Broken Heart - The Anti-Social MediaWhen was the last time you unfollowed or unfriended someone?

If you’re like most people, it’s been a while since you’ve sat down and evaluated what your online relationships are doing for you.

It’s easy to just keep following people and adding friends. If it were up to the social networks, that’s all you’d do. You’d end up drowning in so much information you’d never be able to take your eyes off the news feed.

But that’s not how people live their lives.

We make choices about which relationships we build and which ones we neglect. We choose to communicate with some people on certain channels and keep the everyone else for if and when we need them. We decide to sit on Facebook and Twitter all night rather than getting coffee or dinner with someone we haven’t seen in a while.

The joy of modern life is that even when we are alone, we continue to be together, building the weakest of relationships.

But if those relationships aren’t doing anything for you, drop them. Do you know why you follow that person on Twitter? Can you remember  where you actually met all 647 of your Facebook friends, and what they do for you? If you can’t give one valid reason, and you have no idea where a person is from, it’s time to unfriend them.

I know. It sucks. But sometimes, that’s what we have to do. Relationships change. People move on.

Some relationships end with a bang. Others end with a whimper. And in the age of social networks, we end ours when we click “Unfriend.”

Unfollow someone who isn’t entertaining or informing you anymore. Your time and relationships are precious. Don’t waste them.

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33 Responses to Unfriending

  1. Mich October 20, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Totally agree! Just did a cleanup on Facebook because i didn’t even recognize the names. Twitter is better, only follow people who engage and I engage with.
    By the way, why so many mistakes in this post??? hehehe :-)

    • Jay October 20, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      Mistakes? Probably because I wrote it at 5 am, edited at 8 and published at 8:30.

      • Jay October 20, 2011 at 10:08 am #

        I just went through and see what you mean. Sometimes I suck at proofing.

        • Claire Wagner October 20, 2011 at 11:08 am #

          Most writers suck at proofing their own stuff. It’s a form of temporary blindness.

          • Jay October 20, 2011 at 11:17 am #

            That, and I usually give myself more time to proof, especially when I write the post at 5 am.

        • Winnie October 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

          I’ll poof for ya!

  2. Björn Sennbrink October 20, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I blocked a person a couple of days ago based on sarcasm gone wrong. I feel much better now that I know that no one gives a shit about what I did.

    • Jay October 20, 2011 at 10:00 am #

      I wonder how many people have blocked my sarcasm…

  3. Chad October 20, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    I just cleared out a few people I was following on Twitter this very morning. Then I read your post and now I feel totally validated. They were filling up 1/3 of my daily feed but I can’t remember ever being interested in what they had to say and I certainly had never talked to them face to face. Prattle I tell you.

    Of course I checked and was relieved to find that you had not unfollowed me.

    • Jay October 20, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      Hmm, well, there’s my task for the day ;)

      • Chad October 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm #


  4. Josh Gibbs October 20, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    You must have been influenced to write this by my good friend, Greyson Chance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rd-tfJRMLI&ob=av2e

    • Jay October 20, 2011 at 11:19 am #

      Why is that 8 year old boy acting like a horny 16 year old boy band reject?

      This might be my new The Anti-Social Media theme song though. Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You!” is awesome, but you can’t play that everytime you walk into a room.

      • Jay October 20, 2011 at 11:21 am #

        This is also a potential contender. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXsorPbcSgo

        • Josh Gibbs October 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

          I think it is a close race, but if you want to make it onto Mashable you will have to use the first song, as it is completely irrelevant and classless — just like their content.


          • Jay October 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm #


  5. Camilo Olea October 20, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    But Jay, what do we do when we unfriend/unfollow someone and he/she “calls out” on it?

    I don’t want to go through the mental stress of being called out on unfriending/unfollowing someone.

    Life is hard. :(

    • Jay October 20, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      Be upfront. Give some reason: “We don’t interact anymore.” “I’m not sure how I met you.” “Your posts make me upset.” “I don’t friend coworkers on Facebook.”

      When all else fails: Lie. “I caught a Twitter virus and it ruined things.” “My Facebook was hacked.”

      • Camilo Olea October 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

        Ah yes, the good old virus excuse.

        Way back, I used to work in network tech support for a Cable internet company. One day, the link went down, and people started called desperately to ask for an explanation. One coworker brilliantly told them: “There is a virus in hotmail and thats what causing the problem”.

        I didn’t knew if to laugh or applaud him.

        • Jay October 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

          Wow, nice one.

  6. Monica October 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Just did this last month. No one noticed. Must mean I mean as much to them as they did to me. Hmmm…

    • Jay October 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

      If they didn’t notice, then you were completely right to unfollow.

  7. Claire Wagner October 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    News Flash: I just unfriended a dead friend. Her relatives keep tagging her in photos of her grandkids. It’s really upsetting and I wish I understood. Either they are trying to indirectly get a notice of their photos to the other friends and relatives that were connected to my friend, or they think she is watching Facebook from Heaven. If there is a Heaven, she is there. But Facebook is not. I’m pretty sure about that.

    • Camilo Olea October 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

      I’m sorry about the loss, Claire. But of course Facebook isn’t heaven: I’m pretty sure heaven is not annoying. :)

    • Jay October 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

      Claire - My sympathies go out to you. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.

      I have a friend who specializes in studying “the digital afterlife,” and I’m sure he’d have a lot to say about how your friend is memorialized. But I can’t imagine who you move on with hat kind of constant reminder.

  8. Maarten October 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    Indeed relationships are dynamic, they grow and fade. It’s very natural and more often than not, both parties do not note it. With social media “unfriending” it’s different: you make a deliberate/counsious choice, and the other party can see that. It’s like calling someone and saying that you don’t have time for someone anymore or do not want to associate yourself with him anymore: a very drastic measure in the real world.

    Although I do not agree with everything “Facebook”, Facebook does seem to offer a potentially powerful mechanism nowadays: if you interact less with a certain user than with others, it’s posts will be less prominent on your page, causing that friend to fade to the background. Although artificial, it’s more natural than unfriending and definitely less digital.

  9. Jacobo October 26, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    I love this post, for I am among the ones who have unfriended people lately.

    It is usually not because you don’t like the person. It is simply because, as Jay says, there is simply not enough time to have that many friends and I hate being overwhelmed with new eternal feeds everytime you log on Facebook.

    However, people usually take this the wrong way probably for the reasons that Maarteen has pointed out. One thing is having a relationship naturally fade away and another is making this abrupt deletion… and letting the other person know.

    Still, however, I find it strange. I personally have no issue iof someone unfriends me.

  10. Jeff October 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I’ll proof for you. It would give me something to do. And 5am for you is like 1:30pm for me, so chances are I’m at my desk.

  11. Milagros December 4, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Lovely blog. Totally agree. This modern cyber era is making us more and more apart from the REAL world. Sometimes when look at my 450 facebook “friends”, I find myself so lonely, because I know that people are not interest to create real relationships, like you said “sharing a couple of hours talking face to face”. I feel part of your movement! Cheers!


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