The Unfriending Game - Why I Chose to Minimize and Completely Change My Facebook
I'd finally had enough. After years and years of collecting "friends" and acquaintances on Facebook, the maintenance had become exhausting, and I no longer recognized half the people showing up in my feeds.
As I scanned over my facebook, I was alerted I had a friend request. Upon clicking on the notification I then saw I had almost 200 facebook friend requests in my queue. "Wow," I thought, "who are all these people?" I then looked to see that I had nearly 5,000 facebook friends on my account. It didn't take long before I was clicking through my friend list to see who all these people were because, I certainly don't have that many friends in real life. As I scrolled through the never ending list of names I thought over, and over, and over again, "I don't know who this is!" And then I thought, "all of these people I don't know have access to my personal life and information about my children."
That did it, I started from the oldest friends and started working my way up. High School friends I haven't spoken to, well, since high school - gone. Same with college friends. If we haven't communicated and kept up, then I was ok saying goodbye. Former coworkers that I haven't spoken to since working together were crossed off the list as well. This seemed like it was going to be a never ending task, and it was! This was a large list to scale down but it had to be done, it just had to be.
I found myself in a really tough spot when it came to business relations. Being in network marketing for years lends itself to "friend" collecting and it was hard to let them go, but I had to remind myself, this person doesn't actually know me and I have separate business pages and groups for this purpose. Some I've never met and only follow me because they saw me on a video. Some I'd collected while presenting a large number of online style events and we friend requested each other, though we never made a connection or built a relationship.
I had to remind myself time and time again that, I don't owe people I don't know, anything. And that sounds so mean! I'm a people pleaser through and through but a boundary had to be set in order to reduce stress and pressure I felt from social media. If people want to follow me then they can follow my group, page, or Linkedin where I have limited personal and family information listed. My personal facebook is reserved for the actual friends and relationships that pour into my life.
I also found that many of the other network marketers I worked with were no longer with the same company. In network marketing, it's very common for people to start and stop their business or switch to different companies, but if I hadn't built a relationship with them then it was time to cut off the facebook "friendship."
Throughout this process I had to remind myself that these people don't really care that much about me, I'm not that important to them. It's social media for goodness sake. I actually removed so many people, #facebook blocked me from unfriending anyone else! Dale Carnegie has a great quote that says, "Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems." Research even supports we're only able to maintain 150 relationships!
I bought into the lie years ago that the number of friends you had was a status symbol, like an award or crown to be worn. Oh, I have this many friends, I must be popular. But alas, this isn't the case. You're simply filled with a list of people who probably never see what you're doing because facebook algorithms don't allow them to.
Through this processes I made a few "oopsies" and had to re-friend a few people and message them letting know I accidentally unfriended them in my quest for simplicity. At this point I went from nearly five thousand down to around one thousand and I could scale it down even more if I wanted to. I then even went through the facebook groups I was a part of and started leaving them! It's really very freeing!
If you feel the need to do this in your own account I found the following questions to ask myself. You can even ask the same questions for groups. It almost felt as if I were cleaning out a closet of clothing, some were easy and some were hard.
1. Do I know who this person is?
2. Do I like this person?
3. Does this person bring joy, or stress to my life?
4. Have I talked to this person in the last few years?
5. Am I only friends because I feel obligated?
6. Does this person often put out negative and hateful posts that bring me down?
Now I've already listed why I unfriended many but here are some reasons I kept friends.
1. They make me happy. And I actually know who they are.
2. I enjoy being involved in their lives even if we don't see each other regularly.
3. We have been connected and give each other positive and constructive criticism in life.
4. They're family
5. They're current friends I network with in business and have become true friends not just business acquaintances.
6. Our kids are friends and go/have gone to school together and social media is a great way to share information.
Now when I scroll through my friend list it makes me smile! I know who each of these people are and they make me happy! I'm not telling you you need to unfriend anyone or leave any groups. I'm in the process of finding what balance works for me, what brings me happiness, and what stress I can remove from my life. I love social media and don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater but there must be limitations to what people can see, especially when you have young kids. See what works best for you and brings you happiness. Enjoy those you have and be engaged in every moment.