The Unfriending

Before I left for Minnesota last Friday, I announced to the world of Facebook that I was going to be paring down my “friend” list.  I had been contemplating who are my real friends, and who are just people that I read all about my life on a daily basis.

I’ve always been picky about who I “friend” on Facebook, ever since Josh got me on there.  My first rule was that I would not friend any “parental-type units”.  That means I ignored friend requests from my in-laws, parents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else that I would consider a “parental-type”.  I stuck to that across the board, and nobody seemed to mind except my husband.  He even went so far as to log into my account and secretly friend his dad for me. Which I immediately noticed and rectified.  But I digress…

My other “rule” was that if you want to be my friend on Facebook, I have to know you in real life.  But I didn’t necessarily deem it necessary that we be friends in real life.  So I friended people I didn’t know very well, people I haven’t seen or heard from since elementary school, etc.  I enjoyed finding out what was going on in people’s lives, even if in real life I would only give them a passing “Hi, how are you?” and expect nothing but a “Fine, thanks!” in return.  I liked seeing what had happened with people I knew as a child or in high school, kids I had babysat for long ago (which served to make me feel old), and what movies my cousin Rhett was watching.  I refrained from accepting friend requests from clients and customers, but over time the line became blurry.

This is not to say that I was a friend whore.  Unlike my husband who boasts over 1500 friends, the most I ever had (i.e. before Monday, October 17th) was around the 250 mark.  But I began to feel over-exposed. Were the things I was saying on Facebook for these 250 people to see things that I would tell them if I was sitting right there with them?  Overwhelmingly, the answer was no.  And even when I didn’t tell Facebook everything I wondered why I didn’t.  If these were my real friends, I would tell them everything.  Not a one of them would be in the dark about losing the baby in August.  Not a one of them would not understand why I posted a particular bible verse or song reference.  But I realized that most of these people didn’t know, and I would never tell them.

So I decided to begin defriending.  When I told Josh what I was doing, he first of all lobbied particularly strongly for a friend that I know for a fact he doesn’t care for.  It took me about 4 years to realize this particular friend was mean, judgmental, and bossy and I had already withdrawn from her in real life as much as I could seeing as how we still saw each other regularly.  I couldn’t believe he thought I should keep her as a friend on Facebook!  Someone who consistently has a comment that looks friendly but because I knew her so well I know what she’s really thinking when she writes it.  I assured him that I did not need this friend, and defriended her anyway.

Secondly, he assured me that there would be, as he put it, “fall out”.  So far, I haven’t really seen this.  I did have someone request to be added back as my friend, and I considered it seriously before replying back to her, explaining my position and what I was attempting to do, and adding her back.  I also saw one derisive comment from my mean friend, and I just deleted it.  And if she calls me out on it, I’ll have no problem telling her that our friendship has run its course.  In fact, its course was run about two years ago.

I’m done having friends that my husband doesn’t approve of, friends that I am friends with just out of morbid curiosity as to the goings-ons of their lives.  I’m done censoring myself for fear of saying something someone won’t like, or having to hide someone’s posts because I’m tired of their opinions that are so opposite of mine.  I’m done blabbing about my life to a group of people who largely won’t care what I have to say.

Mainly, I want to be Facebook friends with my close friends, the ones I would call if I had a problem, or cry in front of if I needed to.  The ones who have been with me through thick and thin, or who I hope will be in the future. I want to keep around the Facebook friends who are a positive influence in my life, whose posts I have never read and gone “what?!?!”.  The ones who love me and my family for who we are.  And who will not make fun of me and my hubby for writing love notes on each others’ walls. 🙂

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