The act of removing a friend from your facebook account.
Compulsive people prune their friend list periodically, removing people that they no longer have contact with. More often though, unfriending is only done when a particular friend’s updates and self-promotions become so annoying that you can no longer stand hearing about them. Or you might unfriend someone when they piss you off, however, this is not very effective since the person who is unfriended is not notified that you unfriended them and you’d be better off to keep them as a friend and plot your revenge.
I’ve been unfriended a few times. A few years back, during my more politically active days, I had a few friends who became so infuriated with my views that they decided to move on.
As someone who’s always believed that a) I often learn the most from those I don’t agree with and b) friends need to be able to agree to disagree - I found this very sad. Politics is a really stupid thing to lose friends over - but it was their choice, not mine.
More recently, however, this happened over a much more personal matter. And yes I noticed - since it happened right in the middle of a chat - which it’s fair to say pissed my former friend off.
But regardless of the reason - for any type of relationship one would call a ‘friendship’, it’s hard to see how that relationship can persist if you can’t communicate about the things that you don’t agree on. If you’re going to stay friends, there may be times when you may need to agree to disagree.
At least for someone you would call a real friend.
Social networks - and ‘friend’ships - have a much lower standard.
Why? Because while the person we choose to put ‘out there’ is - hopefully - part of the ‘real’ us - it’s only the part we want the world to see.
Some choose to put more out there. Some less. But nobody I know puts it all out there (though James Altucher comes pretty close).
Why would we? Why would anyone want to put our most personal, private, and in many cases hard thoughts and feelings online?
We don’t. Our social lives are a window into our real lives - but only a window.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy social networking - more than most. And I do value all of my friends - my social ones and my real ones.
But the latter are far more important. A real friendship should be about so much more than what’s in the display window. A real friendship encompasses the whole package - including our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities - and the things we may disagree about.
A social friend doesn’t need to do any of that - and may never even see those other side(s). All they see is what we choose to show through the window. It’s fun - but ultimately it’s one-dimensional.
Which is why it’s so truly tragic to lose a real friend over something that happens on a social network.
But when it happens, you need to ask yourself how ‘real’ the friendship may have been after all.