The Dreaded U-Word: Unfriended

Have you been unfriended on Facebook? Did you ask the person why they unfriended you, or did you just move on? I’ve been unfriended before. and I didn’t ask. It’s not that I didn’t want to know. It’s just that I’ve evolved to a place where things like that don’t really matter to me, especially if it was a peripheral friend or acquaintance. I’m not everyone’s “cup of tea,” I get that. If it were a close friend, I wouldn’t expect that my notification that our friendship had ended would be by a Facebook unfriend. With a close friend, my expectations would be a conversation before I got booted off their Facebook. But with an outlier, I have no expectations as to when they want to unfriend me on social media.

Confession: I unfriended someone recently. Well, not recently — but they only just realized it recently. I actually unfriended her over a year ago, but recent events caused her to reach out to me, with the realization we were no longer “friends” on Facebook.

She sent me another friend request. I declined the request, not realizing it would block her from my profile. (I am not exactly Facebook savvy.) This prompted a text asking me why I unfriended her and to please let her know so she could apologize for any wrongdoing. This was the hard part. Do I respond to the text? If so, do I tell her the truth? How much of the truth? Do I want to engage in what I foresee to be a potentially unpleasant ending?

I made the decision to respond. I texted her that I did unfriend her with a heavy heart, which is true. I had unfriended people before without as much thought because I was “cleaning up” my newsfeed and people were either too politically polarizing for my liking, too vulgar, or just someone I’d accepted as a friend years ago because they were a random friend of a friend. But, with her, I did give it some thought. I don’t think we had the “hide” option when I unfriended her, or if we did, I was unaware of it at the time. Again, I am not Facebook savvy.

I will admit, she is not a close friend. We share mutual friends, but we are not close friends. We see each other briefly every 10 years or so. She is a peripheral friend. But, I gave it more thought because our mutual friends are some of my absolute favorite people in the world, and I considered the fallout. With that being said, I told her the truth. And, I did my best to tell her in a straightforward manner — not hurtful, but honestly. She asked, and I responded instead of ignoring her or softening the reason. Her response was long and included denial, and she told me I should be ashamed of myself. No apology like she indicated above, which I didn’t expect and wasn’t even looking for. I had come to a point where unfriending her was my solution to the situation, and I don’t apologize for it. My Facebook is for me. No one else. It is what I want to see, MY newsfeed. I get to choose what I want to fill my heart and mind with when I look at social media. And if I don’t like it, I can change it. It’s that way by design.

But I do get the bigger picture. Someone was hurt by my actions and for that, I am truly sorry. I never want to hurt people, and if I have unintentionally done so, I will quickly apologize. I feel like I am a kind person who wants everyone to be happy, to get along, and to live together in harmony regardless of differences. But, I do have a limit. I will defend my family. I will protect my happy. And I was hurt by this person, hence the heavy heart. Limit reached. Action taken.

Even though I unfriended her over a year ago, the exchange happened a couple of months ago. I never responded to her after she said I should be ashamed of myself. That’s how it was left, and it gave me pause. Should I be ashamed I stood up for myself? Or that I am fiercely defending my family? Or that I am protecting my happy? No. I am not ashamed. I am sad. Sad for the situation and the outcome. Sad that we were both hurt. But certainly not ashamed that I stood up when challenged. When you ask someone why they unfriended you, if they are honest, can it ever turn out well?

Meredith Fitts Loudenback is “just a small town girl” from South Carolina who moved to Jacksonville in 1995 after graduating from Clemson University. She relocated from SC after she accepted the first job offer received that was out of state and does not shy away from adventure or change. Meredith and her husband enjoyed living in London and Boston for several years before choosing to relocate back to Jacksonville over 8 years ago. After working in commercial banking (5 years) and medical sales (10 years), she now enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to her 9-year-old son, Matt, and supportive wife to her husband, Scott, of 19 years. Meredith is passionate about travel, fitness, entertaining, books, beauty and style. Her extensive work in the facial aesthetic industry ignited a passion for skincare. In her free time, Meredith also enjoys being active in PTA, cooking, family bike rides that end with ice cream and a good cocktail shared with girlfriends. Oh, and Bravo TV.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I really appreciate your perspective. I’m afraid I might be the kind of person who wants an explanation of why I was unfriended because I would (honestly) want to fix what is wrong or see if I need to make amends. That being said, you must guard yourself for the likely unpleasant answer if you ask that question. Someone once said “its none of your business what people think of you!” What a difficult reality for someone who is a diehard people pleaser !!

    • But it’s true and may be more about them than you. Like I tell my children, be the best you that you can be. Be kind and honest. They are not on social media, but if we are unfriended as a result of who we are, I am fine with that. I do wish that overall we listen to more perspectives and seek to understand the other side. That is what I see lacking most in social media. I am not suggesting that we maintain ‘extreme hateful’ perspectives on our pages. Those need to go, but otherwise, j wish we all would listen more-even when we disagree.

      • I agree! I had an elderly friend who said once that if you only listen to people who think like you do, you’ll never learn anything! She was brilliant and interesting!

