Unfollow a Friend to Keep a Friend?

does-facebook-make-you-angry

My Facebook Anger

Oh no. Did she really share that? I follow her link to the latest hot article.

I’m disappointed that my friend would “like” something so wrong. (Because aren’t we always right?) How could she believe these political “lies”?

  • Should I say something?
  • Let it go?
  • Counter with a different article?

Are these dilemmas happening more and more with you, too?

Granted, I do love a good conversation about politics. Ask my husband (who does not always enjoy it). Daddy taught us growing up around the Sunday lunch table to talk about hard topics, controversial topics, as we ate our roast and potatoes (except me; I ate ham). Grab an opinion and throw it out there. Heat the discussion, then cool it back down when Mama brought out the chocolate chip pie.

But something is different this past year.

These days when I’m online on Facebook or Twitter or reading blogs, I get angry inside. Not just at the words. Sadly, I also can get angry at the person sharing the words.

And I don’t like that feeling.

I don’t want to dislike any of my friends and family. I don’t want to dread seeing them in person because we disagree online. The election may be over, but our divisions aren’t.

Unfollow a Friend

My solution?
Quit reading their online stuff.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • Unfollow on Facebook
  • Mute on Twitter
  • Hit delete on blog posts

And here’s what I am NOT doing:

    • I don’t unfriend or block them permanently (unfollow and unfriend are two different things on Facebook.

      Here’s how to unfollow.
      how-to-unfollow-on-facebook

      Here’s how to unfriend.
      how-to-unfriend-on-facebook

 

  • I don’t stop talking to them in person
  • And most importantly, I don’t lose their friendship

[FYI, when you unfollow someone, they don’t know it. They are still your friend on Facebook. They can still read your posts, and you can go to their page and read their posts. You just won’t see their posts in your newsfeed. You can re-follow them anytime; they never know that either.

Here are 7 reasons friends might unfollow you.]

Remember the End Goal

Is this the coward’s way out? Am I avoiding confrontations that need to happen? Am I too immature to handle the awkwardness?

Maybe. I’m not sure.

But when the hard conversations really need to be had—and perhaps several of them do—I want to have those talks in person, not online.

What my friend is believing and what I am believing on a particular policy issue may be different right now. But we don’t have to be angry at each other about it. Likely we’ll realize later we both were believing wrong anyway.

Because what I ultimately want to happen is this: My friend and I will keep loving each other. God has us in each other’s lives for a reason. I want to stick around to honor that.

If that means I temporarily miss a few Facebook posts, okay.

Hopefully one day I’ll grow up enough to read her links and not feel upset at our widely different opinions.

But until I can get there, I have to keep first things first. 

  • Love each other.
  • Forgive each other.
  • Grow with each other.

Unfollow a friend on Facebook to keep a friend in real life? It may not be the best solution. But for now, it’s the best one I can handle.

* * *

What prompts you to unfollow someone on Facebook? To unfriend them? Please share in the comments.

Related:

50 thoughts on “Unfollow a Friend to Keep a Friend?

  1. Sarah Geringer

    I agree, unfollowing is my way of preserving peace over unfriending. Do unto others as you would have done to you…I’d rather someone unfollow me than unfriend me, so that’s what I do.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, preserving peace is my goal too, Sarah. We do what we can. I’m sure people have unfollowed me as well, although I’ve posted less and less of anything these days. ha.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Michele. There’s always something new to learn about FB (well, any social media, for that matter). Maybe one day we’ll figure out the best way to make it work and stop changing it. ha.

  2. Barbie

    I’ve doing exactly this, unfollowing and where necessary, unfriending. Facebook can add to my already mild depression and ain’t nobody got time for that. I want to see encouragement on my feed. Thanks for sharing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Amen, Barbie. Nobody’s got time for constant negativity. I want to see encouragement when I log on as well. Thanks for being a source of light for us yourself.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Wow, such a timely post for me, Lisa, b/c I this weekend, I’ve been actually considering unfriending an in-law. I’ve never unfriended anyone, and finally realized a couple people have unfriended me! I wasn’t aware of that initially, b/c their FB settings allow me to see what they’re writing (and their photos). However, when I tried to comment, I realized I couldn’t! 🙂 Hence, I became aware of my “unfriended” status. In the case I’ve been considering, I was irritated that this person removed my comment to her latest post. When you allow comment boxes on your page, it’s an obvious invitation to receive comments. (Apparently, though, this person only receives comments of a “certain kind.”) I thought I had responded respectfully, thoughtfully, and truthfully. Her deletion of the post seemed petty, especially in light of her angry (inaccurate posting). Most of her stuff is vitriolic and bigoted. So I thought: I don’t need to be reading this stuff anymore. It’s not edifying and only upsetting. Frankly, I’m a relative newcomer to FB, and I’m becoming increasingly troubled by the rancor. I only got involved as a way to connect w/ readers should I start writing seriously again. Then I enjoyed the camaraderie and the possibility of re-connecting w/ long, lost friends and family. But I’m also realizing the dark side of this. People are becoming brazenly vocal, spewing lies and hatred and saying things they likely never would in person. There is something about virtual posting that totally lacks virtue and promotes vitriol. People are hiding behind a screen, and it gives them a kind of bitter bravado that is troubling. Anyway, there is a lot to ponder here. Thanks for letting me unbosomer (as if you had a choice!), and for also helping others in the rational, sorting-out process. Very grateful, Lisa.
    Blessings,
    Lynn

