Deleting Friends On Facebook

Facebook is a well known site. So well known that I needn’t explain what it is.

(It’s a social network site. If you need further explanation, I’m not going to help.)

For some time now, the site has had a box that appears in a side table from time to time suggesting people that you may know, with an option to ‘View More’ if you wish to.

I had a few minutes spare, so I decided to have a little look down the list of people that I might know and maybe want to get in touch with.

To my absolute horror, I found that there were quite a few people that I was certain were already my friends. But how could this be? Here I was being told that we were not friends. Or that we had never been, or worse, that they had decided we were no longer.

But why? Why would these people decide that I was no longer their friend? It made no sense to me!
What Deleting Means To Me

Sure, these were people who I hadn’t spoken to directly in some time… mostly old university or school friends… but back in those days, we did see each other regularly, be on hugging basis and so on.

Though, I would never be alone with them, it would always be in a social gathering situation, but still, at that time in our lives, we considered each other more than just ‘acquaintances’ or ‘people who knew each others names’. Damnit, I’m pretty sure I even made out with some of them!

So why now, have they decided to defriend, unfriend, delete or whatever you want to call it? I have been looking into some reasons for it.

In my case, I have only ever unfriended somebody once. One person. That was because they wronged me. Our friendship was officially over, I wanted nothing more to do with them, so I removed them from my facebook.

And that’s how I see it. Most people nowadays are pretty careful about what they put on the site, only revealing things publicly that they do not mind anyone seeing. There are private message options if people want a private conversation, so there’s no excuse for accusing people of snooping into private lives, if it is published for all to see. If you’re stupid enough to publicise your secrets then that’s your own fault, no one elses.

So for me, deleting a friend means that I want them to have no access to me or what I have to say. While any other friends, old friends and so on, I welcome to read what I post and am happy to recieve messages from them! No matter how long it has been since we last spoke.

To delete a friend, simply boils down to not wishing them to have means to contact you, in essence making a solid statement that whatever relationship you had is over.

Now I am not the type to go and add friends who were people I merely attended the same school as or workplace and so on. I am not a friend hoarder, or one of those who wishes to look popular by having the largest number of contacts. But I do add people I have shared conversations with, been to parties with, enjoyed the company of, whether it be as part of a group or one to one. This is because I like being able to get in touch with old companions if I want to, or be able to keep up on what they are doing with themselves, or even invite them to big events I might be organising. Besides that, sometimes it is good to see an old face appear on an update, or on a photo, bringing back memories and an excuse to get in contact. It’s because I like these people and despite not being all that close to them, I do not see that as a reason for cutting them off.
Others Reasons For Deleting

  • Friend Collectors

I have had people from school, who I never spoke to while I was there add me, in which case I accept out of politeness (as long as it was not someone I disliked). It is preferable if the friend request comes with a message along the lines of ‘Long time no see’, but this is rare.

This could be the sign of a friend collector, and for many people a candidate for unfriending, and in this instance, I agree that it is absolutely fine. It seems they only wish you to be an extra number on their friend list if they do not have the courtesy to even say ‘hello’. You never spoke at school, they have made no attempt to speak to you now, but are trying to class you as a ‘friend’. It doesn’t really make sense.

  • Intimate Friend Exclusivity

Some people decide that having 500+ friends is unrealistic and not reflective of their real life. After this decision, they have a friend cull. Removing anyone that they have not seen or spoken to for a certain amount of time. They find this cull theraputic somehow.

When they receive no message from the unfriended person asking why they have been removed, they see this as a sign of either the person not noticing or not caring, therefore justifying what they have done.

As far as ‘not noticing’ goes, defriending a person is one of the few Facebook features that does not notify the affected friend. It will only be when they come to want to send a message, look at old photos, or in my case check the suggested friends list that they will notice. If this is someone that you only spoke to rarely, or from time to time ‘liked’ or commented on their statuses or so on, it would then seem somehow aggressive to send a message asking why they defriended you. It would only put them in a corner to explain themselves or guilt them into refriending.

In the case of ‘not caring’, then it is probably fine that they were defriended, but you can never really know if they are too polite to message you for an explanation.

