How “Unfriending” Will Set You Free

Unfriending is not a sin.

So, I recently responded to a post on Facebook that broached a political topic. (I know, I know—I should have known better than to even get involved.) I won’t say what the discussion was about, because they usually all end up the same way anyway: one or more people responding with hyperbolic, fallacy-ridden claims that have nothing to do with the original point or discussion. After a couple comments back and forth, I decided just to hit “unfriend.”

Some people might think this is harsh, but when it comes down to it, we’re not even “real” friends. We used to know each other in high school, but now she lives a life that is completely opposite of mine. Her posts are generally about her children (whom I’ve never met), or they’re in support of political viewpoints that I don’t identify with. Basically, her day-to-day updates add no value to my life, and her ideas don’t contribute to my overall happiness or knowledge.

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’re fed up with a random acquaintance’s frequent posts about their cat/baby/religion/political views. Or maybe you’re fueling a broken heart by Facebook-stalking an ex (or worse—their new paramour). Just stop. Unfriend. (Or at the very least, unsubscribe to their posts.) You won’t be missing out on some vital piece of information by uncluttering your news feed. “Most information is time consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence,” attests Timothy Ferriss in The 4-Hour Workweek. I certainly think that applies here.

What it really comes down to is just saying no to things that unnecessarily suck the energy out of you. Just think about it as a balancing act. Does this [insert here] job/person/friend/client/activity ultimately give me happiness or does it take away from my happiness? If it’s a happiness killer, just cut it out. Stop doing it. Learn how to say no. Once you start practicing this, it’s surprising how much control you actually have over eliminating things that drag you down.

“What you stop doing is just as important as what you start and continue to do,” says Danielle LaPorte (yes, her again). “Stopping what’s distracting, draining or aggravating doesn’t require any heavy lifting or extra stamina—just love and self-respect.” So have a little self-respect this week, and start detoxing your life of things that are unnecessarily annoying. Who knows, it might even make a little extra room for those people and activities you do enjoy.

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2 thoughts on “How “Unfriending” Will Set You Free

  1. I look at this differently; I have no reason to unfriend them, because I can simply hide them from my news feed and set up a simple list of “close” friends for posts. This achieves a slew of things:

    1) They aren’t potentially “hurt” if they see I’ve unfriended them.
    2) I don’t see their bullshit posts.
    3) My posts that likely will provoke inane comments won’t be seen by them.
    4) My public posts can be seen by them, if they haven’t hidden me.

    No. 4 is pivotal, because I’m an ego-maniac, so I like to think that certain things I write or link to are interesting to the world at large, and that I’m influential in some way. I can cut them out of discussions they won’t be constructive in and I can hide their stupid posts, but I can still have the satisfaction of somehow impacting their life, and they can still (incorrectly) think they’re impacting mine. Everyone wins.

    • Hahaha Shawn, I can always count on you for good feedback. I do agree with your solution, especially for the reasons you listed. I think I probably just derive some small sense of satisfaction by cutting them out of my life and knowing that I’ve made a clean break. Maybe I’ll just have to take a closer look at my Facebook settings.

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