Monday, January 20, 2014

Don't Unfriend Me, Bro

I hate being unfriended in Facebook.

Anita and I were talking about this yesterday because I had noticed that my Facebook friends number had decreased by two. She thinks it’s ridiculous that I would even keep track or devote brain cells to this issue. (She unfriends and unfollows people all the time.) So do the few folks who’ve commented on status updates I’ve posted lamenting being unfriended again. It doesn’t matter, they’ve assured me, and I need to get a frikkin’ life.

But sadly, Facebook is part of my life. For me, social media has taken the place of the face-to-face networking I used to do in the 1980s and 1990s. I don’t talk with many of the people who used to comprise my network. They’ve been replaced by the online relationships that I’ve developed over the last four or five years. This is why it seems especially disconcerting when someone gives me a virtual slap in the face, which is how I feel whenever one of these online rejections occur.

It hurts when someone jettisons me in the Land of Lord Zuckerberg. Take my friend Peter, for example. Our friendship dates back 30 years. We worked together. We hung out together. We traveled together and drank too much together and stood up at each other’s weddings and bought our first houses and had kids at around the same time. We gradually grew apart, of course, as people do when marriages end and folks move and priorities and opinions and schedules and even political views change. But we remained connected via Facebook. We still had a tie. We still meant something to each other. Our three decades of friendship still meant something.

Until he unfriended me recently, that is. I don’t know why. Maybe he didn’t find my thoughts and posts interesting enough. Maybe I posted too much or too little. Maybe I served my purpose, whatever it was.

Or take a guy I know who writes a political blog. We’ve never met in real life but we shared a political orientation and our blogs complemented each other, I thought. We linked to each other’s blogs and shared a few e-mails but we weren’t close. Still, I was bothered when he removed his link to “What’s the Diehl?” a few months ago – when I sent him a message asking why, he responded that he decided to link only to those blogs that he reads – and downright hurt when I noticed yesterday that he unfriended me too.

I told Anita that I don’t mind paying for my mistakes and sleeping in whatever bed I made for myself but I resent being “punished” when I haven’t done anything wrong. “Maybe he just didn’t want to see your posts on his news feed anymore,” she answered, “or maybe he was threatened by you. In any case, why look upon unfriending as punishment? You could just shrug your shoulders and realize it’s meant to be.”

She has a point. I do have more than enough drama in my life already. I know I shouldn’t let other people have so much power. It’s their loss, I can tell myself. Still, I’d be lying if I claimed not to care whether or not people want to be connected to me. If I wanted more divorces, I’d call my attorney.

Told you I can be hypersensitive.

Maybe an unfriender could be required to submit a 50-word explanation to the intended unfriendee of why the unfriending needs to occur prior to implementation. That way the unfriendee would know 1) who’s going to unfriend them, 2) why, and 3) who should be stalked as time and resources allow.

Now who wants to read about how I was unfairly blocked by a guy in Twitter?

Click here to read, “University of Colorado Denver Study Shows Facebook Unfriending Has Real Offline Consequences.”


  1. I see you have your tongue planted firmly in your cheek in this piece. No need to worry, I will never unfriend you. Where else can I get my daily dose of ultra-liberal propaganda?

  2. It doesn't ruin my day, but I Do get a tinge of, "WTF did I do?"