Monday, October 28, 2013


I hit my Facebook "Unfriend" button for the first time today, and have been reflecting about it since.

Previously, I edited the settings of Facebook friends, to control how many and which types of posts appear on my News Feed. But today's problem was from the other end - a contact requesting I no longer post in a way they dislike.

It's an interesting problem. If something appears on my news feed about which I have a strong opinion, I usually respond, as it is after all on my feed - visible to all my friends, thus leaving it uncommented upon gives the appearance of agreement. Having friends of widely varied views, I keep comments cheerful and polite, and avoid goring oxen in such a public setting.

Today, that wasn't enough. Accused of something I hadn't done, and not knowing what I could do to please while still respecting myself, I hit "Unfriend."

Matthew 18:16-18 suggests when someone offends us, we should first go to them in private. That didn't happen today, which raises the interesting question of whether I in turn should go first in private. Several articles I read today advised not to - just hit the "Unfriend" button; don't rub anyone's nose in it and don't tell them why unless asked. On the other hand, if my action is ever noticed, I'll be happy to accept a new Friend request, and we can then discuss how they too can prune posts they don't want to see.

Update 6/28/17: As noted above, I usually just unfollow folks whose opinions on my Facebook newsfeed add stress to my life. But for some reason that stopped working this week. I unfollowed 3 Facebook friends as usual, but the changes did not stick. They were instantly back in my newsfeed, showing as followed. Even using a different browser to unfollow them had no effect. After realizing all 3 now live 2,000 miles away and are never likely to be in the same room as me again, and haven't posted anything I needed to read in recent years, I went ahead and unfriended them.

But here's hoping Facebook gets the unfollow feature working again soon.

Update 11/12/17: Turns out this issue isn't only in virtual communities. I resigned from a volunteer committee yesterday morning. It had been stressful for some time due to a long-standing issue some on the committee just couldn't ever fully face, and a stress-related ailment of mine triggered again this week, which I took as a clear sign to remove this stress from my life. As Kenny Rogers once sang "You've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them."

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