In Defense of the Facebook De-Friend

I have been de-friended by maybe a handful or two of Facebook friends over the years. I’d  imagine this is due mostly to some people’s spring cleaning ritual of dumping friends they don’t know and/or people that are sick of my constant blog promotion (look, I have never made an invitation for people to give me their phone numbers because I don’t have the presence of mind to backup my SIM card. It’s just a few blog links, you don’t have to click on them).

Only once was I defriended because of someone actually being mad at me- over a disagreement regarding cat sitting, no less. I don’t need cat sitting in my life. Good riddance.

To some, I think the de-friend is a huge F-U when used in the symbolic context of eliminating someone from your life with such finality. “Not only do I not want to hang out with you in real life, I’m going to cut you off from being able to check up on my relationship status. You will never know if I liked The Mindy Project enough to “like” it. That is how much I hate you!”

But the crowning, the Ultimate-Grand Supreme, the Honey Boo Boo of all “SUCK  ITS” is being on the receiving end of a Facebook block. I have received that privilege, again, just once, and like 9/11 and the assassination of JFK, I remember just where I was when I found out (for the last two: 7th grade math class and a glimmer in my father’s eye, respectively).

It was this past May (of 2012 for the aliens who have taken over Earth and are reading this 600 years from now), and I had met three of my college gal pals at a bar before a Red Sox game. After discussing which Sex and the City character we each were (as I mature I begin to realize that maybe I am, in fact a Miranda, but I believe my core spirit is truly a Carrie. Though, I do hope that I would be the kind of person who would have accepted Aidan’s love or at the very least, not taken Big back after he left me at the altar) we got to talking about boys.

Now, we were updating one another on former/current flames, and I mentioned that said  former flame had deleted his Facebook. Glances were exchanged, and then my friend Kelley did the deed of explaining, that I had actually, in fact, been blocked.

OH, I’M SORRY WHHHAAAAAT????

The block is so insulting because it feels maybe a little like a restraining order, which are only handed out to stalkers. When it comes to Internet stalking, I am like the lost Olsen triplet, because I can solve any crime by dinner time, as in, I’m a straight up sleuth… but I am no stalker. I imagine I was blocked because I might have blogged about him and maybe made some disparaging comments, but you could hardly call it defamation of character– I didn’t use his name. And even more importantly, I had already defriended him at this point. Sir, you cannot block me after you have been defriended. That’s like saying, “you can’t fire me!! I quit!” This is not the pilot episode of The Nanny!

It was annoying at first, but I have come to believe that a block is a real blessing in disguise. Even a de-friend is a great course of action when it comes to a break-up of lovahs or friends. In the age of Facebook, I have come to know WAY too much about you people.  With ex-friends, no matter how much I dislike them, a little part of me feels left out when I see pictures of them out and about having an especially good time because I always remember the part of them that made me want to be friends in the first place. And I don’t need to know what that old flame is up to. Even though I know I’d never date any of those “hims” again, I still like to take a peek from time-to-time, and there’s no reason to. There’s nothing that roots you in the past more than checking up on what you are or are not missing.

I just think Facebook and Twitter tethers you to the past a little too much than what is healthy. Isn’t it much better to just let someone go and move forward? I was talking with my dad, who isn’t on Facebook, and an ex of his (before my beautiful and saintly mother) came up and in regards to her he said, “who knows what she’s up to, she could be dead by now.”

What a lovely idea. To just not know. They could be dead! Is that just me? It just seems so much more pleasant to put people in the past where they belong. Not checking up to see who they committed to instead of us, or to see if they got fat (which is still satisfying, but probably not right). I’m just saying that maybe it would be healthier if we could be a little more generous in our Facebook de-friends no matter how insulting it is. It’s for the best.

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6 thoughts on “In Defense of the Facebook De-Friend

  1. I love having what I call a ‘facebook cull’ once a year! Anyone I haven’t actually spoken to on facebook or in real life since adding them is gone!
    I also blocked my ex boyfriend….and every girl he ever flaunted. It made getting over it so much easier cos I physically couldn’t check to see what he was doing when he was blocked! Eventually I stopped even thinking about checking 🙂

  2. It’s amazing how little an amount of your facebook friends you actually talk to. I usually just delete the ones that add me and then don’t bother speaking. Unless they’re hot and their photo’s are pleasing to my eyes then they can stay.

    It’s funny at how offended people can get of being de-friended, I had these girls on my list that I’ve known for the better part of a decade and they kept having “status update wars” to see how many status updates they could do, fed up with my newsfeed being swamped with their crap I asked them to stop, to which they just laughed at me. So I removed them from my friends list, haven’t spoken to them since. Man some girls are stupid.

  3. Great points! I think your most compelling argument is the bliss that comes from not knowing how someone is actually doing, leaving you imagination to fill in the blanks (overweight, jobless, divorced, dead — possibly all of the above), which is something you can’t do without taking action and “De-Friending” someone.

  4. Agree. Facebook does keep you too tethered to the past, I have trouble with it in this regard. I don’t interact with people and they should all defriend and/or block me. Now, if I have reason to “investigate” anything or anyone, like you, I’ll get the goods by dinner but right now I have no reason to do this. Since I don’t interact with most of my Facebook friends it feels icky to look. So, I don’t. I think defriending is a good thing, though I rarely do it. I’ll ignore friend requests though, for years. Facebook also keeps you tethered to parallel lives — “what is she/he doing now?” “They are doing XYZ while I’m doing ABC.” Unhealthy. It’s better not to know, even better not to care.

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