Casual Friday: When to Unfriend
Has your grandmother been posting embarrassing photos from your childhood all over Facebook? Does your ex-girlfriend go on rants about you and tag your name for all to see? Is your neighbor constantly making political statements that get you riled up? In any of these scenarios, you may find your cursor hovering over the "unfriend" button, but when is it actually appropriate to remove someone from your friends list once and for all? Here's some advice on how to decide:
1. Pinpoint What's Upsetting You
Before you make any rash decisions, think carefully on exactly what it is about this person that's making you consider ending your virtual friendship. Unfriending can cause some tension in the real world, so you need to make sure that the choice to remove the offender is more beneficial in the long run than any consequences you'll face because of it. So if the person has committed a one-time offense, like adding a bad picture of you or posting something annoying on your wall, it may just be better to de-tag or hide their post, and ask them not to do that kind of thing in the future. However, if it's truly a repeat offense and there's no end in sight, it may be time to make the click.
2. Going on a Purge
Some people like to keep their Facebook neat and tidy. If you're one of these types, then you may find yourself going on a "purge" of your friends list. This means scrolling through the list and removing those friends who added you after meeting one time years ago, or relatives whom you know you'll never talk to. This is fine, but if you find yourself on the fence about removing someone, give it a couple days and then return to do a second purge, in case you change your mind.
3. Are There Other Options?
Facebook makes it easy now to simply "hide" posts from people who annoy you, which may be a better (and less awkward) way of removing someone's irritating posts. However, if you feel that one of your so-called "friends" is threatening your internet or mobile privacy, or her or she is bullying you, then you shouldn't think twice about clicking "unfriend."
Remember, Facebook is supposed to be a fun space where you can interact with people you care about or who interest you. Think before you unfriend, but don't be afraid to pull the plug on someone who's pushing your buttons.