Why I Unfriend.

I had a discussion last night about the small group of friends I keep on Facebook, reflecting on the topic today and why I like to keep the friend’s I do have, and  unfriend the rest.

Over the last few years I have felt consistently happy with my group of friends.  This is a long stretch of happiness I have encountered every day since I decided to unfriend these friends from my life that I no longer speak to often or relate to anymore.

Over this same amount of time, I have unfriend a multitude of people out of my life and on Facebook (I once had a Facebook friend list of 400+. ) that have dragged me down in one way or another: energy-zappers, promoters of bad habits, judgmental jerks, people who write nasty comments on my Facebook posts etc.

Since cutting some friends from my life, I have found:

  • More freedom.
  • Less gossip.
  • Bonds with my truly supportive friends grew stronger because I put more effort into those relationships.
  • I now attract more like-minded positive people into my life- the others get cut fast.

It sounds harsh, there are benefits and drawbacks to unfriending your friends – I’ve found that I’ve felt more free after cutting the ties with some people, but I’ve felt regret in other cases.

I have had friendships that I kept because I only wanted to see the good times, and I was in denial that we didn’t have anything in common anymore.  I’ve maintained friendships that sucked the life out of me, because this person had stuck with me through my hard times, I felt like I owed it to them to listen to their negativity and complaining… every day.

I had to ask myself – “Why am I still friends with this person?” and “How do I feel after I hang out with this person?”

Do I feel drained, bad about myself, doubtful, depressed, frustrated, angry, or in any other way negative after most of our meetings?  Do I dread seeing this person?  When they call, do I avoid it?  If I’ve answered yes, it’s time for me to reassess the reason that I’m keeping this friendship.

When I’ve had enough with the way I’m being treated or the lack of positivity I’m getting from a friend, it’s time for me to be honest with both myself and the person in question. This is where I do the wrong thing through simply not talking to them anymore.  It’s disrespectful, juvenile and mean, but it works.  I unfriend them from Facebook, remove their mobile number from my phone, and don’t ask or talk about them with mutual friends.

Not all the friends I unfriend off Facebook are because of negative reasons.  Sometimes it’s because I don’t know the person well enough eg. people from high-school, old workplaces, that one random person I had a great night with in a club, and have never spoken to again.

I have 4 friends who are not on Facebook for their own reasons, 1 of them I can’t seem to unfriend from my life.  I limit the time I spend with them, when they call to complain about their day, I’m clear at the start that I can only talk for 10 minutes, then I have to run.   When she pressures me into spending time together, I tell her I have other engagements on that day and I’ll make time for her down the track.  It’s been a one way street friendship for a year or so now, she always contacts me first, I reply if she’s positive, if its negative news (other than a family members death), I ignore her and her spiraling negativity.

I am really good at cutting off friends.  So good, in fact, that I sometimes jump to this step prematurely and break a relationship that has a chance to improve.  I don’t hate confrontation, I just go out of my way to avoid it, and I owe much of my happiness these past years to the fact that I have gotten better at dealing with confrontation and communication with my closer friends, friends I want to be confronted by if somethings wrong as I really want to keep them on my friends list.

When you cut a friendship, there’s no going back.  Early this year an old friend called me up (my ex-best-friend) and asked why I had stopped talking to her after her marriage ended, and I apologized for abruptly ending the relationship without explanation, and that because I was best-friends with both her and her ex-husband that I didn’t want to be stuck in the middle of all the drama that comes with a break-up.  She accepted the apology and told me how much it had hurt her (it had hurt me also losing them both), and that she didn’t think our friendship could ever be the same.  I agreed, and I have come to terms with the fact that my screw-up wasted a solid relationship because I ended it and ran for the hills.

Therefore, I always make sure that the reason I’m cutting ties with friends are the right ones.



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