Facebook makes it easy to reconnect with old friends and make new ones too. Yet as your Facebook friend count starts to rise – and your conversations begin to cool – you may decide it’s time to pare down the list.
How can you end Facebook friendships without hurting anyone’s feelings? People add Facebook friends for many reasons. No matter their pre-Facebook connection, some friends emerge as fun online cohorts, while others fade into the background. Then there are those Facebook friends whose comments make you cringe and regret ever clicking “accept”.
• Facebook Friendegories
The type of Facebook friendship makes a difference when you’re ready to cut friends loose. Most Facebook friends fall into common categories, or “friendegories”. Considering a person’s friendegory, may make it a lot easier to approach the big goodbye.
Barely Knew Them Then, Barely Know Them Now
Blame it on your initial excitement or an optimistic hope that anyone could be your next best friend. Either way, you now have a slew of friends despite the fact that you haven’t exchanged a single comment in months, if ever.
The good news is these psuedo-friends probably won’t even notice if you cut them from your list. They may even be relieved that one of you finally ended the friendship sham. Just hit delete. If they message to ask why, keep it simple. Say you were cutting your list down to those you chat with the most.
Added for the App
You’ve gotten addicted to Mafia Wars, YoVille, or some other app that makes you recruit friends to unlock features or rewards. To build your crew, you’ve friended other players, but are now ready to give them the boot.
Like the previous friendegory, these superficial friends should be easy to dump. Delete them and you’re unlikely to hurt their feelings. If someone takes offense, Facebook lets you block users who won’t leave you alone.
Sort of Knew Them Then, Don’t Care to Know Them Now
Here’s where things get sticky. This friendegory begins with good intentions but leaves you with less than desirable friends. Some are nice, but too chatty. Others are obnoxious. These people attempt to stay in touch, but you wish they wouldn’t. Before defriending, you might consider some alternatives (see below).
If you want to stay in touch- just not through Facebook, you could also send a personal message explaining that you’re cutting back on Facebook, but want to stay in touch in other ways. If you don’t want to stay in touch – just hit delete. If they message to ask why, give them the cutting back on Facebook response and leave it at that.
Friends Until a Falling Out
After a major fight, relationship breakup, or other problem, it won’t be a surprise if you delete a Facebook friend. Whatever the case, try not to put your mutual friends in the middle. They shouldn’t have to choose sides or deal with your drama.
Alternatives to DeFriending
You may find have friends that don’t easily fit in any of the previously mentioned friendegories. Maybe they’d fall more into a “Sort of Want to Know Them, but Not That Much” friendegory. Or perhaps a “Love Them in Real Life, Don’t Need the Daily Details” kind of friendegory.
What do you do with the friends that you don’t want to cut loose, but you’d like to see a little less often? Facebook lets you customize how much (or how little) you share with your friends. There are also ways for you to hear less from those chatty, app-sharing friends of yours.
Facebook privacy settings control who sees your activities. Different parts of your profile (basic info, status updates, photos, etc.) can each be set with their own privacy settings. By choosing the customize option you can exclude networks, individual friends, or a whole friend list.
The News Feed and Wall section of the privacy settings lets you control who sees your activities. If you don’t want the comments you make on a friend’s wall to be seen in your mutual friend’s news feeds, you can change that setting here.
Hidden News Feeds
Simply hover over any of post in your news feed and a “Hide” link will appear in the upper right corner of the post. This keeps a chatty friend’s gazillion posts from cluttering up your news feed.
To bring their posts back, scroll to the bottom of your news feed and click where it says “Edit Options”. A list of hidden feeds will appear and you can unhide whomever you choose.
Ignore Requests and Block Applications
Do you have some friends that bury you in application requests? To stop the flood, simply click the “Ignore All Invites From This Friend” link at the bottom of any request they have sent.
It may not be one friend that sends a barrage of requests. It could be multiple friends that send the same popular app over and over again. If you just do not want to start a Lil Green Patch, join Mafia Wars, or adopt a Hatchling, then click the “Block This Application” link and never be bothered (by that app) again.
Facebook is a relatively new form of socializing. It’s bound to have its ups and downs. Use tact and common sense when deleting friends. Remember that Facebook does not send notifications to people when you delete or block them. You’re not obliged to accept every friend request you receive and you have every right to say goodbye when you feel the time is right.