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.
Do you delete friends from Facebook or other social media? Have you ever been deleted?