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Unfortunately, you’ve likely gotten on FB during one of the ugliest seasons yet, Lynn. 🙁 The first few years when I was on, I don’t remember it being anything like this. It was fun and entertaining. Now it’s a different beast. Granted, the more I tweak my feed, the better it feels again. 🙂 I hope you’ll find the right balance too in dealing with both friends and relatives. It is difficult to make decisions about who to unfollow or unfriend. I went through a round of it last October/November, and I thought maybe it was safe to get back in the water, but not yet.

  4. Bill (cycleguy)

    i don’t do FB at all and I have never been so glad as during this political fiasco and morass. I am committed to being “faceless” in this discussion and on the page.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My husband and my oldest daughter don’t do FB either. And frankly, I can understand your choice to stay off when I see how ugly it can get. 🙁 It’s definitely not a “have-to” and if it stops being useful altogether, I’ll get off, too.

  5. Barbara H.

    I think that’s a good compromise. I’ve done a lot of unfollowing on Facebook for various reasons. One is that some people just post all kinds of stuff all day, much more than I am interested in or have time for. Another is that some loved ones post inappropriate photos and language. If they were just friends, I would unfriend them, but since we’re related (and they are not believers), I just hide their posts. I’ve unfollowed some people like you’ve discussed, with whom I differ on politics and other issues but don’t feel it would be helpful to discuss it, and some whom I agree with but who express themselves harshly.

    One thing FB has taught me is that I can’t possibly keep up with everyone I have ever known, LOL! Sometimes after the initial getting reacquainted and catching up, I find that I really have nothing in common with the person any more. People get offended and hurt if they realize they’ve been unfriended, so hiding their posts seems the best option.

    One more tip: Some friends in the last election cycle and since repost hoards of political posts from different groups. If you click the little downward symbol in the upper right corner of their post, you have the choice to hide the post, unfollow them, or sometimes you can click to stop seeing posts from the organization or page they’re reposting from. I’ve done that with reposts of athletic fandom, too. That really helps to cut down on unwanted content.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sounds like we have similar practices, Barbara. There’s lots of reasons I might unfollow someone, and just too many posts is one of those reasons. 🙂 I want to be able to hop on and hop off without getting sucked into too much stuff, bad OR good. You’re right—we can’t possibly keep up with a lifetime of people we’ve met. ha. Maybe I need to go pare down my list even more with that thought in mind. I suppose minimalism should apply to FB too.

      Thanks for the tip on the down arrow. I’ve rarely used that but it’s likely a tool I should be using more often!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Glad you learned something new about FB, Joanne. 🙂 The unfollow option has worked well for me, so far anyway. You never know how they’ll change things up next.

  6. Ed

    I have the problem now. I see so many comments on FB about politics that make me sad. While I understand that people are giving in to their freedom of speech to me it’s just pure hatred. While I haven’t unfriended them, I stopped following them.
    Still, I am tempted to quit FB altogether. But I am the admin of a Christian group on there, and to quit would mean the group would no longer exist.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know what you mean. There are some things that I do love about FB, and it’s worth staying on for those things to me. The groups I’m in are still wonderful! They tend to stay on point. I understand your desire to stay on FB to keep your group going. But it’s my personal page that gets filled up with too many posts that I don’t want to read, and often just from links from people instead of from the people themselves. 🙁 What I wish is that we could return to the days where people just posted a personal status and photos.

  7. Trudy

    Wise words, Lisa. I am not on Facebook. I used to be some years ago, but I would get so depressed at the criticism and other things, sometimes even sexual innuendos. I decided I needed to stay away from it. In these last few months, I am glad I’m not on it. I have heard so many hurts and broken friendships coming from remarks and disagreements. You are wise to discern that the hard conversations should be done in person. Thank you for sharing the struggle so many are facing, it seems. Love and hugs!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I totally understand you getting off Facebook to avoid those things, Trudy. It’s been a constant juggling act for me to weed out my newsfeed to see constructive things. I find I unfollow more and more people all the time. I do love the groups I’m in, but it’s the posts/links from individuals outside of those groups that make it so difficult. 🙁

