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Unfriending: To purge or not to purge? Ten viewpoints

on December 10, 2010

Last week I asked my readers to offer up their viewpoints on unfriending. I asked if they ever regretted a past unfriending, and while no one really did, I got lots of great opinions on unfriending. Here they are:

1. Let’s Stay Friends

I’ve only unfriended a couple of people, who I barely knew to begin with. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people, even the ones from a faraway past or brief encounters. I like to stay connected with people who’ve crossed my path in one way or another. I don’t friend people who I’ve never met – that’s my basic rule for Facebook. I’ve hidden a few folks that update their page a lot and I’m not particularly close to – staying connected doen’t mean I want to see you every day. :-)

Thanks to Christel Van Der Boom

2. It’s Hard To Go Back

When you’ve unfriended someone, it’s hard to return to the same level of closeness/intimacy as before the unfriending.


Thanks to Irene S Levine, PhD of The Friendship Blog

3. Flushing A Friend

After the inevitable wave of former high school classmate Facebook friendings, I noticed someone I sorta knew from those days made a status update from the toilet. That’s not a use of social media I’m willing to tolerate, so I gave him the heave-ho (call it a defriendestration).

But months later, he must have somehow noticed I was missing from his queue of friends. So he attempted to refriend me. Now I feel a bit petty for flushing him so quickly. But I’m not necessarily excited about inviting his potty-mouth back into my news feed. And so he languishes.

Thanks to Aaron Lazenby of

4. Nope!

I do not regret unfriending people. My spell check doesn’t even like me to use the word ‘unfriending’. The reason I do it is because I am a professional magician and I am the brand. So, I am careful to keep everything I post and everything that is posted on my facebook ‘positive’. When someone writes something (even out of jest) that could lose me business, I unfriend and block them. I block them to avoid public discussions about why I don’t want ‘negative’ ideas associated with my brand. As I write this, I don’t even like have the ‘n’ word in my previous sentence near my brand because some google search somewhere sometime will group them together…

Thanks to Robert Strong of Professional Magician

5. You’re My Friend! You’re Not My Friend!

I unfriended someone I had a falling out with AFTER we became friends again, years later on FB. It was fine for a while, she accepted my friend request and I thought that meant all was forgotten in our tumultuous past. I guess I was wrong. I couldn’t help but notice that she NEVER, EVER commented on any of my posts. EVER. It started to drive me crazy because she was quite an active commenter. So I unfriended her. I don’t know if she even noticed. But every once in a while I wish I could connect with her but it would be too weird to “friend’ her again. I just have to let it go.

Thanks to Hank Flarm

6. Sometimes Unsubscribing Means That You Are Oversubscribed

I don’t keep track of unfriending on social media sites, but when people unsubscribe to my newsletter and I know them, I do confront them…I ask them if I can stay in touch with them another way….If they reply, I still have a friend, if they don’t well who needs them right?

Thanks to Barry Moltz of

7. Unfriending Is For Purging

I don’t unfriend unless I want to completely purge the person from my life — and I have never regretted doing so. In fact, I find it helpful when getting over a toxic relationship to have no reminders — or as few as possible — of the person’s existence. For less egregious behavior, I just hide their posts on Facebook, but keep them as “friends” — just people whose activity, or postings, I find boring or annoying, but whom I don’t actively unfriend.

Thanks to Robin Wolaner

8. Very Regretful Unfollow

It was late in 2006 or early 2007 I don’t quite remember now. Early in twitter history there were only hundreds of users and everyone “tweeted” casually with everyone else, it was a new medium then there were no pretensions. There was one guy that seemed to have a lot of people following him, (maybe 300) I thought he would probably be an interesting bloke. so I offered up a follow, and he followed me back, simple conversations hiya! yep I’m a dentist, probably the first dentist on twitter. After a few months I noticed this “EV” guy was using a ton of profanity, it doesn’t really bother me but it impacted the conversation and I didn’t quite know that an unfollow would hurt someone’s feelings so I just clicked the button. Not realizing I had unfollowed the co founder of twitter. EV if your’re reading this, sorry dude, have pity on the early twitter crew, those of us that remember 152 characters and give us the follow we deserve.


Canine (first dentist on twitter)

Thanks to Gregory Birch of OpenYet

9. Unfriending

I unfriend from time to time.. and have only this to say on the matter:

Thanks to Barak Kassar of Rassak Experience And

10. With Friends Like These…

I only regretted unfriending this person after they realized that I had unfriended them. I re-friended them, out of guilt, and quickly regretted re-friending, as soon as they asked me for money. Re-unfriended the unfriendly opportunist.

Thanks to Jennifer Mizban

Stock photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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