…I was un-friended the other day

I was “unfriended” the other day…actually twice.  One day my friend count on Facebook was 1001…the next day it was 999!  What to do? Now, I’m fully aware of the superficial nature of the friendship counter on my Facebook profile.  One’s friend number is entirely reflective of your FB friending criteria.  For a long time I held a pretty conservative line on who I would add as a friend on FB…only someone I know very well.  Then it moved to , “do I recognize their face?”  Now, it depends on my mood.  I usually friend anyone I can place somewhere in some iteration of my life.

One thing that Facebook has done is provide some very intriguing perspective on this idea of friendship.  First of all, I can easily begin to place my 999 friends into very specific categories corresponding to different times of my life: growing up on Bayou Lafourche; going away to LSU; seminary in Fort Worth, TX; returning to Louisiana for my first ministry job; moving to Tennessee.  Those can be broken down even more to the individual churches I was a part of, people I met at conferences, friends from other countries met through my travels.  A pleasant surprise has been the “friends of friends” that I’ve never met face to face…we’ve only “talked” on Facebook walls and messages.  I enjoy immensely conversations that spring up among friends of mine who have never met.

It’s interesting how these varied relationships have changed.  There are people who I considered very close friends when we lived near each other and talked regularly who I haven’t really spoken to since we became Facebook friends.  There other relationships that have deepened due to Facebook conversations…conversations that might never have occurred in person.  In several instances, I’m closer now to a few people I’ve never met face to face than I am to people I used to hang out with.

One last observation…I realize that Facebook profiles place some of our personality traits and beliefs out front for people to see…things that either don’t come up in casual conversations or that we don’t necessarily want people to know.  I’m not talking about sinister-loss-of-privacy-TMI kind of stuff.  I now know that a couple of my friends are HUGE Metallica fans…nothing wrong with that at all, just wouldn’t have thought it at first.  I know that I have some artists.  Some political liberals…some political conservatives.  Some theological liberals…some conservative.  Some believe in God.  Some do not.  Gay. Straight. Pro-life. Pro-choice.  yada, yada, yada…  The diversity is simply amazing.  And for me, it’s pretty energizing.

I’m realizing that I value the diversity and the conversations more than I do homogeneity.  Maybe that’s what I truly love about Facebook. We tend to live pretty compartmentalized lives.  The public faces of our offices and churches are pretty mask-like…we don’t want to rock the boat so we hold back important parts of who we are to maintain the social mores.  With Facebook, I’m sitting in a large room with a thousand friends from different parts of my life.  Occasional conversations pop up.  Sometimes I think, “OH #$%, those two are talking politics!!!”   or “I miss seeing those people on a regular basis.” or “That’s really cool!” And countless other things…I love my FB Peeps.

So I was un-friended…not sure why…could be a lot of reasons.  I really don’t mind that much…it’s happened before and will happen again.  Who’s going to be my next 1000th friend?

(If you’re interested, this link is to a good article about online relationships and Facebook: I’m so Digitally Close to You)

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30 thoughts on “…I was un-friended the other day

  1. I’ve been unfriended recently also. A girl I used to know in high school.. we added each other about a year ago, and I recently realized she was no longer on my list of friends… I mean, to be fair, it’s not like we talked much. But I still thought it was kind of crappy of her. Oh well..life goes on!

  2. In an Indian movie, they said something great like this. We are “in touch” with thousands of people through the Internet. But are we “in touch” with our next door neighbor in our real life!

  3. Great post 🙂 I recently watch a documentary by some film students at TCU (Texas Christian University) about what it mean’s to be facebook friends. It came to similar conclusions as yours. Thanks for the insight!

    PS. I’d totally be your 1000th friend, how cool would that be?!

  4. This happened to me recently as well. A girl I was friends with as a teenager (about 15 years ago now) un-friended me. We never really communicated…but she’s pretty good looking and it was nice to see her vacation pics when she posted them, lol…creepy, yes..but isn’t creeping what Facebook is for?

  5. I recently had to unfriend several of my single male friends without warning or permission to contact them and tell them why, because of my very jealous husband who felt that I should not be allowed any single male friends, no matter what stage of my life they came from. And for this I feel very badly.

