The Facebook friendship is a sacred one.
But there comes a time for certain Facebook friendships to end.
Facebook defriending is part of our collective Internet culture. Sometimes it's enough to just hide someone from the news feed and avoid clicking on their profile. Other times, defriending is a necessary last resort.
"I find it amusing that people somehow think that Facebook (because it's new) is this weird form of interaction compared with others like the phone or interacting in large groups of people we don't know; but these too are very odd ways to interact socially in the long-term view of human social interactions," says Dr. Sam Gosling, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of the book Snoopology: What Your Stuff Says About You.
How many times have you met someone cool at a party, gotten their number or business card, and then friended them on Facebook? Essentially, this is another way to get to know a complete stranger who might one day become a friend.
"These new ways of communicating just seem odd because they split apart features of interactions that have formerly been connected," Gosling says. "So just as the phone allowed us to suddenly communicate with people by voice without seeing them of being close to them, Facebook now uncouples the acquaintance process (how much you know about a person) for the amount of time you spend directly interacting with that person. So in a sense it might be odd but no odder than things that have come before."
Explaining the Facebook Unfriend
"Even the most omnivorous collectors of friends acknowledge that sometimes it is necessary to cross out some names from their little black book," writes the New York Times' Alex Williams.
Nowadays, that "little black book" might be your Facebook profile. And that crossing out is the Facebook unfriend.
The real-life unfriending process might look more like someone just suddenly "getting busier," traveling more, or building other relationships and not inviting you into them. Perhaps on Facebook that person stops responding as quickly to your messages and wall posts. Then comes the Facebook unfriend. It happens.
The Unfriend Finder is a real-time script that shows who has unfriended you. Try it if you want. We don't recommend it.
Or try something less technologically inclined: Sit tight and know that drifting apart is a natural aspect of real-life and Facebook friendships.
But if you do Facebook unfriend someone, make sure you really mean it.