Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Facebook "Unfriend:" Is it Effective?

Sometimes I like to write about stupid stuff, but usually I like to write things that might either encourage or help someone else.  Today's blog post is a little ridiculous, yet hopefully helpful in some off-the-wall way. Since it's been on my mind off and on lately, and since I can offer an insider's view, I thought I might be able to help someone today by writing about "unfriending."

I'm talking, of course, about Facebook "friends" who remove other "friends" from their "friends" lists.  If this is something you ever find yourself considering, maybe a  glimpse into the reaction of one who has been "unfriended" might help you make up your mind. :)

Both my husband and I have been "unfriended" a couple times each, for political or worldview differences, and then just recently, we were served a double whammy when, in one fell swoop, we were both unfriended at   the same time by the same peeved person. 

We wish our unfrienders no ill-will whatsoever.  It's disappointing to have contact abruptly ended like that, but it's a choice the people have made, and there's nothing that can be done about it now.  So, the purpose of this blog post is not to embarrass anyone.  I certainly wouldn't mention names, even though they're not likely to see this.  This isn't really about them.  They've pretty much taken themselves out of the picture for now, as sad as that is.

No, this is for you, if you're considering being an unfriender.

More specifically, if you're thinking about unfriending someone for reasons other than being cursed at or otherwise harassed, stalked or abused via Facebook.*  That's another story altogether.  I'm not even referring to people who are just trying to shorten their friend lists. Nope.  To be even more specific, if you think you might want to unfriend someone because you don't like their God (or god(s))** or their politics, this is a secret you should know about:

Think twice!!  You may not leave the impression or get the reaction you were hoping for!

If you're looking to hurt the unfriended, I must admit you might have a bit of success there.  I'll give you that!  I personally have experienced a temporary sting at the first knowledge of an unfriending over differences.  Thoughts of, "Did the person really think so little of me as a whole person that he/she would just drop me altogether in a moment of irritation?"

It's not long, though, before the sting subsides in the remembrance of the fact that my worth does not lie in the thoughts, good or bad, of others.

When the sting wears away, what am I left with?  A sense of immaturity and intolerance on the part of the unfriender.  I'm not tempted to be swayed to his/her way of thinking.  I'm not falling apart because he/she has rejected my Facebook friendship.  I'm simply left feeling sorry for him/her, and, though I respect him/her as a person, I do not highly regard his/her way of handling things.

Sure, there are some people who thrive on people feeling sorry for them, and do all they can to keep people from regarding their ways highly.  By all means, the "Facebook unfriend" might be just the thing for them!  The people who have unfriended us, though, are not in that category, but it's too late to warn them about how they will come across!

If only I had thought about blogging about this sooner . . .

So, if you've already unfriended people over "silly" things (not the serious abuse mentioned above), there's not much you can do about it now, except to give it more thought next time you're tempted.  But if, now or in the future, you are contemplating that move, let me just encourage you to stop yourself!  You will be taken much more seriously, when you have a statement to make, if you state your opinion, agreeing or opposing, in a respectful way.  If you feel somebody isn't respectful in the way they present their opinions and beliefs, a loving reproof takes more courage, but is more effective than a passive aggressive "unfriending."

Either way, you have the freedom to unfriend and leave the impressions that go along with that if you wish.  And if I'm one you unfriend, I won't stop caring about you because of it--I'm sure there are many others who feel that way about their unfrienders as well.  I do, though, think it only fair to reveal the truth from an insider's point of view, so you can make an educated decision. ;)

And, take heart, any fellow unfriended  Facebook participants out there!  Maybe the word will spread in time! :)

*Harassment on Facebook is a serious problem and is in no way being included as part of the "silly" reasons people unfriend others.  And sometimes there can be a fine line there.  But I think people in general know the difference between when they are unfriending harmful FB acquaintances and when they are being petty about things.

**There, of course, is only one true God, but not everyone believes in Him, and that is a choice He allows them to make. :)

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I love knowing what's on your heart and mind! Your thoughts, opinions, questions and ideas are welcome here anytime. Differences are respected as long as they are written respectfully! :)