Is it acceptable to delete friends from Facebook?
This question is something that often seems to be talked about among friends. Most of my own friends think that there is nothing wrong with it, but others – including my mother – think deleting Facebook friends should be a capital offence.
I think the first real issue is whether or not our Facebook friends are our friends in real-life too. I know that many of mine are not: I never accept strangers onto my Facebook profile – or any other social network, for that matter. At the same time, though, I would not call many of my Facebook “friends” actual friends. I have many friends from school and university on Facebook, but I speak to very few of them. Many are people I have met only once, or are old colleagues. While I do know everybody, I really cannot claim that they are all my friends.
Every time I delete somebody from Facebook I think about how I would feel being deleted. I don’t have to imagine – I have been deleted by plenty of people. Before, whenever I realised that somebody had deleted me, I desperately searched to find out who it was. I’ve stopped doing that – I have learned that if I cannot work out who deleted me, they probably weren’t that important to me.
I remember when Facebook was still a new social network. Talking about deleting people was always done in hushed tones – it could not be spoken about openly, in case somebody overheard and was offended.
Now deleting “friends” is much more common, and often spoken about among friends (real-life ones, that is). People nowadays even announce on Facebook that they are about to delete a number of people. (This is, I think, to make you feel lucky if you are “saved”, but it often has the opposite effect).
At the end of the day, I think the answer to the question of deleting friends is quite simple. Friendships are not permanent. Very few relationships really are. Why, then, should Facebook “friendships” be permanent? I think we have to delete friends in order to reflect the realities of real-life relationships.
Deleting a few friends is acceptable, I think. There is one thing I do know, though: deleting your mother is not acceptable. I learned that one the hard way.