Your Facebook friend counter is well over the 500 mark, yet can you list the names of even 20 people you know off the top of your head? It’s time you did a virtual clear out. This is easier said than done, as you now have to go through the tortuous process of deciding who is no longer worth the space on your newsfeed.
Deleting Facebook friends is like brushing your teeth – you know you need to be thorough, but if you go overboard you’ll only end up with bleeding gums and a fallen out tooth, and in the case of Facebook cleansings you might have to deal with completely different types of fall-outs. To aid you in your social networking purge, here is Leah Driscoll’s definitive guide to removing the gunk and keeping the gems of your friend list.
When to Delete
If you wouldn’t say hello to them in real life
Let this be the golden rule that guides you through the process. If you don’t know someone well enough to be comfortable saying hi, then why do you want unfettered access to their lives on Facebook? This rule tends to filter out secondary school classmates you never spoke to in the first place and other people you would really rather not speak to anymore.
If you met them once and doubt you’ll meet them again
Yes, drunken bathroom friend, it seemed totally natural to add you at the time and we really did think we would become the best of buddies, but sobriety and several months have made me realise that I neither know nor care who you are. Hit the unfriend button; there will be no hard feelings.
If you don’t care about their lives
Do note that you have a real distinction to make here. There is a difference between being irritated by someone’s statuses, and genuinely not giving a shit about pointless statuses. In what may be a controversial piece of advice: delete the boring and keep the irritating.
The irritating person may well become a great source of entertainment when some minor scandal most likely befalls them. You do not want to miss their online spat/eloping/short stint in prison. Think of your current irritation as an investment for your future entertainment.
If in Doubt – Hide From Newsfeed
The Greek gods have Zeus, the Facebook gods have Zuckerberg, and the latter has kindly provided us with the option of removing stupid people from your newsfeed without the permanency of deleting them altogether.
Best people to hide from your newsfeed:
Painfully pretty people: You don’t want to see them every day, but you definitely want to creep on the winners of the genetic lottery every once in a while.
PDA couples: You won’t want to see their endless selfies and announcements of love, but you will want to check if they have broken up or even have a look at their wedding photos, depending on how things work out for the two lovebirds.
People looking to advance their career through Facebook: You will get endless invites to events you’ll never attend, and be asked to like countless pages. They’ll share statuses and fish for likes and you don’t want to see any of that. Don’t burn any bridges just yet though- should their career plans work out, they could be a pretty handy contact to have.
Anyone who has decided to start a Youtube channel: They have decided to start make up tutorials, or have joined the fitness craze on Instagram – unless their account is actually quite good, you may as well hide their mediocrity from your daily feed.
If you see the recently de-friended in public again
Play it cool, for the love of god. Realistically, they care about your life just as little as you care about theirs and so they most likely have not even noticed you erased them from your virtual world. Deny you ever did it if they ask you, and claim that you were never friends to start with. Happy cleansing!