|Ah, for the good-old-days|
when a Friend was a friend...
I'm more concerned about DeFriending someone I do know, or did know, whom I no longer care to share details of my life. After a break-up or the loss of a job, I think it's healthy to DeFriend those who you no longer associate with if he/she a source of anxiety for you—or if you just want to move on without being reminded of the person's penchant for posting old Ziggy cartoons, or what not. And you may be doing a kindness to the DeFriended Friend as well—an act of Facebook Friend Compassion as it were. After a break-up, for example, the breakee may not want to receive constant reminders that the life he previously had with you still exists without him.
I was never one to Friend others willy nilly. In fact, I was rather a reluctant FaceBook conformist, a late-adaptor. In the fall of 2009, after my sisters (older sisters, no less) coerced me into signing up so I could see their photos and share mine, did I finally take the plunge. For a long time, I had about 25 friends and I'm sure I appeared to be an enormous loser. Maybe I was/still am. Now, of course, I'm on Facebook with regularity, posting my blogs and photos of Jack and checking in with friends and family. And now that I'm (almost) single, Facebook has taken on a new role in my life, too. Let's face it, a lot of people meet or re-meet on Facebook. Facebook itself sites a "limited study" in which 20% of divorces sited Facebook as one of the causes. And let me be clear, Facebook DID NOT cause my divorce! I did DeFriended my ex for a while when things were a bit contentious between us. (I've since ReFriended him, though.) But when a recent "person of interest" became a person no longer interested, I thought it in our mutual interest to DeFriend, go our separate cyber ways, move on. I think I'm justified in severing this tie.
For better and for worse, Facebook allows access to people who you might never be able to access otherwise, and I'm still getting used to that idea after my 15-year hiatus from the dating scene. Perhaps we extend our Friendship too blithely these days. I will certainly give more thought to Friending henceforth, and I reserve the right to DeFriend without feeling guilty for severing the virtual friendship after the real friendship is gone. Today the final blow may be waking up one morning to find you've been DeFriended, but in our world—where a relationship can be sustained virtually via jpeg, email and ichat—DeFriending, or being DeFriended, may be the ultimate act of kindness, or at least, of letting go.