The Fine Art of Facebook Unfriending


Has Facebook turned into the virtual equivalent of your “daily elimination”? You know, something that’s vaguely gratifying once in awhile, that you’re not sure you ever really enjoyed, but that you’re almost certainly going to do every day? We’re here to help. At the crux of most people’s frustrations with Facebook is that its fundamental appeal to vanity causes people to friend more people than they actually want to interact with, and then the prospect of unfriending these people you actually detest becomes some obsessive internal dialog that only troubles you, often leading to all sorts of silly passive-aggressive actions. One useful thing to remember when managing your Facebook connections is that the other person has no idea how the imaginary fight you’ve had with them in your head has led to your agonized mental state, and as much as you hate the imaginary them in your head, they may still have value either as entertainment or as surveillance. As Don Corleone said:

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”



The Birthday Unfriend

This little move is ingenious, yet surprisingly few people are aware of it even though it’s been around for a while. It was probably conceived by people who were in college when Facebook went public, meaning that as they entered real life and the working world, they were burdened with well over a thousand friends, because in college, having less meant you were a misanthropic misfit loser. How does it work? When you get birthday notifications, if the person doesn’t register as any kind of truly meaningful connection, UNFRIEND them. They won’t notice, thanks to the distraction of all their Hallmarky Facebook birthday wishes, and it saves you the agony of scrolling through your friends list pondering the value of all the humans you know. It’s low-key and self-scheduling; in a year, your list will be all cleaned up!


If you don’t want to deal with your own neurotic inability to decide whether or not you want to be connected to someone on Facebook, simply unfollow them. Odds are that having to view yet ANOTHER picture of their lunch or ignorant political rant is at the root of your frustration, and you’d otherwise probably not even remember they exist! Go to your friends list, hover over a name, and use the dialog box that pops up:


Change Your Feed Settings!

The Facebook interface has become far worse than anything the developers of the Microsoft Windows interface ever DREAMED of creating. The simplest setting is always buried six menus deep, usually under some misleading name. To change your newsfeed preferences, look for that little arrow in the upper right and click on it. You’ll get a dropdown like this:

Facebook Settings Dropdown

When you click on “News Feed Preferences”, you’ll get a window like this:

Preferences Dialog

You’re on your own now. Hope we make the cut!

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