• Keeping Friends

In the Media – The awkwardness of defriending

Published: November 26, 2008 | Last Updated: February 10, 2017 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

David Spark, a new media consultant and producer, interviewed me a few evenings ago on the awkwardness of social network defriending (e.g, taking someone off your friends list on Facebook, Linked In, MySpace, or Twitter). Here is the link to David’s piece called The Awkwardness of De-friending. (You may notice that the jury is still out on whether defriending is hyphenated.)

Since there are no commonly accepted rules on the etiquette of how to go about ending face-to-face friendships, imagine how murky the rules of behavior are in defriending in cyberspace. The act of defriending is as easy as hitting a key but your decision can have long-lasting repercussions, both for you and the person you defriend.

My advice: Before you defriend someone, face-to-face or in cyberspace, take time to think before you act. Depending on the nature of your relationship, cutting someone off on social media can be the emotional equivalent of being jilted or jilting someone else. If the friendship was once meaningful and you change your mind after you’ve defriended someone, your relationship will never be the same. Don’t let your fingers work more quickly than your mind.

David also wrote a piece published on Mashable, 12 Great Tales of De-friending and another on his own blog When technology tells us we have no friends. You may want to take a look at one of my earlier blog entries too, Online friending and defriending patterns.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Irene says:


    See  my response to your post: http://www.fracturedfriendships.com/blog/reader-q-a-should-breaking-be-a-blame-game

    Thanks for writing.





  2. Anonymous says:

    When you break up with a friend, is it really necessary to “give advice” about what they should do in the future, or is it better to focus on the problems within the relationship you were personally involved with?

    I just got dumped by a friend who went on to say some very hurtful things under the guise of giving advice and saying she still cared about me, even if she didn’t want to be friends anymore. It just felt like having salt rubbed into the wound — she insulted my parents, my family, me, and cast doubt on my other relationships (none of which I’d been having trouble with), all while supposedly trying to help me be a better friend.

    I know she was just trying to give me a good explanation, but is it really necessary? I’ve always tried to focus just on why it wasn’t working for me when I end a friendship, not try to give advice on how they should behave with other friends; it just seems like it’s enough to leave it implied.

    I also do a bit of the “It’s not you, it’s me” approach if I really care about the person but just can’t handle them anymore, since I don’t believe in putting all the blame on the other person when breaking up even if I feel that way –it just seems too hurtful/unfair. Is this correct, or is it ok to come out and say that it was all the other person’s fault?

    And when you break up with a friend, do you also unfriend them on Facebook/myspace? What am I supposed to think if she tells me she has no desire to have me in her life, then doesn’t unfriend me on Facebook?

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