Unfriending on Facebook: Leaving A Party Gracefully
A quality party is composed of simple elements: good people, good conversation, delectable food and a pleasant environment.
I consider Facebook to be one such party (minus the wine and cheese table) because it’s a place where friends, family, acquaintances, semi-acquaintances and a few random strangers gather to connect and catch up regularly. The typical relational activities of chatting, sharing, asking questions, and commenting on recent photos happens easily. The music is blasting in the background (rotating selection of hits); the drinks are flowing freely (no one is judging you here); and the dancing is electric and lively (heads up: people might be judging you just a little bit for your moves).
But at any given time during the party, there will be some people who slip out the back door. I will notice my Friend number go down a digit and I’ll briefly think, “Hmmm. I wonder who left my party. And why?” How interesting that I don’t even notice who left. (Guess that says enough about the relationship.) Their departure could be for a number of reasons: it’s no longer their scene, it’s time to move on, there’s nothing to connect to here, or they need to close out a chapter of their life with me.
I get it. It’s normal with any party; there are always those who are ready to leave early. So I shrug. Sip my beverage of choice. And move on to chat with all the other people who are here. It’s still a fabulous event, after all!
Conversely, there have been times when I’ve left other people’s Facebook parties for the same reasons described above. When I unfriend someone, it’s because there is no longer a live connection for me and I’m willing to just let it go. I try to leave discreetly and graciously. It’s certainly not necessary to stand on a chair in the middle of the dining room and declare: I’M LEAVING NOW. BYEEE.
I simply slide out the side door and wish them well with a silent “Thanks so much for having me over!” No bad will, no malicious intent, no need to make a scene. Just moving on. As is expected in life.
When I joined Facebook over four years ago, I was looking to add as many people as possible to my profile because, well, wasn’t that the point? But now that I am more Facebook-savvy and aware of how I use social media, I’m not enticed to connect with everyone I have crossed paths with in my 34 years. An occasional quick chat is one thing, but an on-going life update is not always appropriate. Quality over quantity is important to me. Privacy over publicity is a factor. Security is also a concern in order to avoid party crashers and careless strangers looking to pocket something – anything – because they don’t care about the contents of the house.Continued on the next page