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How To Spring Clean Your FB Friend List


I have a about 150 Facebook friends. Sad? No, not really. Even 150 is excessive, given that in real life, if I had to really count my friends, I would not need more than a few  fingers of one hand.


And so, spring has come and gone. I have cleaned my house, de-cluttered my wardrobe and sorted my life. But now, it’s time to get rid of stuff that has no role in my life, no purpose, hasn’t been used, never will be; stuff that is weighing me down, complicating my existence and making me feel low. In short, it’s time to de-clutter and let go of all the unwanted things. Yes, that includes Facebook friends.


You know as well as I do, that Facebook friends are different from real friends. We gather, accumulate Facebook friends the same way we  would collect stuff we want but don’t know what to do with, in retrospect. We build a collection with our impulse buys and bargains. A collection that is impressive but in the end, pretty ineffectual and useless.


Don’t you think it’s about time this list got a good overhaul? An annual clean up operation in a ruthless, detached way is the only way to detox our lives and see those off for whom we have to put on a mask whenever we appear on Facebook. Alright, let’s get down to business, then.


First some pointers:

 Do not feel guilty about doing it. You know you are not ever going to get rid of your real friends. You know who they are, they know who you are. Your relationship goes beyond the virtual pages of a web page and exists in real life. It’s the other friends we are talking about.


 Don’t look at the NUMBERS: There are some ‘friends’ who really need to go. Yes, they really do. Never mind the numbers or how it’s going to make you look. At least you can be sure that the ones you have are really your friends.


 The feeling is mutual: You are not the only one spring-cleaning. Remember the times you suddenly found yourself out of favour with a Facebook friend, for no reason and wondered what happened. Yes, just like that, you found yourself shunted OUT. Well, the feeling is mutual. People spring clean all the year round. Everyone has the right to de-clutter!


 Have an Anthem to motivate you to de-clutter: This year, it was ‘Let it go, let it go’ from the movie Frozen.


Here are some handy tips to de-clutter your Facebook list like nobody’s business and a list of the ‘types’ you need a break from.


The STRANGER: Who is this person? You don’t know the name or the face. How did they get on your friends’ list? Maybe you have lots of friends in common. But if you don’t know this person, never met them in real life, why are they able to gain access to your private photos, thoughts, sensitive information like birthdays, name of your pet, name of your hometown, your children’s school, favourite colour and so on? Would you part with this information if it were a stranger on the road? You wouldn’t. So what is this person doing here? Time to quickly hit the DELETE button. No question about this one.


The SILENT type: This ‘friend’ is always online but does he/she ever ‘like’ your stuff? Never. Comment? Never. No messages, no birthday wishes. That is the last straw. Time to hit the UNFRIEND button.


The IGNORER: This ‘friend’ is your ‘friend’ only on FB, but when you come face to face in real life, he/she just looks through you. At first you think he/ she is myopic, he/she left the spectacles behind at home therefore cannot see you. Maybe you look different in real life, maybe those dark circles are making you look like someone else today, maybe he/she is in a bad mood, the lighting is bad. You try and give the benefit of doubt to them. The truth is he/she did not leave the spectacles…. they just left their manners at home. Time to say bye bye.  Press delete, please! Done.


The WEIRDO: Okay, this one posts photos, videos, quotes of an offensive nature. Every morning when you go on to FB [why you do that is another issue], there is a horrific video ready to greet you. A weird photo screaming out at you with it’s warped sense of humour. Humour for them, not for you. Why spoil your mornings and your time on FB if such stuff is going to haunt you through the day. Please get rid of anyone who pollutes your FB wall with distasteful graffiti. If they are good friends, unfollow them.


The SHOWPIECE: You and only you are to blame for the presence of this ‘friend’. Maybe this person is really interesting, very popular, a mini-celebrity from your kindergarten days. But sadly they have NO interest in you. They condescended to accept your friend’s request to not offend you. You ‘ like ‘ their photos, fawn over every thing they post. Sometimes they give you a little tidbit by ‘liking’ your complimentary comment, but mostly you get no acknowledgement for being their fan. He/ she is the celebrity and you are the follower. Is this your friend? C’mon! Out with the truth. Just let him/ her go. Seriously they will be grateful for it too. Make it easy for both of you…breathe in, breathe out…. Let it go, let it go…this was a tough one.


The OBLIGATORY friend: This one is a ‘friend’ whose connection with is you is because they are some distant relative who made you their friend so they could spy on you, to report to your in laws or they just want pure entertainment for free, at your expense. You’ve been compelled to accept them, only because of social obligations. Don’t want to upset the in-laws, do you? Every time you update your status or spill your emotions all over your FB wall; you know that so-and-so is spying. Before you’ve logged out, your entire extended family and friends in real life know your exact state of mind, thanks to this busy body! This kind is hard to get rid of. But you need to decisively let them go. After you’ve let them go, block them and make sure they can’t search for you on FB.


The ATTENTION SEEKER: This one wants and craves attention. So they will post stuff on your wall, whether it concerns you or not. He/she will tag you in mindless photos, which do not even have you [or anyone] in it. He/ She will engage in discussions / arguments on your FB page with your other friends…just to seek a little attention. Feel a bit sorry for this person? Don’t really want to get rid of him/her especially because of the lovely comment they left on the wall last year? Well, wait for a bit but if things don’t change, you know what to do.


The TEMPORARY ‘FRIEND’: This ‘friend’ got into your FB list, by default. Maybe they were at an old Zumba class, wanted a recipe or some other information, and hence tracked you on FB. Instead of sending you an email, they just contacted you on FB. That’s all. No other connections. The recipe is exchanged; you no longer do Zumba, then why is this person still your ‘friend’? Do yourself and this person a favour. Declutter for them as much for you.


DELETE yourself from this person’s life and perhaps, they might even respect you more and try to be a real friend. Everyone is different so I’m sure there are other types of non-friends we all have sitting pretty and messing our FB lives. Feel free to de-clutter as you see fit. Feel lighter. Feel relieved. After this exercise you will be left with a handful of friends. Whether they are true or not is for you to see in the next one year, so you can de-clutter again. Friends whether in real life or Facebook have to be real… with mutual respect and admiration underscoring the bond. Don’t just send out friend requests or accept them  only because you are competing with your cousin who at the last count had 1500 friends in her kitty.


It’s not the end of the world if you have a few good friends who you cherish and who you cannot wait to meet on and off FB from time to time. Find more time to go out into the real world and make new friends.


Meanwhile, excuse me while I spring clean……..


Vrushali is a health professional who writes because laughter is the best medicine and laughing at oneself is even more therapeutic. She bogs at  https://shalijay.wordpress.com

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