        • Having said that, I also agree that social media should be for you and you ought not feel badly for keeping it happy for yourself!

  2. Seems like anyone who could write and publish a blog would have the ability to research how to hide someone instead of unfriendly them. I am sure you believe your reasons are valid but in the end people have been hurt. I teach my children to be honest and respectful of everyone’s feelings and to be nice to everyone. It is not always our place to bash someone with the truth because at the end of the day it is only our opinion. A simple solution would have been to hide them from your timeline. Sometimes it’s better to take the high road and keep GP’s with everyone. Like momma said if you do. It have anything nice do not say anything at all.

    • I’m curious, if your kids are kind tonsomeonr and they return it with being mean, would you want them to be friends? If not and they chose not to be friends with a mean person and that person confronted them about it, how would your counsel them to reply? Your response has piqued my curiosity because my kids have been in this situation. If you believe as I read your response to say, that it’s better to “hide” a person and so pretend to still be friends than to be upfront and honest about ending a friendship, how does this work in real life outside of social media?

    • Well I guess I have to disagree with you on that. When the writer unfriended the person originally, she did not reach out with a skathing detailed review of what a terrible person she was and why she had unfriended her. She merely did the thing it was best for her personally. The problem arose when the unfriended person reached out to find out why she had been unfriended. Unkindness for unkindness sake is one thing, but honesty WITH kindness is an appropriate way to communicate with someone. Particularly someone that asked for the reason. Your (collective) right to remain “friends” does not over rule my right to control my friends list, what people see about me/my family and my privacy. It’s a shame that you are teaching your children that they must suffer discomfort to spare someone else’s feelings.

    • @BenolynCraig Yeah… I am going to have to disagree with you.

      It is okay to set boundaries for yourself, including your social media accounts. People should NOT be shamed into staying e-friends if they aren’t really friends. I remove people often and don’t give it a second thought.

      You say, “It is not always our place to bash someone with the truth because at the end of the day it is only our opinion”. What does that mean? It seems like a contradictory statement. Jane Doe got offended, asked for an explanation, and *got* an explanation, it was just clearly not what she wanted to hear.

      Staying friends with someone online when you are not really friends, leaves all of your photos, your information, your life (essentially) vulnerable. I do annual purges/deletes and I’ve left friend requests in my inbox for years. It is 100 percent okay to be selective with ones own private information.

      The original poster of this blog did nothing wrong.

      Great post!

  3. Hahha I I in friended my brother and my sister. Not bc I have beef with them but bc they kept inserting their opinion in where it was not solicited. No harm no foul. They know why and I know why. I would tell them to their face I don’t agree nor want to hear their dribble. We communicate through more conventional ways and better for it. I agree with you, my FB is for me, not anyone else. Why volunteer yourself to participate in something that you don’t want to.

  4. I’ve unfriend people over the years. I also got a text (well, it was a private message) after one of those friends realized she had been unfriended…but it had been 7 years since I did that! She asked what happened, so I told her the truth (we never talked, didn’t have an interest in the other’s life, so after a year or so I unfriended her).

    Another friend I’ve done this with, noticed after only 3 years (same reasons given when she asked).

    The first friend reinitiated contact, the other did too. We’ve all been more active in each other’s respective lives.

  5. On the other side though (as opposed to my first comment), I’ve never been able to remember if I unfriended someone or not (unless it was something more significant, like my post mentioned briefly abvove). I’ve never asked someone why I’ve been unfriended. I figured out a long time ago that reasons a person does or does not want to speak to me are their reasons, and really none of my business. If the individual that still believes we’re friends, but we aren’t friends on Facebook, believes we’re friends but we don’t talk…I might ask why she thinks we’re friends. (I have done that once). I wasn’t told specifics, just that there was a misunderstanding that happened at some point in the past, but we’re fine now. She didn’t give any more details than that. But…to this day we don’t talk. We don’t live near each other, but if we saw each other we’d be civil, maybe have some coffee…but that’s it.

    I agree with the author when she wrote her Facebook page is for HER. It’s HER newsfeed, it’s HER decision what she wants to see. If someone doesn’t like that, that is something they need to work out within themselves. (shoulder shrug)

  6. One of my best friends actually unfririended me on Facebook. I had noticed a pattern of her lying & avoiding me so I tried to confront her about it. She got really defensive & tried to put it back on me. So I tried cooling down but she kept asking why I was avoiding her. I finally messaged her on Facebook (we just both happened to talk on there as much as text etc.) & laid it all out again. She said she never had someone break up with her on Facebook then proceeded to unfriend me. I was shocked but let it go. Then we talked a couple of times, hung out a couple of times, & she friend requested me again. I accepted but she still lies if we run into each other somewhere & I know we’ll never be close again. Facebook or not, you’re right, we have every right to be friends with whoever we please or not.

  7. This all seems very harsh. Why did you unfriend this girl in the first place? Raising kids is not easy and I can’t help but feel that it would be a better world for both of you if you supported and understood each other. You seem to be clear as to what YOUR feelings are. She seems like a classy and confident lady. You probably did her a favor.

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