For me, the exclusivity thing does not make sense on Facebook. As I said before, private conversations can be kept private with no extra effort. There are privacy options installed so that you can limit certain people to only view certain parts of your profile if you would rather keep the full profile for close friends eyes. If you wished to only have current friends on your account, you should not have added the acquaintances in the first place. (Although, when they were added, they likely were current friends.)

This comes from my view that to defriend someone is simply a statement that you do not want that person in your life at all.

I honestly can not see the harm in having an old drinking buddy able to message you if they would like to.

  • Clogged Up Status Feeds

Some people defriend others when they find that their news feeds are becoming full of updates from people with uninteresting things to say.

There is another way around this. Simply by utilising the ‘like’ function on comments you enjoy, and posting on peoples pages who you want to keep in touch with, your feed adapts to show you the updates you want to see.

My news feed seems to have the same few people on it all the time, despite my having plenty of other friends besides. This is because they are the ones I interact with most on site.

Doing that solves your problem without resorting to the insult of telling someone you want nothing to with them for no good reason.

  • People Posting Things That You Disagree With

This could be a good reason for defriending. They may post something hurtful or spiteful that simply shows them in a light that you may not have seen before. Something that shows that they are not the type of person that you want to be associated with.

If this were to happen in real life, you would be within your rights to call an end to the friendship, and so it is with Facebook too.

But some people take this to different levels. They may defriend simply because someone posts about how much they like (insert popular boy band here), when you have absolutely no interest. Is having a different taste in music really a reason to banish someone from your life? Are you really that petty?

  • Feeling Like People Are Not Commenting On Or Noticing Your Posts

You might post statuses or links or updates to your wall, and have a number of people commenting on them.

Which then leaves others who do not comment. Which for some reason makes you think that they are not interested in you.

This might be the case, or it might be that they do not go on the site as often as you do, or that your update does not appear on their feed or that you write about things that do not interest them.

Maybe you should stop making so many assumptions. If you want someone to talk to you, maybe you should talk to them and stop being such an attention seeker who throws their toys out of their pram when they don’t get their way.

  • Free Whopper

For a short time, Burger King had a promotion whereby you would win a free Whopper if you sacrificed ten Facebook friends. Just goes to show how some people care less about others than they do their own stomach.

  • Relationship Is Not Going To Grow

This is somewhat related to the intimate profile. People will delete friends that they believe will not become closer to.

I can not see the purpose this serves. Rather than allowing the possibility of the friendship to grow, no matter how slight, they cut it off completely.

  • Believing That Age And Wisdom Require You To Do It

This could not be more opposite of what wisdom is.

Their reasoning is that it is wise to remove the people you do not have ongoing relationships with and only include those that you are in regular contact with.

There is no further explanation, rendering it unwise. Wise advice comes with meaning and logic.

Besides that, anyone who believes age=wisdom has never stopped to think about where George Bush fits into the equation.

  • Too Many Romance/Depressed/Kids Photos Updates

Some people get fed up with others posting how proud they are of the children or how happy they are with their new loves, or on the other hand how miserable they are.

The idea of Facebook is to share. If you’re not interested, look away!

If they are depressed, maybe it is your duty as a friend to lend a little support instead of being so self absorbed.

If they are happy, maybe you should be happy for them rather than cynical or even jealous. Maybe you don’t understand what it is to be so proud of something that you want to show the world. It’s your problem, not theirs.


I believe that Facebook defriending is simply a sign of the self absorbed culture we seem to live in.

People would rather go to the extra effort and waste time crawling through their friend list to choose who not to care about any more rather than attempt to build bridges and strengthen bonds.

Not even that, they would rather waste time and effort going through their list and deciding who is no longer worthy of having access to their profile rather than doing NOTHING.

To defriend someone, you have to go to their page, scroll to the bottom, find the small button, push it, push the confirm button and then move onto the next.

Why not use the time more constructively and drop a message saying ‘Hi, how are you? Havn’t spoken for a while?’.

Then, if there is no response, go ahead and delete…

At least you’d have a proper reason to.


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