The Art of: Unfriending on Facebook
Mademoiselle Mumu on why, when, and how to unfriend.
March 14, 2017
With the recent (and incredibly smart, albeit a tad bit nosy) “People You May Know” section on Facebook, we are living in an age in which technology allows us to develop social connections much more effortlessly than in any period of history. It also makes keeping in contact with all our friends and acquaintances, old and new alike, a task so easy it’s but a click away.
The idea of being surrounded by and updated on your friends’ lives makes everything seem so positive and lively until you realize that there are close friends who you feel comfortable sharing your posts with, and then there are the more distant friends, the people you barely know, and then (ironically the scariest of them all) your family.
Sometimes you wake up only to see boring people who, for example, post their baby’s photos every other hour, narcissistic people and their selfies, foodies sharing every dish they eat, and the list goes on and on and on like the soundtrack to Titanic. But the most problematic part is, of course, your own privacy. Not everyone should know your every action in your day-to-day life.
Facebook, as sensible as it can be, came up with customization for you to group people on your friendlist a long while ago; while quite tiresome, it can be worthwhile (in my own humble opinion) to go through the whole friend list to categorize them. Facebook even goes so far as to allow us to hide or even unfollow those people whose posts bore you to death.
These groups and filters should help prevent the ultimate action of unfriending. It could lead to awkward situations, but it’s still easier than having to deal with unfriending people smoothly and tactfully—even in the time before Social Media, no etiquette existed for unfriending people in real life. It’s all just so awkward.
A couple of Facebook-popular people, who have thousands on their friendlists, all suggest the same solution: make it legitimate.
They claim to have an Annual Friendlist Clearing, announcing that they need to delete some people who they rarely interact with them while leaving them a way out by saying that they will accept re-friend requests if they delete anyone by accident. This is left up for a couple of days, during which time those who passively follow your posts without interacting can make their case for further friendship, and you have a chance to determine whether to keep them or let them go with the rest of the pack.
Then the purge begins. Believe me, it is such good fun.
Image: Instagram @mademoisellemumu
Mademoiselle Mumu is a guru on social media etiquette. Her family runs the famous cake shop Wanlamun in Chiang Mai and she is behind the success of Let Them Eat Cake at Siam Center, Bangkok.