Unlike "hiding" friends on Facebook - where you exclude their posts from your newsfeed (and they never know), unfriending cuts the connection completely. It's forever.
When you unfriend people you're telling them that there's no place in your Facebook world for them. They are so offensive or obnoxious or boring that hiding isn't enough. You've got to cut the cord, slam the door, exclude them from your circle.
Men have a harder time with this concept than women - thinking that being defriended hurts, but men typically have a harder time with reconciling feelings ... oh, never mind.
Trust me, on this one. If you're using Facebook to advance your business, unfriending can cost you.
People Know When You Defriend
While Facebook doesn't officially notify the defriended, they usually figure it out. To unfriend a person, you must go to that person's page, scroll down to the bottom left and click on a link that says Remove from Friends - then respond to a pop-up menu that says Are you sure you want to remove [your friend's name here] as your friend?
Unfriending is never accidentally done.
You hear it all the time in friendly conversation. "She defriended me" or "I used to be that guy's friend on Facebook. I wonder if he unfriended me." Then there's the awkwardness of meeting the person you unfriended face-to-face. There's that quiet tension. Thoughts race - "Does he know I unfriended him? Is he still using Facebook? Geez, I hope I never need him for anything."
Yeah .. that's the rub - meeting the unfriended and needing something from her like a referral, or a recommendation or an invitation to participate in an networking event, or just to sit casually with her circle of friends. In the social world this is no big deal. But in the networking business world, it can be a killer. You'll find yourself praying the unfriended will forget your stupidly and not trash your name all over town.
If you don't like seeing someone's posts in your newsfeed, hide them. They'll never know. If you want to know what they're posting, visit their walls or unhide them. There's no cost.
There's a cost to defriending. If you're going to do it, be sure the value you get is worth it.
Some People Deserve to be Defriended
There are certain behaviors on Facebook that are unacceptable. Set your standards and have a formula you use for who gets defriended. It's easier to follow standards than to make an arbitrary decision in the midst of conflict or tension.
Here are some good reasons to defriend:
- Socially inappropriate behavior - judged the same virtually as person. Includes using profanity, suggestive language, inappropriate photos
- Flaming friends in the comments section of your post - flaming = heated / disrespectful confrontation
- Direct selling (only pushes a product or agenda on Facebook)
- Flinging moral judgements against you or your friends - preaching, prejudice, bigotry.
- Marginalizing your access to his or her wall. Through the Facebook privacy settings the friend allows a select group post to her wall, and see her postings, but you're not in that group. You're on the "B" list.
When in Doubt - Hide
If a Facebook friend has offended you, bored you and you're not sure if it will cost you to defriend, just hide the person. Unhide later... or never. You still won't be subjected to the undesirable behavior.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES: Consider who you allow to be your friend. If a request comes from someone you don't know, you've never met, or looks a little strange in her profile pic, qualify the potential friend first by sending a message. Your social media network is an asset. Manage it well and you'll become a magnet for opportunity. Mismanage it and its value and its power decreases.