  8. Dianna McBride

    This type of thing is why I left Facebook almost two years ago. I think yours is a good solution, Lisa. My thing wasn’t only politics, but people (both family and friends) putting way too much of their personal lives out there for the world to read. I did find myself being upset or angry a lot and just felt that the best thing to do was to leave it altogether.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I keep hearing more and more people who are getting off altogether. I do miss you in our HHW group (thank God it is still a refuge!). But I completely understand and respect your decision, Dianna. I wonder what Facebook will be like in another year from now. I know God can redeem all things, so maybe he’ll step in and save Facebook. Or save us all FROM Facebook. 🙂

  9. Amanda

    I think it is a good solution. I have done it even with people agree with, but may not agree with their method of sharing. Someone told me that fb isn’t the place to change someones opinion. So have humility and grace in things you post. I’m trying to follow that advice.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Humility and grace…that is excellent advice to follow. Maybe we should all post a sticky-note on our phones and computers with those two words so we’ll see it before we post anything. Thanks for sharing, Amanda.

  10. Pam

    Wow, Lisa! This is a great and I nodded all the way through. Maybe that is partially because I made the same decision a few weeks or more ago. I think their position on something was a bit less difficult to handle than the tone and words used to express it….one that really leaves no room for a civil conversation seemingly. I hoped that after the election or certainly by now that it would be different, but it wasn’t. I appreciate your words here!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Pam: often the tones and words are worse than the actual position. 🙁 And the sad thing is that in person, they wouldn’t be spoken like that. I’m not sure what it is about online opinions that seem to get people all ramped up. I was hoping it would be different by now, too, but not yet….

  11. Ashley Davis

    I’ve only unfriended people that I haven’t talked to in years or maybe only talked to them one time. I don’t typically unfriend someone over different beliefs.

    As you and I have discussed, the unfollow button has been a lifesaver for me. I have unfollowed people because they were constantly posting vulgar or just rude posts. Then most recently because of all of the political posts. I have followed some people back. I think it helps me to calm down, and it still allows me to be friends with them in real life.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I use the unfriend option sparingly, too, but I also don’t friend somebody in the first place if I don’t already know them. I guess we’re all learning as we go. I know you and I are on the same page. 🙂

  12. Cindy

    I’ve been thinking more and more about this topic!! Thank you for your discussion on FB and unfollowing vs unfriending. I’ve never unfriended people but for the sake of sanity may unfollow until the extreme political things settle down. I personally like encouraging and kind posts. Not ones that stir up controversy!! Recently, I’ve found myself almost responding to things I normally wouldn’t even consider. I’ve actually typed a response then deleted. I do love being able to keep in touch with family and friends and events in their lives!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like kind posts, too, Cindy. Who needs to open Facebook and get more discouraged? You’re a good example of always being encouraging and kind, by the way. 🙂 And your girls, too. I’m so glad they’re still on FB. I miss Morgan not being on, but I certainly understand anyone that doesn’t want to be on it. It can get crazy at times!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We appreciate your prayers, Mari-Anna. We can use every one of them! Thank you for thinking of us and lifting us up. We need God to stitch our hearts back together in America and with the rest of the world.

  13. Anita Ojeda

    The amusing thing is that both sides post links from less-then-credible sources…we should always carefully research things that tout to be facts. Thank you for the reminder that we can ‘unfollow’ and don’t have to ‘unfriend!’ I’ve actually unfollowed or blocked the posts of some of my former students who have a lifestyle and photos on their wall that I don’t want my current students seeing ;). I love both my former and present students, but I don’t want to have a conversation about lifestyle choices! So maybe I’m chicken-hearted, too ;).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So you have to think both behind and ahead…past students and current students. 🙂 I’m sure that’s a difficult balance to find. And yes, you’re so right that “facts” can be interpreted differently from both the right and the left. Where’s the middle and the truth? That’s all I want.

  14. Beverley

    If a family member or friend shares something i don’t agree with, i tend to hide it so i don’t have to see it, but if it is generally very offensive i do the same thing and then send my friend a private message as some of these things are shared automatically and they don’t even know it. I also stop any third party posts if they are offensive to me. I have cousins who have all out arguments on social media and the language is atrocious and so i hide it, they don’t know i did and the next thing they write i can see it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad we have the option of hiding things. There are things I don’t want to see at all, too. At times I’ve totally unfriended people, but I’d rather just unfollow and hope the offensive stuff will pass.

  15. floyd

    Timely post, Lisa. I heard a sermon this past weekend on John 17; Christ’s prayer to the Father that was for our unity. He didn’t say “agreement” on all issues, He prayed for unity.

