Why is it so hard to unfriend someone on Facebook?

Recently, I had a conversation about Facebook and culling people off of it. Both my lunch companions admitted to culling their lists, but I had to be honest–I haven’t done that in a long time. Truthfully, I rarely get rid of anyone on my facebook. Subsequently, there are people who have access to my account who know very little or absolutely nothing about me because they’re only the barest hint of a “friend”, barely a passing acquaintence, maybe even a stranger.

A funny thing happened when I went to look at my list, though. I felt uneasy about removing a person from it. Not because I cared about their feelings, but more because I cared that I was severing that connection, one that would have to be re-attached before I could get in contact with that person. Despite the fact that I haven’t said a word to this person since I added them to Facebook, indeed, some of these people, the only real contact was the very act of friending them on Facebook in the first place, I find myself not wanting to sever that connection. Why?

There are political and social reasons for not removing someone from your Facebook friends, of course. Sometimes that offensive, racist, vulgar miss-speller just so happens to be your Uncle Ned as well. Or your best friend posts ridiculous inspirational phrases that are often mis-quoted. Those are a simple matter to deal with–you can unsubscribe from their status updates and they’ll never know. But to actually remove someone from your friends list means, at least to me, that you are no longer desirous of having any contact with this person at all.

Recently friends of my boyfriend began adding me to Facebook. The ones whom I’ve met and enjoyed talking to and hanging out with I added back eagerly, knowing that I’d likely see them again soon and I’ll probably be sharing content that’s relevant to them. But along with those friends came people who I met briefly, know very little about and often have to ask the Fool what their connection to him is. Should I add them? What benefit do I get from that connection, other than another voyeur on my life and relationship?

I don’t know why I suddenly became interested in being more selective with my Facebook friends. I think it’s a general feeling that I’ve taken up in this new year, a general selectiveness of what I do, who I hang out with, where I go. I spent a lot of time trying to do everything last year and I feel now that I have to pick and choose because there just isn’t enough time in the world for it all and if I want to remain happy and sane (and still get enough hours of sleep in the night) then I have to be more selective.

Maybe it’s true what they say about what happens on New Years–how you spend it, is how you’ll spend the new year. I spent it in a relatively sober state. It wasn’t terribly exciting. Homey, even. But I enjoyed it. I think I kind of exhausted myself from all the partying last year and I’m kind of in the mood to just take it easy this year. I want this year to be one in which I work toward gigging regularly and I can’t do that if I’m constantly partying. I love going out and having a good time, but the time I spend doing that is time I’m not putting towards my goal. I can’t say that this will actually be a sober year. I am a musician after all. But it feels like I’m honing in my focus onto the track I want to follow, and I feel like giving up some distractions, like people on Facebook who I barely speak to or have spoken to, is one good way of doing that.



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