When you’re young, you sling around all of those quotes about what makes a real friend… someone who is honest, loyal, has your back, will shut down rumors about you, will laugh with you and cry with you… and as you get older, you somehow narrow down your “friends” and realize who those people truly are.
Psychology Today reports “Dunbar’s number,” proposed by anthropologist Robin Dunbar in 1992, is a commonly used assessment of the number of relationships we are cognitively capable of keeping straight; that number is 150.” Whereas, a Huffington Post study shows that most americans just have 2 close friends.
So, in looking at these numbers, I see that I have 598 Facebook friends (189 fewer than 2 weeks ago). Apparently only 2 of these are close friends and only 150 of them are real relationships. The latter number is the one I will put more weight on, because I know which of my Facebook friends are my “close” friends. I started thinking about this topic after reading a blog post by one of my graduate professors regarding unfriending on Facebook. Dr. McArthur claims that unfriending leaves a mark… but I have to wonder, does it really?
I bet more than half of the people I unfriended over the past 2 weeks haven’t even realized it yet. It started when I saw someone post about a TV show they were dying to see that night and said “SOA kant kum soon enuf!” It probably wouldn’t have been bad if it was a 5-year old who was learning to spell that wrote that, but it’s someone I graduated high school with. I almost immediately deleted her (after showing a classmate the nonsense that was posted). I then moved on the to chronic political status post-ers. It was debate night, so it made it fairly easy for me to do this. Now… to clarify, I did not just delete people because they are campaigning for the opposing party, I deleted them because they are close-minded individuals with pea-size brains who do not understand a whole story before they bash a candidate for it or promote a candidate for it. Those are the ones that I do not care to see on my newsfeed.
Yes, I know I could have just changed my preferences to remove their posts from my newsfeed until after election season, but part of me just doesn’t believe that they add any value to my life so there’s no need for their posts to be viewed. That takes me to the next round of people that I deleted… those that I met at college parties and haven’t talked to since. WE ARE NOT FRIENDS. I honestly am a little appalled at myself for creating such a collection of people like this and allowing them access to my life for all these years. Delete, delete, delete!
Now, I’ve unfriended my fair share of folks, and I’ve probably been unfriended by equally as many. Only twice can I think of that I thought, “man, that sucks, I thought we were friends.” It didn’t really hurt, was just more of a bummer that I couldn’t see what was going on anymore. Isn’t that what Facebook is for anyway? To see how much fun other people are having in their lives and live vicariously through them?