What Being ‘Unfriended’ on Facebook Taught Me About Choices

Michelle Brown
Dec 18, 2019 · 4 min read
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Have you ever been “deleted”?

Recently, I was deleted or unfriended as someone’s friend on Facebook.

Actually, it’s been more than once that this has happened to me now. I have an inkling as to why, but since the people doing the unfriending never told me, I can’t be 100% sure.

Was this person who unfriended me a really good friend of mine with whom I spoke to outside of Facebook on a regular basis?

Nope.

Most of my really great friends are from the days when there was no such thing as Facebook and they’re either not plugged in because they are living “off the grid” or they just don’t go online very much.

Then there are the other people I know such as old work colleagues or extended family members who consistently post on a regular basis as well as comment and engage with my posts, essentially “liking” everything I do. I rarely see any of these people in real life.

Additionally, there are acquaintances I have as Facebook friends who I barely know at all. Many of them rarely engage with my posts so there is not much interaction with them either in real or online life. Occasionally those people will comment or “like” something I post but, generally, they only break out the “likes” in lieu of something really noteworthy.

There are people I know who don’t want to go mad with “liking” everything they see on Facebook because perhaps it makes them look like they have nothing better to do, right? Maybe so, but in truth, millions of us spend hours upon hours each week sucked into Facebook, browsing and deciding whether or not we should “like” something.

Back to being deleted…

I’ve had some run-ins with revenge deletions. This could be a friend I hung out with who decided to delete me over a misunderstanding, or a guy who realized I was not going to date him and deleted me. All’s fair in love and war I guess.

We all have that one friend or family member who does the Facebook deleting cycle when they’re feeling offended or feisty with certain people. You know who you are.

I noticed that as I posted more politically driven updates during the last election, I started losing more friends again. I’m not going to lie, I was half expecting it from certain people, but it still makes me wonder about the way in which we treat each other online and off.

Now that I have fewer “friends” I guess I don’t look as popular anymore on my Facebook page. The more open about my personal or political views I become on Facebook, the more friends I lose. And if I’m really being honest, I will tell you that there are indeed those with whom I am friends with on Facebook who do drive me crazy with their own posts.

To combat this problem of annoying “friends,” Facebook has now come up with a more diplomatic way to get rid of those whom you want to technically remain friends with, but don’t want to see anything they post because you don’t like it. Now, you can simply “unfollow” someone.

This means you can literally be a Facebook frenemy without anyone knowing it. Jane Doe may think you guys are friends and that you see all of her status updates in your news feed but, in fact, you unfollowed her months ago because she annoys you, but you don’t want to deal with the awkwardness of deleting her. More brilliance on Facebook’s part!

Imagine if you could do this in real life! Wait, in real life, if you did that, you would literally have to hide inside your house from someone who thought you were friends or never answer their calls, which would become tedious and stressful, to say the least.

In the end, people will do what they will on Facebook and other sites like it. No one has to participate if they don’t want to.

The way people behave on social sites such as Facebook as opposed to real-life is utterly fascinating to me.

In the real world, you could never get away with just dismissing someone you are talking to just because you don’t agree with their opinion like you can on Facebook. Well, you could do it, but there would be actual consequences and awkwardness because the person would be standing right there in front of you.

Talking directly to your boss as opposed to ranting about him/her on Facebook is entirely different. It’s non-confrontational to slam someone on Facebook, not to mention passive-aggressive. But all of us Facebookers do it at some point. And at some point, we will be victims of it too.

The idea of keeping an online friend around just to be able to say I have an extra friend on my friend’s list is not a convincing motivator for me. Family members and extended family members who drive you crazy on Facebook — well — those can be tricky and you’ll have to sort that one out on your own.

There are ways you can block or restrict the most obnoxious of your family or friends lists to limit your interaction with them without causing much real-life harm. But, as with everything online, that will be up to your own discretion.

But you need to ask yourself, do I want to be free on Facebook to say and do as I please even if I get deleted by someone? OR do I want to go about my time online offending as few people as possible and gain 20 more frenemies?

The choice is yours.

More from Michelle: Sometimes You Just Have to Call Bullsh*t on Yourself

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Michelle Brown

Written by

Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there. www.theponderingnook.com

Self, Inspired.

Exploring the self, improving the self.

Michelle Brown

Written by

Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there. www.theponderingnook.com

Self, Inspired.

Exploring the self, improving the self.

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