I’m Deleting a Lot of My Facebook Friends and You’re Probably Next — The [Fairer Se]X Files
When I got on Facebook way back in 2004, it was a network created specifically for college students. In order to join, you had to have a college email address. We all migrated over from Myspace and Friendster and left "testimonials" on each other's walls, because we had no idea what we were supposed to do. Today, Facebook is getting really creepy, and so last night I decided to start making some edits.
Before I started de-friending I had almost 1,000 Facebook friends. Maybe it sounds silly, but the task of editing seemed really daunting. I kept putting it off, wondering what it really meant to delete someone in this new era we live in, where Facebook seems to be the default way to both disperse information and keep in touch with people. "I posted it" has become the only language necessary, everyone knows where.
For a while, facebook events were a pretty good way to find out about things going on in your city, or in your group of friends. After roughly 600 invitations to events titled: "I LOST MY PHONE!!," though, I turned off notifications, because that is really, really annoying.
Facebook is it's own world with it's own still-developing set of rules and customs. It has a lot of pretty great uses, but in order to get anything out of it, you have wade through a sea of over-sharing, instagrammed brunch photos, and cryptic breakup lyrics posted by your best friend from middle school, who still lives at home. Facebook is pretty embarassing right now, y'all. We need to tighten up.
For a while, if someone requested my friendship and I knew them, I would accept. It made sense at the time -- sure, I'll connect with you, why not? Now, though, I'm realizing that the tool that I used to share things with my close friends and family who are far away has also shared them with people who I'm not sure I want looking. Last night I began the process of taking back control, and culled my list from 900-something to a little over 750. I woke up this morning, and guess what? Pretty sure I haven't missed anything awesome.
Here are some of the people I deleted, who you should probably also delete, ASAP:
1. My 5th Grade Teacher
She was awesome -- I know that because I still remember her name, and not many others. When I found out she was on Facebook, though, I requested her friendship for one reason, and one reason only: to clear my conscience.
You see, there was something in our classroom called the "prize apple," a big, red hollow apple-shaped box that was full of cheap toys and delicious snacks. If you had the most gold stars that week, you were permitted to choose something from the prize apple. I never got to choose, ever, because I was a bad kid. In true form, three of us stole some Hostess cupcakes from the unattended stash, and were promptly ratted on. My two accomplices confessed, but I never did. Until she accepted my friendship, and an opportunity presented itself, by way of the kind of Facebook status only your mom and your elementary school teacher would ever post:
2. Dude I Made Out With in San Juan This One Time
He was all of 23 years old, and on a solo backpacking adventure through Puerto Rico. I was a 28-year-old on vacation who had escaped her pregnant traveling companion for the afternoon, so I was drunk on freedom. We met in a dive and he got me even drunker, and we explored the slums of San Juan together all afternoon. Eventually, we made out at end of a pier while the cruise line repeatedly called my cell number, threatening to leave without me. We ran to my ship and he yelled "You might be the last one, but you have the best story!" as I tripped over my own drunk feet, on the long sprint down the dock to the boat.
Some things best left in Puerto Rico.
3. Racist, Conservative Family Member
I don't even really want to talk about it. Just, no. Maybe it's because I am a child of divorce, but I just don't feel the need to keep in touch with jerks just because we share a bloodline. Thanks but no thanks; see you at the next funeral.
4. People I Hated in High School
I didn't like them then, and I don't want to see pictures of their weird, fat little Long Island babies with bows on their heads, now. A few years ago, I received an onslaught of friend requests from these people when our 10-year reunion approached. I accepted them under the idea that a lot of time had passed, and it was wrong to judge people based on their 18-year-old selves, since we were all pretty terrible.
Once I joined the reunion group on FB, though, it was clear that nothing had changed and that they were still gross spoiled brats. I got banned from the FB group after posting these two things on the wall, which were promptly deleted, and thank god I took screenshots:
5. Creepy Dude Who I Barely Remember
Two nights ago I was on Facebook chat, scheming a visit with a friend, and I got an alert that this dude I vaguely know from my past "liked" this profile photo:
Okay, sure, thanks. But then, I kept getting alerts as he "liked" a LOT of my profile photos, and I started to feel weird. So I attempted to make it less creepy and passive by sending him a chat message: "You creepin' on me? :)" Nope, no response. He just kept right on liking photos.
I de-friended him right quick, because I realized that I could not stop him from looking at me, and it was weird and gross and I felt oddly violated and exposed. It made me wonder: How many other people on my list are people who I absentmindedly accepted, who are being creepy voyeurs or otherwise judging/assessing me, without ever talking to me? Gross, not interested.
After work tonight I have a date with one of my best friends to drink a lot of wine and sit on our laptops, de-friending. Not busy tonight? Do the same. Let's take it back! A little self-editing is good for the soul.
Jackie Mancini is the associate editor of GuySpeed and an unabashed lover of large breasts, porno, foul mouths and loud music. Her childhood diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is most likely responsible for her current position as the only female employee of a men’s website. Her column ‘The [Fairer Se]X Files’ appears every Wednesday. You can read more of her work here, and you can also follow her on Twitter.