028 – Unfriending People on Facebook

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Are your social networking outlets causing you stress? Do you stay up at night wondering who you’ll have to passive-aggressively subtweet the next day? Or quietly fume on the toilet while looking a pictures of Donald Trump on Instagram? Or roll your eyes at yet another rant about how Obama wants to take our guns so his Muslim family can take over our country? Well first of all – what are you doing on Facebook? Don’t you know it’s all about Snapchat in 2016? But more to the point – put an end to your aimless concerns. You are the master of your social media destiny and happiness is attainable. It’s simply a matter of clicking “Unfriend.”

Sure there are other ways to curate your feeds – you can mute people or unsubscribe from their updates, but I really want you to consider what the point of that is. If you’re going to take such a drastic step, why not go all the way with it? Personally, I have a very itchy unfriend finger, and if it doesn’t get scratched every once in a while, it starts to get angry. It starts looking for reasons to unfriend people – which it really doesn’t need to do because there’s plenty of fodder out there.

Unfriending someone just feels so good. I did it earlier today. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed (alright, maybe Facebook isn’t totally dead, though I’m hardly “up on it”), and saw a long post about how if some person had gotten an abortion then their child wouldn’t have had the chance to blah, blah, blah. Look, if you’re pro-life, that’s your business. I’ll think less of you, but I’m a reasonable human being who understands that we all think different things and feel different ways. But once you start trying to shove it down my throat (via opt-in internet services), I’m going to take action. And the satisfaction you get from going into someone’s profile, clicking on the friendship button, scrolling down to the bottom of that drop down, and choosing “unfriend” is second-to-none. Seriously, go right now, find one person in your Facebook life that you’re willing to lose and unfriend them; you will feel great after you do so.

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this is a poster for a real movie (and it’s actually surprisingly good)

Because we all have those friends that aren’t really friends. People we went to high school or college with that we just became internet friends with out of convenience or necessity – people whose absence in our lives would make no difference (and have in fact made no difference up to this point). Trust me, they won’t be upset that you unfriended them because they won’t even notice. I’m sure I’ve been unfriended (well, in a couple cases I know I have, but not without cause) – possibly because of this very blog you’re perusing right now. I recognize there is a high level of hypocrisy on display here, considering I’m complaining about people hurling their beliefs at me online when I post long opinionated rants literally every day, but I hold myself to a different standard. Plus, I really don’t mind if you unfriend me – it’s probably in everyone’s best interest.

Now what if someone I actually considered a friend started posting ignorant bullshit? Usually the people posting racist or homophobic or sexist screeds aren’t the type I particularly mind losing, but I guess it’s possible that someone I had long considered a reasonable member of society might turn around one day and reveal their true identity as a monster. I don’t know what I would do – I’ve never had to reckon with that. Most of the people I end up unfriending are fellow USC alums that I met at orientation and then never spoke to again; I didn’t have the chance to get to know them well enough to realize that I wanted nothing to do with their brand of stupidity. But I suppose if a similar thing occurred with an actual real-life friend I would probably have to stick to my principles and drop them along with all these other garbage people.

Am I doing myself more harm than good? (Besides my judgmental ass calling other human beings “garbage people?”) Part of the good of the internet is that it opens us up to corners of the world and society to which we might not otherwise have access. Is it doing a disservice to cut off those strands of my exposure that lead to perspectives so far removed from my own? Do I suffer by narrowing my world-view down to only the positions I deem acceptable?

No. Because you can’t really escape those things with which you don’t agree. They’ll always pop up in one form or another. And at least when they do you can commiserate with your like-minded fellows about how frustrated those “other” idiots make you. Ultimately social media is intended to be a fun diversion – not a chore. So if you notice at any point that you and I are no longer Facebook friends, don’t take it personally. I just no longer had the patience for your crap. And I assume the feeling is mutual.

Unfriending People on Facebook receives five out of five thumbs up:

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