The "unfriend" ability on Facebook is one of the most dreaded functions on the site. When I am unfriended (or when I unfriend someone), it means this: I never want to see or talk to you again. I dislike you epically. Be gone from my feed (and my life). I don't know about you, but that always felt a little harsh for my sensibilities.
When I first started on Facebook back in 2005, I barely used it. I had like four friends and didn't even know what it could be like to be into it. My sister was a college student at the time and she was obsessed, but it wasn't until about 2007 that I realized the joy of Facebook. As a mom, it has been the greatest way to keep in touch with friends, but it has also been an awful place at times, too.
There have been misunderstandings, maddening political debates, and even, in one case, the egregious defending of a pedophile that was so repugnant, I was actually afraid to unfriend that person for a few days.
It has taken me years, but things have changed. Now, I love "unfriend" and I will unfriend people for a much simpler reason: I don't like them.
Most of us are people pleasers, plain and simple. I will do anything to avoid openly telling a person I don't like them. Yes, I have cheated on boyfriends (um, all of them) and passively wrote nasty, pointed things that were thinly disguised indictments of people all to avoid just being open and saying the truth: I. Don't. Like. You.
I couldn't like a person for a number of reasons. They are negative or mean. Their thoughts aren't nuanced or well thought out. They talk more than listen. They project a life on Facebook that is a complete and total fallacy from what is real and true. They are painfully insecure or overly sensitive, passive aggressive, or insane (see: defending pedophilia).
Or we just don't jive.
Whatever the reason. I don't like them. And they probably don't like me. So why are we friends?
In the past couple months, it has been so freeing to just hit delete. I no longer have to be a passive bitch who says purposely pointed things. I just hit delete and it's over. I don't like that person. Whew. What a change.
My husband always suggests I take a more passive approach and just hide people. But often, it isn't their Facebook persona I don't like. It's them.
I am not running for homecoming queen. I don't need everyone to be my best friend or even like me. My close friends who know me well love me for who I am. The rest don't matter. This whole online social networking thing is new territory and we must all navigate it in our own way. But I am doing so with the unfriend button close to my hand. I have no use for people who are not my "friends."
Being able to tell someone I don't like them openly and honestly? It's a massive relief.
Do you use unfriend?
Image via Steven-L-Johnson/Flickr