It happens to people all the time. You go to someone’s profile on Facebook and realize, “whoops” you are no longer friends!
Discovering that someone has “un-friended” you can bring back a whole slew of high school emotions and make you feel slighted by that individual.
For a business owner, that is not good. Imagine your client telling someone the story about you and your maturity level and how you “un-friended” them on Facebook for no good reason! I am guessing that is NOT the kind of word of mouth marketing you were hoping to achieve.
It happens every day though. You look at your Facebook news feed and some of the same people show up over and over and over again and one day you just feel like you have had enough and, the only thing you know to do is remove them as your friend.
Or, maybe you have a perceived indifference with this individual and you remove them. Perhaps they post something that has nothing to do with you, but you take it personally and, click – “unfriended”.
Sometimes, you can even press a button and don’t realize that you have actually done it (trust me, it happens to all of us!)!
Now, all that said. There are some good reasons why you may not want to be friends with certain people.
Maybe in the beginning, you accepted strangers as friends and now you want to remove them. Maybe your biggest competitor is commenting on every post and you want them to stop. There are hundreds of legitimate reasons for wanting to sever a connection with someone – and that is okay.
But, even in these situations, we should use proper etiquette and take others’ feelings into account. There are some ways to minimize the interaction without making it so permanent and obvious. Some people have a software set up to track and know every time they are un-friended so, although you might think they are too busy to notice – they may very well notice immediately.
My suggestions are:
- Don’t sever a friendship in the heat of the moment. That is what your teenage alter ego would do. If it is someone you really know, take a bit of time to think about how you might make that person feel before you do something so drastic.
- Make them an acquaintance instead of a friend. If you want some of your postings to just show up for friends start grouping people by close friend or acquaintance. This allows you to control what they see on your profile.
- Remove their updates from your news feed. If they are a former client don’t be so quick to completely remove them. If their posts make you crazy simply take them out of your news feed by unsubscribing to their updates. They will not know you have done this.
One last thing – before you take it personally, check in with that person if their friendship matters to you.
One time, I noticed someone I knew well was no longer my friend. I sent them a note and asked if I had done something to offend them as I noticed we were no longer friends on Facebook. They responded immediately to tell me they had been having all kinds of problems on Facebook and had no idea what happened and immediately sent me a friend request.
Your online reputation matters and while making a choice not to maintain a friendship is a personal matter, when you do it on Facebook it sort of is a public statement to that person. Only you can decide if you want that decision to be so permanent.
Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear your “Accidental UnFriends” story!