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#MicroblogMondays 54 – When to unfriend?

Social media – particularly Facebook, I find – offers a unique window into the lives, feelings, and opinions of others. While everything one sees is (of course) based on how much each person chooses to share AND how openly accessible they’ve made their posts, I find that in most cases I am able to learn a whole lot more (and more quickly) about someone through their Facebook activity – status updates, “Likes” and shares, groups joined, and so on – than I would if I had to wait for the opportunity to sit down and chat with them in person.

The vast majority of the time I delight in (and am grateful for) this amazing phenomenon. How truly, amazingly wonderful it is to be able to eliminate the barriers of distance and schedules that so often prevent us from knowing others!

But this openness and accessibility can also be an awful thing, on those occasions when the curtains part to give you a glimpse of something questionable – an opinion, a viewpoint, a stand – something you would rather not have seen or known about someone… because now, suddenly, you’re faced with making a decision.

Is it time to unfriend?

When to unfriend?

I will admit that at times I struggle with this aspect of social media. On the one hand, I don’t ever want to find myself in the position of being surrounded only by people who share my particular views. I recognize and respect that we all have different backgrounds, different beliefs, different ways of looking at life – and believe that not only do those differences make life interesting, but also that we can learn from each other.

But on the other hand, life is far too short to give time, attention, and space to hatred, bigotry, and willful ignorance.

Sometimes the answer to the question of whether or when to unfriend is blatantly clear, but more often than not I find the decision complicated by a number of factors: the length of a friendship or family relationship, the implications of unfriending on shared connections, consideration of my own bias, and so on.

So how do YOU do it?

How do you decide when it’s time to unfriend?
Please share!

What is #MicroblogMondays?
#MicroblogMondays 54 linkup here!

MicroblogMonday

NaBloPoMo September 2015

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Shailaja
    Twitter:
    September 7, 2015

    Trust me, if I knew how to unfriend people, I wouldn’t be deactivating every month 🙂
    Shailaja recently posted… Judging the writer by the work #MicroblogMondaysMy Profile

  • Becky September 7, 2015

    I am SO close to shutting down my FB for a while because I don’t have the energy to wade through posts made during another election season. I tried to keep my FB to family and a few very close (“real life”) friends only, but working for an organization filled with people I like made me start accepting friend requests again. For the most part, that’s been good. But not completely. =)
    Becky recently posted… Button SundayMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      September 8, 2015

      Ugh, election season is the worst. We have one coming up very shortly, but thankfully most (if not all) of my Canadian friends have been pretty non-offensive about the whole thing.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Tangled Tuesday No. 58My Profile

  • Gwen September 7, 2015

    It’s a difficult decision. I’ve hidden family members. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean I agree or even like everything they post. But because they’re family I can’t bring myself to unfriend them. I’ve only unfriended two people because I found them toxic. They were the “negative Nellies”. Always having something to complain about & always chiming in with a negative response when someone posted about something happy. I had enough so with a press of a button got them off my feed . Still, it wasn’t a decision I made lightly. One is a close family friend but lives in a different town than me & the other is a colleague of my hisband’s. But life is just too short for constant negativity.

  • Traci York
    Twitter:
    September 7, 2015

    If it’s someone I have a personal relationship with (even if we’ve never met in “real life”) I’ll unfollow them, rather than unfriend. That way, we’re still connected, and I don’t have to cringe whilst scrolling through my newsfeed.
    Traci York recently posted… MM – Happy 10th blogiversary to meMy Profile

  • CAROL CASSARA
    Twitter:
    September 7, 2015

    Hiding is the easiest way, but I have unfriended. Only rarely.

  • Life Breath Present September 7, 2015

    I’ve never actually unfriended someone in social media, but I do see how that could be an issue. Typically if I disagree with someone or something, I mostly just keep quiet. If I thinj/know that something is truly wrong I may speak up, but I won’t argue a difference of opinion for an extended time. And, I Definitely don’t engage in hateful or extremely negative behavior or actions.

    Then again, I stopped using social media on a personal level a few years back and now only use it for blogging purposes. Still things can easily be misconstrued…. 🙂
    Life Breath Present recently posted… Sun, Park Adventures, & FamilyMy Profile

  • Leanne September 7, 2015

    I love facebook and keeping up with everyone’s lives, but on the other hand there are people whose posts upset me by their fabulous lives or their less than savoury language/views. I have rarely un-friended anyone but I have unfollowed several – that way I can change my mind later if I want to (and they are none the wiser) I want my newsfeed to be full of stuff I find interesting – not with stuff that upsets me! ~ great post ~ Leanne
    Leanne recently posted… Monday cutie #19My Profile

  • Mali September 7, 2015

    Most of my friends on FB are friends or family, and so I mostly know what their views are, and they don’t shock me. I’ve unfollowed someone because they just inundated my newsfeed with photos etc. I found a year or so later that they had unfriended me (probably because I never commented), and was irrationally put out! I try to ignore the things I genuinely disagree with or don’t like – depending on the relationship I have with the person.
    Mali recently posted… Still shivering, but hopefulMy Profile

  • Good question! It’s hard to know. I generally don’t unfriend someone because of one post, but look at their overall pattern. Also, our relationship outside of FB plays a part. If they’re a relative or an old friend I want to stay connected to, I might just hide their posts. If it’s someone I’ve otherwise lost touch with (or who only contacts me when they need something), I think “I don’t need this in my life” and click unfriend.
    Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) recently posted… Moving inMy Profile

  • payal agarwal
    Twitter:
    September 7, 2015

    I find it difficult to unfriend people. Loved your post..

  • nabanita
    Twitter:
    September 8, 2015

    Oh I am faced with this question often Laurel…At times, I directly unfriend them without thinking twice..But at times these are relatives or close friends and hence one can’t directly unfriend…But I do unfollow them which saves me the torture of their willful ignorance
    nabanita recently posted… Tell Them Off…#MondayMusingsMy Profile

  • Mahathi Ramya
    Twitter:
    September 8, 2015

    I directly unfriend them without a second thought if I feel, they shouldn’t get my updates. For few friends, I change the settings to get only important updates from them. A few are close relatives or close friends and it’s difficult to unfriend them, so I change settings to get only important updates and ignore them.
    Mahathi Ramya recently posted… What’s my blog all about?My Profile

  • Rajlakshmi September 8, 2015

    I like to keep negative thinkers away…thankfully it has never come to unfriending someone because of their views, but I do a clean up once in while to remove with whom I don’t interact at all.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted… Monday MusingsMy Profile

  • Mel September 8, 2015

    I don’t unfriend. I don’t silence the person, either. But I do scroll past quickly without pausing to read if I start to associate the person with a certain type of post which frustrates rather than engages.

  • ADVICE FROM A COP September 9, 2015

    I enjoy reading opposing viewpoints, even if they are offensive. It helps me understand how the other side thinks. If I can understand, then I can maybe present my perspective in a non-confrontational way and perhaps encourage someone to re-think some of their more offensive opinions. That being said, I have defriended a couple of people because they were too enlightened to ever consider another perspective and it was killing me. =)

  • anks
    Twitter:
    September 12, 2015

    I have never really unfriended anyone on facebook, perhaps because I have always been selective about adding the people I know and Like! But I have unfollowed dozens on twitter…
    anks recently posted… Black and White OutfitMy Profile

  • Ajay Pai
    Twitter:
    September 13, 2015

    HI Laurel – It is indeed difficult. However, I did unfriend few, as I wasn’t able to connect with them and their ideology (which was very negative).
    Ajay Pai recently posted… The Three DimesMy Profile

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