Un-friending Etiquette

Part two : Un-friending Etiquette

The other day I blogged about how to handle those awkward friend requests, part two is all about the even more awkward process of ‘un- friending’.

Personally, I have always taken a progressive approach by slowly removing access to various parts of my profile, first the photos, then the comments then the wall, then *BANG!* – you’re gone. It’s a quietly, quietly out the back door approach. Almost like drifting off into oblivion after a shot of anesthetic, “there, there dear, you won’t feel a thing”.

Then starts the waiting game. Will they notice? Do they know? Just when you think you’ve slipped under the radar comes a repeat friend request.

Sometimes it is a simple request with no message, true to the art of saving face, allowing you to quietly accept the request without confronting the virtual elephant in the virtual room.

Other times the request comes with a confused message:

“Hi, I thought we were friends on Facebook?”

To which the response is generally a major backpedal and another ill-fated Friend Request acceptance:

“Oh that’s weird?! So did I… I’ll send you another request”

Then there’s the message with suspicious overtones:

“ Ummm… did you un-friend me?”

This also usually results in another begrudging reacceptance into the fold:

Oh! Oops! I did a recent friends cull and must have accidentally deleted the wrong Ferdinand! So sorry hon, I know so many Ferdinands!! I’ll send you another request :) ” ( Note: Obligatory smiley face to dull the pain).

Then there’s the downright scathing variety:

“yeah thanks”

(feigning ignorance) “huh??”

“Thanks for deleting me from your friend’s list”

This one is tough. You either quell the fire with an explanatory, well… lie – citing a computer virus and then cave to the pressure of another request, or you take the opportunity of their brashness as an excuse to cull them for good.

“Well, actually I had a virus on my computer and all these weird things started happening to my Facebook profile and I lost all these friends …BUT, I am a little surprised that you would be so curt in your message and assume that I had deleted you… I am not sure it’s a good idea for us to reconnect.”

(Note: I have observed that this approach is more likely to be used by females since it displays the tactical ability to shift the blame, a skill in the art of war that we women have long mastered).

Whatever your approach the whole horror show of un-friending someone on Facebook is not easy and is best avoided by not friending in the first place.

If your Facebook profile is your personal space and only for those for whom can remember both their first AND last names then keep it that way. Set boundaries and explain them politely offering a more public alternative such as your Twitter, LinkedIn profile or blog.

As for those who need to go through the culling process. I feel your pain; I too am yet to shave a few off the sides. On the flip side, I wouldn’t be surprised if my head is on someone’s virtual chopping block and if that’s the case, I am not offended. People fall in and out of touch, love and friendship in the real world and why shouldn’t this be reflected online?
So go on, admit that you can’t be intimate with all 853 friends (854 if you include “Zuck” ), and just because there are so many social media avenues into our personal lives doesn’t mean it has to be open slather to all.

Reclaim your personal space, be gracious when others reclaim theirs and remember, “DELETE” is not a dirty word.

Would it bother you if someone un-friended you?