12 Steps to Spring-Clean Your Facebook Friend List

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facebook friend requestAs far as Facebook horror stories go, I thought I had heard it all. That is, until, I read about a military wife who found out about her husband's death via Facebook. Then, I realized -- the scope of trouble with Facebook is almost beyond repair. Short of completely cancelling your account, what are you supposed to do to avoid the drama and insanity? Well, you can always gut edit your Facebook friend list!

A couple of real-life friends and I were discussing this the other day, and one of them said she actually has certain criteria by which she denies a friend request or defriends someone. Very wise! Here, 12 types to spring-clean off of your unwieldy Facebook friend list (or avoid friending altogether), so your account is toxic "friend"-free! 

  1. The long-time-no-see. If you haven't seen the person in person for YEARS (you set the cutoff), you might want to think twice about friending them or keeping them as a friend.
  2. The stranger-in-person. Someone who is always "liking" your statuses or interacting with you online, but the minute they run into you in real life, they act like a stranger.
  3. The one-night stand. Could be someone you really only slept with once and ended up friending or that person you met at that work event or wedding who you haven't spoken to (and don't care to speak to) since.
  4. The bully. Everyone has at least a handful of these people from grade school who were never even your friend decades ago. So why are they your pseudo-"friend" now?
  5. The then/now psycho. If they used to be a basketcase or have recently become a basketcase (you know, moody status updates galore), it's probably best to axe 'em.
  6. The staunchly political type. You probably have never seen eye-to-eye with this person, but you thought you might be able to at least have a civil relationship via social media. ENNNHHH! Wrong! They're ultimately going to pollute your News Feed. Skip!
  7. The toxic ex. If they're more (condescending, troublemaking, irritating) ex than friend, DELETE.
  8. Someone you used to know. Like Gotye's song, but less emotional. If you can't remember how you know someone, they don't belong on your Facebook friend list.
  9. The referral. Someone a mutual friend introduced you to way back whenever who you never interact with and who contributes nothing of value to your News Feed. Gone!
  10. The old co-worker. Face it -- ever since you stopped running into one another in the office lounge, you have nothing to say. If they need to contact you for networking purposes, they can do so via LinkedIn.
  11. Your old boss. Same as #10. 
  12. Your current boss. This is playing with fire. AVOID.

More from The Stir: 10 Ridiculously Funny Facebook Fails

What are some other Facebook friend types you've defriended or refused to friend in the first place?


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Gayle Wolfe-Martinez

How about the "Most Popular kid in High School" who never spoke to you once the 4 yrs you were their-but now they are fat , have 15 grandkids,  a crappy life & find you via yearbooks-and decide they want to be your friend-I don't think So!! ; )

nonmember avatar Katie

I just deleted about 15 people from the #10 category last night. I went to the "See Friendship" drop-down menu, realized we hadn't interacted in forever anyway.

Amanda Jones

how about them noisy family member who comments on everything and tries to friend all ur friends

Kayla Markley

Best Friends boyfriend/girlfriend..... guys/girls who only add you because of your looks.

kebrowni kebrowni

I just deleted 170 people from my friend's list and a lot of them were one of those 12 types, but a lot were the type that Gayle mentioned-- the popular ones from high school that NEVER talked to you during those 4 years and have since become unattractive and still act the exact same way.

nonmember avatar memememememe

I have to say no on #1. I have a handful of friends that live in various parts of the country/world. Just because we rarely, if ever, see each other in person these days doesn't mean they aren't still worth keeping in touch with. I have deleted plenty of toxic family members though with no regrets.

Susan Brusco

I read the instructions and it said to go to the persons timeline and hover over the photo and click on unfriend, but when I go to the timeline there is no unfriend to click on, HELP

desmom desmom

Don't agree with all. Old high school friends I've not seen or lost touch with have usually been great and fun to "talk" to again, as are relatives I loved in childhood but later life got in the way. There are people I only know online but have known for years. We belonged to certain forums over the years, have shared addresses, gifts, some I've met who know the others personally, sharing pics of their meetups. If info doesn't match up or something seems awry they aren't a friend.

And I'm shy in person but i find it easy to "chat" online. My friends and I get together in person, which I enjoy, but it's a lift to check in every day when a phone call is impossible, especially with kids.

You forgot: the one who only posts links, videos, articles, etc., but never talks. The one that's is always negative. The one that drops the F bomb constantly or posts, without warning) pics that I wouldn't want my kids to see.

youth... youthfulsoul

If I talk to you on FB and you can't reply, I delete you. Another good criteria. I've also put most of the high school " friend's" on the "aquaintance" list so I don't offend by deleting but they can't really see much of my page/updates.

Jen Hall Wiehl

I don't "Spring Clean." I have a wide range of Facebook friends from the must ultra-conservative to the leftist of liberal. I love 'em all. Do I get people who may post things I don't agree with or don't find appropriate? All the time! Have I learned to edit my newsfeed a bit so I don't necessarily see everything? You bet. I have friends from elementary school I haven't seen in over 30 years, yet through the "power" of Facebook have helped a few out (even babysitting a car while the friend and hubby went on a vacation).

If you want to keep your "friends" list tidy and neat, then by all means do your Spring Cleaning. But if you know how to filter posts as well as keeping your hearts and minds open to everyone, then just keep friending and accepting friend requests.

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