Unfriendship Identification

I should really thank Facebook.

Every time I think I might be out of blog post ideas, they go and change their format just in time to give me something new to talk about (see: friendship history feature).

And thanks, too, to Huffington Post, who alerted me to what, in my opinion, is the most scandalous Facebook change in recent history.

Apparently, on the new Facebook, the timeline feature allows you to see who has unfriended you.

Back in the day (as in, a week ago) if you couldn’t stand someone’s status updates, or you broke up with your boyfriend, or you and a friend had a falling out and you didn’t want to see the vacation pics with the boyfriend who came between you two, you could unfriend her without much fanfare. She got no notification. Sure, she could click on your profile and notice she had less access than before, but that required a fair amount of work. There was no easy way to conclusively verify that she’d been dropped, so you could extricate her from your virtual life smoothly, even if the real-life break up was a bit more rocky.

Well that day is gone my friends.

With the new Facebook timeline, you can peruse your friendship history by year. If you click on, say, 2008, you’ll see all the friends that were added during that 12-month span. If one of those people is no longer your Facebook friend, there will be an “Add Friend” button. It won’t say who dumped who, but if you didn’t dump her… well then, I think you have your answer.

This sleuthing method still takes a bit of click-work. You need to first find the year the “friendship” was established. Then you need to scroll through the who-kn0ws-how-many friends you made that year, in search of a button. And then you need to rack your brain to remember if you unfriended them. It’s not nothing.

But it’s easier than before, and easy enough that it might make me think twice before I did it.

Unfriending has always felt like an option (though I admit I’ve never done it) because it was so quiet. It didn’t involve the confrontation of a friend breakup. It seemed like no biggie, likely completely unnoticed by the other party. If there ever came a day when unfriend notifications were sent? Well that would completely nullify the option. The guilt of unfriending would start to equal the guilt of breakups, and honestly, just the thought makes my head hurt.

What do you think of this Facebook “enhancement” (for more details about how to ID an unfriender, check out this Huffington Post recap)? Would it make you less likely to unfriend someone? More likely to not friend someone in the first place? Or does it make no difference? And how would you feel about a straight “unfriend” notification?


Filed under The Search

4 responses to “Unfriendship Identification

  1. I purge my friends about twice a year. If I don’t communicate with you at all on facebook or even bother looking at your page, then there’s no reason to still have you on my friend list.

    I don’t mind if people know I unfriended them because they are people who I don’t communicate with anyway, so I’d be surprised if they cared.

    I am excited about the timeline though, despite the unfriending part!

    • Laurie Lee

      Do you still have relationships with any of the people that you purge from Facebook outside of Facebook? I’ve been tempted to do the same but felt if I cut the tie on Facebook that would pretty much kill the relationship altogether.

  2. Laurie Lee

    I’m glad that you can now identify who unfriends you. I would still prefer an unfriend notification. Why hide it?

  3. Wow seriously?? Yikes I didn’t know that. I’ve defriended people before but I wouldn’t want them to be notified about it, because even if I never talked to them anymore and didn’t think we ever really would come in contact again, I wouldn’t want them to think it was because I disliked them. Sometimes I’m just lenient with my adding and later I decide that I can take them off my friend list because they’re kind of just there. I think if they got a notification it might seem like more of a big deal, and I don’t think they need to have that notification. If it’s someone who cares about being friends with you on facebook they’re going to notice anyway so why the notification? Where do you find this feature on facebook Rachel, I haven’t seen it?

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