Unfriending Proves People Hate You

Ritchie Cunningham, Ralph Malph, Potsie and Fonzie never had to worry whether their Facebooks made them cool or made them nerds and not just because they are television characters.

But because in the days before social media no one could say they unfriended someone on Facebook for being a jerk, dick, asshole or douchebag.

They never had conversations with their children about whether their Instagram profiles should be public or private, who they should block and who they shouldn’t.

Nor did they have an 11.5-year-old say that being unfriended proves that people hate you.

I didn’t tell the aforementioned 11.5-year-old that I noticed today that I had been unfriended by a half dozen people or that it might be more because it would have been…awkward.

Dad Specializes In Awkward Conversations

Awkward comes to mind because I am usually the guy who is very cut and dry about friendships/relationships with people.

If I notice that I have to carry the load for our friendship there is a good chance that at some point I’ll decide you don’t really care about whether we continue to be friends or not and I’ll just let go.

Don’t take that to mean I am a scorekeeper because I am not. I am not going to be able to tell you how many times you called or emailed me or how many times we have hung out because I don’t keep track.

But eventually I’ll notice if the only time we communicate is when I make the effort to make it happen.

If it comes to the place where I notice that I’ll probably stop communicating and unless you reach out I won’t because sometimes people grow apart and I’ll figure that is what happened.

Does that sound mature and adultish as opposed to immature and childish?

I sure hope so. I sure hope you get what I am saying and where I am going with this, but maybe you don’t and won’t.

Maybe there is a disconnect there…

Anyhoo, today I noticed I hadn’t seen anything from a couple of people who are frequent updaters and went to check their pages to make sure everything was cool and discovered I had been unfriended.

They never said anything to me about being pissed off. We didn’t have any arguments. It was a mystery as to why it happened.

And then I went back to my friend’s list and noticed it was smaller than it once had been by around a half dozen people and I wondered what happened.

At first I assumed it was a mistake, a Facebook glitch, so I sent out some friend requests and then it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t.

Maybe It Was Intentional

Maybe they decided they were done with me, dumped me for whatever reason they had with intent and not because of some bug.

Got irritated with myself for overthinking it, decided it was taking up too much real estate in my head. People change. People grow apart.

People do shit without any reason just as easily as they do things with reason. If they don’t want to be connected on Facebook that is their prerogative, no reason for me to wonder why they didn’t want to enjoy Jack Steiner’s traveling circus and monkey show.

If my kids asked me about it, if it happened to them that is what I would tell them.

But I might ask them if they had done anything. I might ask them to just think about it for a moment because it is one thing if one person says you are a jackass and another if a dozen do.

It doesn’t hurt to take a moment to think about it.


Been thinking about Glen Frey and the Eagles and the role they played in my life.

Thinking about a girl who once swore she’d never leave me and all of the places we talked about visiting and the things we’d do and some we did.

If I could I’d dial that old rotary phone that hung on the wall and ask Pablo to grab some coffee with me.

Neruda, Neruda, Neruda, you understand what it is like to be asked to shower in gasoline and to smile when they flip the cover open on their Zippo because you would do whatever it takes to be noble and worthy of such an honor.”

At least I think he would understand and that we would have the sort of conversation that only a select few could have.

“Pablo, I wonder if I was too intense. I wonder if I am at fault here or if there was something else. Maybe our fire burned too bright and we were nothing more than that comet that shoots across evening sky.”

But there is no answer from Pablo because he is dead and the words that he left behind cannot address any and all matters.

Still I look at his words and I wonder if maybe he left a message for me, something he wrote not knowing who would need it, just that someone would.

“I can write the saddest poem of all tonight. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.”
― Pablo Neruda

Ah, yeah, this I get and this I can share but Pablo, is that all you have. Some might not understand, some might hear nothing but sadness, is there no joy.

“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.”
― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Ah Pablo, this I understand, this I get and maybe a few who have known me would too.

They would feel the heat and intensity of my gaze and know without asking what I wanted and what I crave.

It would be more than just carnal, more than just lust but not obsession.

They would give it freely because both parties understood but that sort of thing comes from a place of deep faith and trust.

A place where you both know that the journey to where you are going is only taken by shedding the walls and false pretenses.

Because without that, well it is likely to be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Hell it might even get you unfriended.

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  1. Mitch Mitchell January 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    As you know, I’ve sculpted my Facebook page such that I didn’t have to unfriend anyone, see what I want to see & didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. In general I don’t care since people are dropping me & others all the time, and I don’t keep up with any of the numbers. I see what I want to see & disregard the rest… my play on Paul Simon’s words.

  2. Cathy January 24, 2016 at 8:13 am

    I used to chew on friendships that ended. Wondering what I’d done, if it could be fixed, etc. Then I realized people change and things happen. I can’t control it, I can just move on. Social media is the same. I am to the point where I interact with people who want to, and don’t worry about the rest. We all have a path. I’m too busy following mine and trying to figure things out to wonder why people sharing my path leave it.

    Good words Jack. Truth.

    • Jack Steiner January 25, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Hi Cathy,

      My kids were surprised when I told them that lots of the things they face with their friends are still things that happen when you “grow up.”

