The Etiquette of Unfriending

Smarter men than I go to bed well before midnight instead of well after which might explain why they don’t ponder silly subjects such as whether there should be an etiquette to unfriending.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with the kind of silly thoughts that flit through my head round midnight and later.

Facebook Friends

I’d blame the gallon of coffee I drank around 7 PM for being up at this hour but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate as you rarely find me in bed before 1, especially if I know I can grab a solid six hours of shut eye.

Anyhoo, I was tooling around Facebook checking in with the fine folks I had friended and reading about the amazing vacations they have taken, Black Friday conquests and salivating over pictures of meals they pretended to cook for the holiday when I noticed that I had been unfriended.

Yep, some people have removed me from their Facebook friends and now I can’t show them pictures of the fabulous meals I didn’t cook and the amazing vacations I didn’t go on.

And for those who are wondering the answer is yes, sometimes I make up these tales and leave them in my status bar for no reason other than because.

It is kind of fun to find a listing for an exotic cruise and to write about how much fun we had as jockeys in the Great Galapagos Tortoise race of 2012 or talk about how I won a contest and got to spend a night cooking with Bobby Flay.

But the people who have unfriended me don’t get to benefit from these tales and I am left with a million questions.


Unfriended and Unwanted?

Why did they do this? Were they tired of these tales or upset that I didn’t lavish praise upon the pictures of ugly dogs, kids and horrific kitchen remodels.

Were they upset when I made fun of them for voting for Obama/Romney and accused them of plotting to destroy the US of A through some nefarious plot.

Now I can tell there is one man out in cyberspace who is angry with me because I know his wife in the biblical sense of the word but that is not a recent experience. It happened somewhere around 1989 and I can tell him there were a dozen guys after me.

Or maybe I did share that tidbit with him and that is why he is angry.

What Is The Etiquette for Unfriending on Facebook?

I am tempted to write Mr. Zuckerberg and ask him why there isn’t an etiquette for unfriending handbook. Are we supposed to remain silent and just let these people point and click us into oblivion.

It just doesn’t seem right and not because they can’t benefit from my famous recipe for Turducken.

There ought to be a letter that goes out with the unfriending. For that matter there ought to be several choices ranging from the polite “I am sorry” to “your kids are stupid, your wife is ugly and you make me want to get a root canal without the benefit of anesthesia.”

Really, that would go a long way to improving communication and I can assure you better communication is something we can all benefit from. I learned that while watching Mel the chef on Alice or maybe it was Archie Bunker.

It has been so long now who can remember, but it doesn’t really matter.

But Seriously Folks

Ok, I haven’t been real serious here. You could call this a great example of the sort of narishkeit and mishegoss that causes more issues than it solves.

The reality is that there are probably about five people who I would want an explanation from if they unfriended me and that is mainly curiosity. Now aren’t you glad you got to read this and not a serious post about how the holidays are a time to Reflect, respect and recollect.

Sleep calls and I must answer. See you later.

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  1. Sarah Park November 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Jack,

    If the friend who unfriended me in the facebook is close to me or I really know personally, I would really get offended and wonder what the heck have I done wrong for him to unfriend me. But if I don’t know that much, not too personally, I wouldn’t mind being unfriended.

  2. Ralph November 25, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Oh, BTW, in Google Chrome, your floating share bar interferes with the body of your post making it challenging to read. This post was about the migratory path of the eastern European swallow, right?

    Just sayin……

  3. Ralph November 25, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I guess we make friends on Facebook as quickly and easily as we unfriend them. That’s the beauty of an impersonal system that relies on cumbers to define value.

    I just click stuff. Whatever happens, happens.

  4. Yvonne November 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Ha! Great post! I have wondered those same questions myself. Amazing what pops into my head at 2:00 a.m.

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:42 am

      Hi Yvonne,

      2 AM is a great time for thought, all sorts of interesting things come up around then, but I am a night owl so I am predisposed to the late night thought process.

  5. Carolyn November 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I would say the best thing to do is to unfriend someone quietly, without fanfare. If they aren’t a real friend, they may not even notice.

  6. Larks November 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I don’t usually unfriend. I just ‘hide’ status updates if the person irks me. I would like to see some etiquette surrounding ‘viral’ status updates, though. “Leave this as your status update for one hour if you want to raise awareness that cancer is bad. 94% of you won’t but the 6% of people who do are awesome because they share my commitment to the idea that cancer is bad.” How do so many people think posting stuff like that is helpful rather than passive aggressive and irritating?

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:40 am

      Hi Larks,

      I hate the viral status update. It irks me too. I appreciate the sentiment but I don’t see it effecting change and without that it just seems foolish, but hey what do I know.

      Hadn’t thought about hiding status updates, interesting idea.

  7. stephanie November 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Funny post. I routinely unfollow people on Twitter for a variety of reasons. And people unfollow me. Is there an etiquette to that? I never considered that the photos of food on FB might be manufactured. Gullible me. I believe everyone when they say they cooked it themselves. I’ll consider each dish more carefully from now on.

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

      Hi Stephanie,

      I know a few people who are using stock photos to try to fool people. I don’t know why they do it, but it has happened a few times and been obvious.

      Beats me if there really is an “etiquette” to unfollowing and unfriending. I don’t do it very often and when it does happen I rarely feel a need to tell someone I am going. Feels silly to me.

  8. Stacie November 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    It’s funny, I don’t even pay attention to how many FB friends I have and if that number decreases. I guess I don’t care. But, I tend to hide people instead of unfriend them, especially if they are in common with a bunch of friends.

