The Hard Facts: Why We Friend. Or Don’t.

It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.

“Research suggests that real world interactions drive online friendships. Meanwhile, sales-oriented and depressing comments help drive friend removals.” (“Friends & Frenemies: Why We Add and Remove Facebook Friends” ; NielsenWire 12/19/2011)

I wrote about a similar study last year, which looked at what drives us to defriend Facebook pals, but it seems researchers never tire of dissecting Facebook behavior. I find the gender differences listed below pretty interesting. Says the study: “More men add friends based on business networks or physical attractiveness and women are more likely to friend based on knowing someone in real life or remove them due to offensive comments.”

Check this out. I love a good infographic.

I’m pretty true to the statistics. I friend people because we’ve met in real life. And sometimes, when we have so many common friends that it feels like we know each other even when we’ve never met, I’ll friend that person too. I call those ladies my phantom friends. (You know who you are, Isabelle.)

Personally, I haven’t had to worry about defriending. If I can’t stand someone’s posts, I just hide them. And it’s not like I’m about to hit my friending limit, so I’ve avoided that conundrum entirely.

What do you make of this infographic? Surprising? Or not really? What makes you friend and unfriend?

MWF Seeking BFF was named one of Target’s “Emerging Author” selections! I’m quite thrilled, both because I’m a huge Target fan and because it’s quite an honor. Now that the holiday chaos has subsided, stop in your local store and pick up a copy. I’d be SO VERY grateful!


Filed under The Search

6 responses to “The Hard Facts: Why We Friend. Or Don’t.

  1. Sweets

    The first three reasons for friending are true for me. Although I have to admit that during the beginning days of Facebook I friended a few people I would not friend now… I do not have many FB friends at all, and don’t use the site too much (I more use it to keep up to date with my friends who live far away). I have never defriended – once I wanted to because the person’s comments were getting too depressing and some comments were just rude and uncalled for. But I felt too bad to do that….

    Interesting facts!

  2. Ana

    Yeah, this is true for me, too—know in real life and mutual friends are really my only reasons for adding someone. The one that surprised me was that more men than women used social networks for dating—i would’ve thought it would be equal or the opposite. But I’m not in THAT game anymore! Also the coupons thing. What?

    I don’t think i’ve ever defriended anyone, either. its easy enough to hide someone who annoys me with their posting (too frequent, too religious, TMI). There is no one on my friend list that I have that bad of a relationship with that I don’t want them seeing my posts or pictures—that would be the reason to defriend vs. hide.

  3. Melinda

    My rule for FB is that if I haven’t met you in person, you don’t get on my friend’s list. I haven’t defreinded anyone since it’s just as easy to block thier posts. However, I have been defriended and blocked…by family members. LOL.
    To be honest, I find that some people take FB way too seriously. I have blocked people’s post because I don’t really care if they are taking thier dog for a walk, then having coffee and after that, hitting the library. I want interesting or funny posts. I use it mostly to keep in touch with family that lives far away but the truth is, the people that I commuincate on FB with the most are people that I see and talk to on the phone everyday.

  4. Amanda

    It’s oddly therapeutic for me to delete facebook friends. Sometimes I’ll delete a bunch at a time using the “would I say hi to you at Target?” test. Any other defriending comes from offensive comments. Jokes about rape and domestic violence are more than just a “hide posts” offense for me and I’d rather not be virtual friends with people who say those things.

  5. I’m surprised they didn’t include “oversharing” in the Remove Friends data. It’s unbelievable what some people will post…also, admittedly, oddly entertaining.

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