    I had my best friend from grade school unfriend me without warning or reason and couldn’t figure out why….may have been a mistake because a few days later she re-requested me and I said sure.

    I have also seen several people from different parts of my life become friends due to some intense conversations, and one of my guy friends (conservative Christian) came to my defense when another friend’s brother started attacking me for my beliefs and plans to homeschool my kids.

    These are all things that have allowed me to really see the true character of some people and everything that you talked about in your post. As far as being unfriended (which my brother also did to me btw), just don’t take it too personally. If they unfriended you then they have their reasons and is no reflection on you.

  6. I’ve been pretty conservative on Facebook: but like you, I realized that some people become closer friends in the digital world, while others, at first enthusiastic, drift away and are heard from no more. Still, unless you have a huge conflict of interests, I see no reason to “unfriend” someone.

  7. Facebook shouldn’t have used the term ‘friend’ when it set up the system. It’s more like an extended e-mail contact. Don’t take it personally. And please don’t think that you really have 1,000 ‘friends.’

  8. I have a friend who was un-friended because he left a church he believes to be a cult. If you knew some of the things they preached there, you’d probably believe it too… Just sayin.

  9. There is also a bit of facebook fatigue going on out there. I know of a few people who just took down their whole facebook account. I’ve resorted to creating groups where I can manage which friends see what because I was always a little stressed worrying about offending old friends with conversations from new friends or whenever I get the urge to voice my political opinion.

  10. I only know a small percentage of my Facebook Friends in ‘real life’. What I like about FB is that I can type something like ‘I am having a bad day’ and get a reply, often within minutes, and it is always supportive. Perhaps I have just been blessed with good FB Friends.

  11. It’s plausible that these two people merely deactivated their accounts and disappeared from your friends lists. Have you ever seen your friends count inexplicably rise? I am sure it was due to the same phenomenon.
    Or, like Kimberly said, these people may have extenuating circumstances necessitating their de-friending you.
    Or maybe they just don’t like you anymore. Ce n’est pas grave!

    Nate

  12. A few people stopped following me on Twitter. It caused the same chain of thoughts as the ones you so kindly posted for all to see. I was unfollowed by a pretty important person in the fashion film industry. His name is R.J. Cutler and he directed The September Issue. I had twitterviewed him last August and then I look through the people that have been following me and he is no where to speak of. Another older woman stopped following me too. I think she was a writer of some sort. I came to this conclusion. You can unfollow me on Twitter or stop friending me on Facebook. But you can’t stop my thoughts and opinions.

  13. oh, wow. I don’t think you should take this personally at all. A lot of people add ‘friends’ for Mobsters or other games, or maybe you came up as a suggested friend (friends of friends creates this) and the person who added you realized you don’t play and deleted you. My take: if you don’t know who deleted you, chances are you weren’t interacting with him or her anyway.

    Besides, this could be a way of making room for others. (Even though there doesn’t seem to be a limit.)

    I strongly doubt there’s anything personal behind it, even if it was someone who disagreed with something you posted. It’s their stuff, y’know?

  14. Consider this:
    Facebook gets…
    A) 260 BILLION page views per month which comes out to about
    B) 6 million page views per MINUTE or roughly
    C) 37 TRILLION page views per year.
    and that actually, according to my source, this comes from the fact that there are roughly
    D) 350 MILLION users on Facebook as of today and
    E) It is used by people from EVERY continent on the globe.

    Who do you know? Not even a drop in the bucket (and yet more than I know) As the old saying goes, there are plenty of other fish in the Facebook.

    Source: State of the Internet (YouTube)

  15. Interesting post – people’s different attitudes to facebook and friending intrigue me … Personally, I’ve tended to avoided ‘randomers’ save for a couple of friends of a friend because I added a few people I didn’t know and it always ended up more hassle than it was worth. So save for a few people I could prob count on one hand, I know all of my 160-ish friends personally – quality not quantity! 🙂

  16. I’ve got un-friended recently too here in sheffield.. a girl named beth guilham from the same university ( university of sheffield ). The funny thing was that a few days after noticing it, we both attended the same Bday party. And it was even more interesting that she couldn’t see me at all and I got stunned as i had reached invisible level!!!