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:34 am

      Hi Stacie,

      Yeah I noticed that you don’t pay much attention which is why I knew I could send a friend request as Joe Montana and be confident you’d accept. 😉

      The list function is a really useful tool. It has helped me not hate FB as much as I once did.

  9. Shannon November 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Two years ago, my two sons – then 18 & 21 – both tried to kill themselves, just 6 weeks apart. My younger son spent 6 weeks in the hospital psych ward. We are still recovering. In the immediate aftermath, I knew I needed as much support as possible, and also that I needed for myself and my sons to have safety in telling – or not telling – our stories. I spent one evening circling the wagons on Facebook, including culling almost half of my friends list so that only people we knew we could trust to love and support us had access. I increased my privacy settings.

    We are all okay. They continue to struggle, and to get better. I continue to ask for love & support when I need it so I can continue to be their main support. And ever since that night, I’ve kept the attitude that being ‘friends’ on Facebook isn’t a right. I don’t owe it to anyone, and no one owes it to me.

    • Betsy Cross November 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      That’s an angle I never considered. Thank you, Shannon.

    • Carolyn November 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Wow, Shannon. Wow. You have every right to do what you need to do to let your family heal. No one should judge you. You have my admiration from afar.


    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:31 am

      Hi Shannon,

      I’ll echo Carolyn with, “Wow.” I can’t imagine what that time was like for you but I would look to do the same. The need for support while maintaining privacy is something I understand.

      I am glad that your boys are improving and wish them a full recovery and peace of mind for you.

  10. Hajra November 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I have unfriended a lot of people recently. And I didn’t tell them why or what or why now?

    This “friend” of mine shared partially nude (and some very objectionable) photos of her baby because she found it “adorable”. And that is why I decided it was time to clean my friend list. Maybe I didn’t follow a proper decorum but I never thought if there was one. Is there a nice way of telling someone that we don’t want to be friends with them anymore?

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Hi Hajra,

      It is never pleasant to “break up” with someone but sometimes it is necessary. I think it depends on the person as to whether there is a need to let someone know why they were unfriended.

      Relationships are funny things. Some people are very careful about keeping their FB friends to people they know IRL. I know some bloggers who dropped all of their blogging friends for that reason.

  11. Greg Stobbe November 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

    While I have unfriended or unsubscribed to posts due to changing interests, I do hope to continue to follow opposite points of view as they give me food for thought, keep me sharp and develop a part of me not otherwise challenged. Good post.

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:22 am

      Hi Greg,

      I am a fan of being exposed to different points of view for all of the reasons you listed. If all we do is spend time inside our bubbles we miss out on a world of opportunity.

  12. Louise Ducote November 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

    How do you even know if you’ve been unfriended by someone? Just by going to their page and seeing that you no longer have access to it? Getting paranoid now! Anyway, I’ve also not gone on a trip or cooked any fabulous meals this Thanksgiving. . .but I’m keeping up with NaBloPoMo, so there!

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:21 am

      Hi Louise,

      Yeah, I went to a page to see how someone was doing and discovered I no longer had access to it. I figure if they are really angry with me they can call or write me. If it is important I’ll hear.

      The silent unfriending is sort of passive-aggressive.

      Keeping up with NaBloPoMo is far more interesting than unfriending.

  13. Julie Barrett November 24, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Re-this, re-that…most of the internet was down around here while everyone was ever so busy shopping, so I read and fought with relatives. It was Re-laxing. Did I ever tell you that one of my relatives by marriage owns most of those places people say they went. I have recently discovered that you can put people on certain lists where they cannot see your political posts – and I am on a few – it does make one re-flect. A new alternative to the obvious unfriending!

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Hi Julie,

      I use lists on FB because it makes life easier. Sorry about the fighting, doesn’t make for a relaxing environment now does it.

      Some people mean well but their posts are just so damn obnoxious it is easier for everyone to mute the conversation.

  14. Stan Faryna November 24, 2012 at 3:27 am

    I was unfriended by 500+ people on Facebook within 24 hours of my post about the 2012 Presidential elections. I added 200 Marvel Avengers Alliance players in the same 24 hours and I remained with over 600+ more add friend requests to which I have not yet had time to give my attention.

    Like you, I haven’t given it much thought. Should I?

    • Carolyn November 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      No. Don’t you dare. 🙂

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:15 am

      Hi Stan,

      The question I would pose is how many of those who unfriended you are people you knew outside of the games you play online. Some of those on my “list” are there because we are “allies” within a game and have no connection without.

      I truly don’t notice them and even among the others it is a question of whether we are tight or not.

  15. JanBierens November 24, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Very often – telling someone you don’t want to be friends anymore – there are sobbing sounds involved, wet salty tears spilled on freshly washed t-shirts… A ‘click’ is so more convenient. Click and you’re gone. Years and years of shared friendships down the drain… 😉

  16. Betsy Cross November 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Okay, so you’re not serious. But if you were I’d say I admire people who never unfriend, block, or unsubscribe from blogs. I’ve been known to do it- all of them. I t feels rotten to have it done even if I know that there may have been a very good reason for it. So, I’m kicking the habit!
    BTW, instead of the traditional holiday rituals I went to Egypt to work with distressed camels. They were grateful.

    • Jack November 25, 2012 at 12:11 am

      Hi Betsy,

      If someone or something is sucking the life out of me I make a point to try not to spend time with them. Life is too short and I just don’t want to get stuck with emotional vampires.

      I am really jealous about your trip to Egypt. I had planned on helping the distressed camels and got stuck with the sick llamas in Venezuela.

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