      That conversation about “did we do anything to make this happen” has taken place a few times. I try to remind them that as you said everyone is on their own path and that unless you know you did something ‘wrong’ it might not have anything to do with you.

      People change.

      Not always nice and not always easy, but…

  3. Danny Brown January 24, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Facebook is a strange beast. Mostly, I enjoy it for the fun, camaraderie and the way it offers a look – however brief – into the lives of people you’re connected with/to.

    Other times, though, it’s an ugly cesspit of the worst traits in humans, and you wonder how you ever let someone like that into your “circle”. Offline, pre-social media was so much easier – you just stopped being friends with someone, and they knew exactly why.

    Now, people make grandiose statements like “I’ve just culled a bunch of people, congratulations if you can still read this” – like it’s a fucking major award that we should be grateful about….

    I’m with you, mate. Life’s too short for caring who likes who. Make time for the important people and the important people will show themselves soon enough.

    • Jack Steiner January 25, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Hey Danny,

      Strange beast indeed.

      You really never know from day to day whether you’ll get the best or the worst of humanity there or some sort of combination.

      I look at the people who post status updates saying they are about to unfriend a bunch of people and wonder if they ever call people and tell them they are being let go in real life too.

      “Lose my number, you have been unfriended.”

      Life is so damn absurd.

  4. Gina January 22, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Love the Eagles and love, love, love Neruda. Sounds like we are both being “unfriended” (even auto-correct didn’t like the word!). We make time for those who are important to us and truly care. I’m sad but okay with the distance she put between us because I drifted away first for good reason. Lots of people come and go. Those who stay are to be treasured. Life is a long journey.

    • Jack Steiner January 23, 2016 at 9:50 am

      The Eagles and Neruda make for a good combination, but I am clearly biased.

      You are right about life being a long journey and about making time for those who are important to us. Maybe the most telling aspect is realizing you don’t want to put the time in or recognizing that someone else won’t.

  5. Larry January 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I definitely get what you are saying.
    You don’t want to be the only one carrying the friendship. I feel the same.
    People change, move on, or are just at different points in their lives. Friendships can be impacted. Like any other relationship, they take work.

    • Jack Steiner January 23, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Yep, we change and evolve, hopefully that means we are growing. Sometimes that growth or change comes together and sometimes it doesn’t.

      Can’t fight to keep a friendship going if you are the only person doing it, so sometimes you just have to let go. Not always easy, but necessary.

  6. Julie January 21, 2016 at 6:02 am

    Deep faith and trust – the rarest of the rare, but what is required and sometimes we get it.

  7. Miss Bougie January 21, 2016 at 4:01 am

    People unfriend you for various reasons. Not worth the effort to keep the relationship going? Desinterest in what the person has to say? You yourself move on with your own life and shed surplus weight?
    You probably haven’t antagonised your friends that unfriended you. They might have just moved on and you weren’t the only one on their list having been unfriended.
    And having xxx friends / followers on social media. Is that your worth? Think not. So very superficial.
    Hate is a very strong word and does not apply to the person who chucks you out of his FB address book. And anyway, You don’t need to be popular with everybody to be happy. Best have a few friends you can count on, don’t you think? Small is good.

    • Jack Steiner January 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Small is good. I agree, I would rather have a few good friends than a lot of acquaintances. And you are right about not spending a lot of time thinking about how or why we are unfriended, it really isn’t a particularly good use of our time.

  8. Chloe Jeffreys January 21, 2016 at 1:38 am

    So it’s funny you wrote this today, or at least that I saw it today. Not half an hour ago I discovered is been unfriended by someone and I’d been laying here ruminating over what it all means.

    I have a love-hate thing with Facebook. I love I can pop on and have pretend socialization at any time, day or night. It’s pretty convenient for an introverted traveler such as moi. But then sometimes I go and find that some imaginary friend has dumped me and u end up all butt hurt over it.
    Going way back to my childhood, I’ve always the dumper, never the dumped. I still don’t really know how to handle it.

    Does being dumped mean I need to reflect on my social media behavior? Is it me? Or is it them? Did my imaginary e-friend do me a big favor? Have I just been freed up from a relationship that was going nowhere anyway? And just why do I have over a thousand friends I don’t know?

    You’re on your own with the Pablo thing. I’m still too despondent over Bowie. You know your number is coming up when all the cool kids start dying off.

    • Jack Steiner January 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      It is a weird sort of thing. Upon a few minutes of introspection I have decided I really don’t care if I get dumped by people I only know online, provided it didn’t happen because I was a jerk.

      I have been paring down how many connections I have in multiple places because I don’t have time to interact and engage with most of the people I know in real life, let alone the Net.

      Still I figure it never hurts to look in the mirror and take inventory.

      Bowie was cool, I’ll miss that guy.

    • Danny Brown January 24, 2016 at 6:52 am

      Hi Chloe,

      I always find that worrying about it merely poses more questions than the topic suggests. Much like a story, there are usually three sides – your side, their side, and the truth.

      There’s probably a bit of A and a bit of B to the reasons people unfriend us (and why we unfriend others). At the end of the day, it’s who we want to be, and what we want to be remembered for, that’s key.

      Real friends will help you get there. Other “friends” will simply do and say things they feel you want to hear, making your path to where you want to be a bigger stumbling block (if that makes sense).

      Here’s to not caring [too much].

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