    Needless to say that i don’t give a sh*t about it too. But it surely was very inpolite i think. Shame on you beth…

  17. If you really had 1000 friends and you spent 5 mins on the phone to each of them how long would it take to speak to them all.
    About 3.47 days.
    If you had 8 hours sleep a day it would then take you over 5 days.
    If you then take time out to eat and go to the toilet etc you’d be lucky to fit them all in within 7 days. Then you’d have to start ringing them all over again.
    Worst of all no one would ever be able to get through to you, the line would always be engaged.

    My daughters got that sort of number of friends on Facebook, that must be why my daughters line is always engaged when I ring her.

  18. I had been un-friended by my co-worker last year. I read her comments at other co-workers status. I was so puzzled, so I added her again. She accepted me to be her FB friend for couple of hours/days/weeks/month i dont know. What I knew, the last time I checked again, I was un-friended again by her.

  19. I purge friends every time my friend count exceeds 200. Any more than 200 “friends” and I just can’t keep up with the folks I really rely on FB to keep up with. At first it was fun getting lots of contacts, but at some point I started depending on FB to keep track of out-of-town relatives and such. But I loose track of them when my news feed gets clogged up with posts from old high school associates that I hardly even talked to when we were in high school. And seriously, I know I don’t really have even 100 actual friends. So I do unfriend people. I guess it’s true that they are usually folks I really DON’T consider my real friends… but it’s never because I don’t like them or anything. If I had a problem with these folks, I wouldn’t have friended them in the first place. Like others have said, it’s not personal. I’m just making room. I think I’d stop using FB altogether if my friend list got to 1000. It did help a lot when I learned to hide all the applications. Boy were those annoying!

  20. i recently have been unfriended by colleagues. I don’t know what has sparked this. I asked one person, and he deleted everyone he worked with because he didn’t want some of his lifestyle choices becoming public knowledge at work, so i get that. The other still have all my other colleagues in common with me, so they obviously haven’t deleted everyone else. I got really upset about it, but not so upset that i’ll ever ask them. I’m a bit gutless like that.

    I like facebook because it means i can get to know my cousins better than i would have without facebook. Since my parents met later in life, my sister and I are a fair bit younger than our cousins. We are also spread out over the place, so we’ve never been that close. Now we have facebook and we chat regularly, exchange photos, and now their kids are even joining facebook, adn we get to know them. One of my cousins just became a grandfather too, so that’s pretty exciting. Its great to be a part of it through facebook.

  21. The # of facebook friends fluctuate for a variety of reasons, as sometimes people de-activate their accounts, temporarily or forever, and come back randomly as well. And it is true that the criteria for friend acceptance/rejection varies, and even changes with a change in mood, at least for me.
    I know I have changed my criteria from when I first got involved in Jan ’09, and I have been deleted at least 100 times, and have deleted 100 more, by my estimations, but always with a reason, whether a good one or not. I also have 75-80 pending friend requests at any given time, and leave them there mostly so they cannot re-request if I reject them, leaving them in a sort of state of limbo.

  22. I wonder, sometimes, whether some of the emotional sense of being “friended” or “un-friended” doesn’t come from the fact that Facebook uses the term friend in the first place. Would Facebook have become the juggernaut it is if your were making “contacts” instead of “friends”? Emotions and semantics make a powerful combination.

  23. Such a relevant post! I think I’ve gotten to the point that I have hidden notifications for everyone save the same 15-20 people I interact with in real life/outside of FB. I think its a less harsher way of streamlining all that information overload that occurs every time the homepage loads.

    1. It happens to all of us.

      I watch blogger’s following widget more and losing friends or followers is more people just doing housecleaning and cancel their account rather than anything I wrote.

  24. oh man. I’m always unfriending people. I think it’s like the old clothes. “Have I worn this in the last year?” and then you toss it to the “donate” pile.

  25. I can completely relate to your first couple of comments… You start with, oh I know her really well, to umm who cares I don’t want to be mean LOL in friending.

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