    We first need to acknowledge our agreement on what matters, God’s sovereignty, His Son’s death and resurrection and that He’s coming again. The other stuff pulls at our pride and emotions.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good point, Floyd: unity doesn’t have to mean uniformity. We don’t have to all agree. We just need to have the same heart focused on bringing honor to God. There’s definitely been a tugging on our emotions the past year through politics, but we don’t have to follow those emotions.

  16. Cheryl

    To tell you the truth, I have never opened a Facebook account. I just never felt “clearance” from the Lord to do so. I know it has potential for good, and I get that. But, the evil that is sputtered there, the gossip fests, defamation of character, self-promotion, popularity contests, and competition just go totally against the simple, peaceful, serene life my family and I are striving so hard to achieve and maintain. I don’t want to spend my time worrying about it all…life is just too short, and I want to be “in” the moments God allows me to live and be with my loved ones…not obsessed about what everyone else is doing and sharing online. We live like it is about 1970 at our house! LOL! Honestly, this is the way we feel led to raise our son, and none of us would want it any other way. 🙂 I say, who needs the hassle and interference? God bless you, sweet friend…I appreciate your honesty and hope mine does not offend. 🙂 Thanks for inviting us to share our thoughts here.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m so glad you shared this, Cheryl! I love hearing that you’ve totally tuned out Facebook. My oldest daughter has done the same thing, and I respect her for it. Right now I’m just taking the good with the bad on Facebook, but I certainly understand anyone who wants to live without it altogether. That’s how we lived for thousands and thousands of years and we made it just fine. 🙂 God bless you and your family.

  17. Susan

    I *do* unfriend on FB — honestly, I dislike that it’s termed “unfriend.” Just sounds so … mean! But here’s why I do it: if I “hide” a person, while I don’t see what they’re doing, they still see what I’m doing. It’s likely my posts and “likes” are showing up for them, and are annoying/stressing them just as I’m feeling. I unfriended 3 or 4 people over the weekend over this issue. These were people who I do not see in real life, and who I haven’t seen in decades. Most were friends from high school who I don’t even know anymore. “Thanks” to FB, I often find myself feeling unkindly about people who I’d ordinarily not think about at all. I really dislike that! And while in some ways I’d like to get off FB altogether, I still stick around. It’s a very modern dilemma.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Unfriend does sound mean, I agree, Susan. 🙁 I’d prefer a nicer way to phrase that as well. I’m finding that I’m more tentative about friending someone in the first place so I won’t have to unfriend them later. 🙂

      Your qualifications for unfriending someone sounds very fair and reasonable. This made me smile because I relate:
      ““Thanks” to FB, I often find myself feeling unkindly about people who I’d ordinarily not think about at all. I really dislike that!”
      Me, too. It is quite the modern dilemma! I suppose we haven’t had time to work through the kinks yet. Thanks for sharing your wise thoughts, Susan.

  18. Kelly Chripczuk

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom on this real struggle. So many layers to think about, but always the real goal has to be knowing and loving each other. This will be a season of real learning for all of us if we stay graceful and proceed with love.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Beautiful words, Kelly. You’re right that we do need to stay aware of the real goal, which is always love. “Stay graceful and proceed with love” – great advice for any area of our lives!

  19. Jean Wise

    you are right; it is different this year. I have ‘hide’ posts from so many and personally avoid any mention of politics in what I write. Disappointing how this has changed this year and ruined friendships.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it is disappointing how politics is ruining friendships so much the past year. 🙁 I really don’t like using avoidance of it as my go-to approach, but right now that’s just where I am. I’m not as far along in maturity as I’d like to think I am.

  20. Cathy

    I’ve had to unfollow some on Facebook as well. It’s the best option to keep the peace, as I too get upset when I see people angrily pushing their point of view.

    I, like you, would much rather talk in person.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Keeping the peace is our goal, yes? I’d rather not have to unfollow anyone, but we do what we have to do for now. Sigh. Hopefully it will get less divisive as the year goes on. Thanks for sharing, Cathy.

  21. Lori Schumaker

    Lisa, you touched on such a common struggle right now. A division unlike any other we’ve ever experienced in our country. And I do think the deep thread of anger has been fueled by social media. Before we could disagree, but our arguments were limited to the healthy face-to-face discussions like you mentioned. Now the differing opinions are being thrown at us 24/7 giving us no time to cool down and think rationally! It also provides a platform that sadly for many empowers in a negative way. The unfollowing, muting, and deleting is such a healthy option for setting needed boundaries! Thanks, friend, for being a voice of reason and a blessing!
    Lori

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You make a valid point, Lori: we’ve eliminated the time buffer that would help us calm down in between attacks. It is now as constant an onslaught as we’ll allow. That means it’s up to us to discipline ourselves to stay off and set those working boundaries. Not an easy task. It’s a whole new world for all of us, yes? But I know God always makes a way for us to love each other and work things out. Thanks for your encouraging words!


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