Katrina Bocchi

If I followed the beard rule I'd have to unfriend my husband and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like that. He does have a creepy beard at the moment, though. He shaved his chin and left the rest for fun, lol.

Katrina Bocchi
Katrina Bocchi

If I followed the beard rule I'd have to unfriend my husband and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like that. He does have a creepy beard at the moment, though. He shaved his chin and left the rest for fun, lol.

irishmary24
irishmary24

I really dislike it when people use a social network site to air their religious and/or political views. Often the people that must do this are inflamed with passion over some platform plank, or religious diatribe, that would make or break a friendship if we were talking face to face. If it's a periferal person- no problem- Unfriend! What if he's an immediate? An unfriend will give me a peaceful session on FB, until I have to round everyone up for Mom. The only reasonable thing to do is to remove Myself from FB, which would be difficult- I'd miss all those relatives so far away. The reason FB is so good- family.  Why it sucks- family......

Laura Holt
Laura Holt

I purge my list every few months. What drives me crazy are the people who post things you want to know half the time and crap the other half. I find it annoying that now my list is under 200 fb thinks I have a problem and keeps prompting me to add more......

Laura Holt
Laura Holt

I purge my list every few months. What drives me crazy are the people who post things you want to know half the time and crap the other half. I find it annoying that now my list is under 200 fb thinks I have a problem and keeps prompting me to add more......

Sadie Rose
Sadie Rose

Damn, here I was going to friend you, just cuz your funny and make me laugh...but now I can't since I dont know you in "real life" lol.

Sadie Rose
Sadie Rose

Damn, here I was going to friend you, just cuz your funny and make me laugh...but now I can't since I dont know you in "real life" lol.

Jennifer Underwood
Jennifer Underwood

After reading this I reduced my Facebook friends by 1/3. Thanks for the great blog!

Susan Christiano
Susan Christiano

I hardly know how facebook works with all the general posts, I just want to keep getting your posts, and fix you up with all my single friends. Oh but darn, you live in Utah. Don't think that will work out since we are in CT. Good luck with that. My youngest is 7 so I get the obsession with how delightful Noah is.They are so crazy funny at that age.

Susan Christiano
Susan Christiano

I hardly know how facebook works with all the general posts, I just want to keep getting your posts, and fix you up with all my single friends. Oh but darn, you live in Utah. Don't think that will work out since we are in CT. Good luck with that. My youngest is 7 so I get the obsession with how delightful Noah is.They are so crazy funny at that age.

Tara Przybille Bradley
Tara Przybille Bradley

I notice that people have a hard time parting with FB friends. I read things like "Oh, I can't get rid her /him...I might need that some day" and such. Hey, I'm coining a phrase (probably not)...FBOARDERS. (pronounce the f and say "boarders)

Kim McLeod
Kim McLeod

There aree. Slew of positive peeps on fb ...but they ever say anything on their own! Always someone else's quotes and cute pics!

Kim McLeod
Kim McLeod

There aree. Slew of positive peeps on fb ...but they ever say anything on their own! Always someone else's quotes and cute pics!

Jennifer Ziel Johnson
Jennifer Ziel Johnson

I don't friend people I do not want to be friends with. Plain and simple. If I don't know someone personally and WANT them to see what is going on in my life AND I want to know what is going on in their life, I don't friend them. I have 78 face book friends. Some may say that is pitifully few. But I know them all personally and like most of them. There are just a couple that I'm not all that crazy about, but I have them on a restricted list. To me, facebook is not all about how many people you can get on your friends list - it's about reconnecting with those you care about and keeping in touch with those you want to stay in contact with. I've found quite a few "lost" friends from the old days and been THRILLED to have the contacts again. THAT'S what it is all about. Not the numbers.

Andrea Bickel Happel
Andrea Bickel Happel

Cool! I have a dead person, high school folks and kitten posters on my list. It may be time. The only person I deleted spewed anti-me hatred without knowing it.

DeenaMarieTracy
DeenaMarieTracy

@Hyhybt lol, interesting enough if you haven't seen a post from them for an extended period of time, how important were they anyways its like boxes in the attic the stuff inside hasn't been seen or touched in over a year or two maybe you should throw it out.

KimGlass
KimGlass

@Michele Roza Egger Glad to see someone else who unfriends for negativity!  I deleted someone yesterday because I got tired of seeing them constantly using their FB status to passive-aggressively insult people on their friends list.  And all of the others you listed are excellent reasons as well!

Dawn Owens
Dawn Owens

I thought the same thing, but then realized that's why the subscribe button is so great, you can let people subscribe that aren't your fb friends and Dan let us know about that a while back.

Hyhybt
Hyhybt

@DeenaMarieTracy @Hyhybt You seem to be describing a situation where someone is on your list but just never posts, or possibly where they do but you don't read them. I wasn't speaking of that. More like, some people are on almost every day, while others only pop up occasionally, and even the ones who are pretty regular sometimes go a few days without posting, so someone's absence isn't immediately apparent... and then when you realize it's been a while since you heard from them, you find out it's not because they've been off Facebook lately but because they unfriended you for no apparent reason whatsoever. To alter your analogy to make it fit, it would have to be an item in your home you *do* use now and then, but where you wouldn't notice its absence until you went to look for it.