I have a Facebook friends’ list of about 150 or so. Sad? No, not really. I think even 150 is excessive, given that in real life if I had to really count my friends, I would not need more than the fingers of one hand. Honestly. Now that spring is here it’s time to clean my wardrobe, my house and my life. 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, pounce on, beg, hound, and stalk people until they become our Facebook friends- much the same way, as we buy clothes, shoes, bags and what not. Just as we buy ill-fitting, unsuitable clothes and shoes- impulsive buys, sales bargains thinking we will use them one day, we create and build an impressive collection of Facebook friends. Don’t you think it’s about time this list got a good overhaul? A clean up operation in a ruthless, detached way is the only way to detox our lives of the people we have surrounded ourselves by and for whom we put on a mask when we appear on Facebook. Do we not? 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 book and exists in real life. It’s the other friends we are talking about. So think of your real friends as the classic, timeless pieces in your wardrobe that will always remain there forever.
- 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. What only 25 friends on Facebook? How bad is that? At least you can be sure that they 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. People will expel you from their FB list, so why feel bad about doing it yourself. Everyone has the right to de-clutter!
- Have an Anthem to motivate you de-clutter: This year for me it’s ‘ LET IT GO, LET IT GO’ from the movie Frozen.
It could be anything; how about ‘ I will survive’? By Gloria Gaynor or ‘I’m BAD’ by Michael Jackson, to build up your mood and lighten your spirit. Here are some handy tips to de-clutter your Facebook friends’ list like nobody’s business:
Tip#1: The STRANGER: Who is this person? You don’t know the name or the face. How did they get on your friends’ list? Sometimes a stranger will slip the net and get into your inner circle. Maybe you accepted their friend’s request when you were sleepy, depressed, wanted to increase the ‘numbers’. Maybe you have lots of friends in common. But if you don’t know this person, never met them in real life or likely to, 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, favorite colour and so on. Would you part with this information if it were a stranger off the road? You wouldn’t. So what is this person doing here? Time to quickly hit the DELETE button. No question about this one.
Tip #2: The SILENT type: This ‘friend’ is watching your every move. You can feel his/ her presence because they are always online, ‘liking’ other people’s stuff. Does he/she ever ‘like’ your stuff? Never. Comment? Never. No messages, no birthday wishes. That is the last straw. You ‘like’ his/her photos, quotes of the day and wish him/her on her birthday and other occasions. Still nothing. Blank. Do you continue groveling and begging them to be your friend? I think not. Time to hit the DELETE button. Whoosh! Feels better?
Tip #3: 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 benefit of doubt to them. The truth is he/she did not leave the spectacles at home…. they just left their manners at home. Before you subject yourself to a lifetime of humiliation from this ‘ignorer friend’ [or should we say ignoramus], it’s time to say Ta Ta. Yes bye bye. Sorry no thank you. Press delete. Done.
Tip#3: 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. Much as you may like this friend in real life, it may be time to get rid of him/her along with his/her baggage. Yes all the weird stuff that pollutes your FB wall with distasteful graffiti. Feels a little bad to do this if the person is nice in real life. Okay let’s just BLOCK then out of the timeline for now, shall we? Don’t hit DELETE yet.
Tip#4: The SHOWPIECE: You and only you are to blame for this ‘friend’. You sent the friend’s request, so that this person could grace your friends’ list, so that he/she could add to the numbers but also make your list look attractive. This person embellishes your friends’ list, decorates it. 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. This person makes your FB list look lovely, very pretty…. oooo you have such glamorous friends, friends in high places…. isn’t this what you want other people to think? Well, this showpiece adds that glam factor to your FB life. 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. It’s a bit like having this really expensive outfit in your wardrobe that you will never wear because it is not YOU…not your style, not for your figure and well out of your comfort zone. Wouldn’t you like to give it to charity? Why let it clutter your wardrobe? Likewise, this showpiece friend, may have taken effort to acquire, but may be best to get rid of. OUT. Why continue to want to aspire to be in his/her social circle when you know it’s out of question. 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…Au Revoir ……this was a tough one.
Tip #5: 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? Ever 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 our very friendly friend! This friend is hard to get rid off. Maybe declare that you are closing down your Facebook account and then slowly but surely let this friend off. How are they going to know you’ve deleted them? After you’ve let them go, quickly change your profile picture and to be doubly sure, block them off and make sure people can’t search you on FB. Phew, that is hard work. But this ‘friend’ is the worst clutter in your list. There is an unexplainable joy in pressing the DELETE button. If one click doesn’t work, double or triple click…. but make sure you do it! The only trouble with this is they might try to befriend you again…especially if they find you are active on FB [maybe they spotted your comment on a mutual friend’s page!]. Well, if you must, accept them again. If the block hasn’t worked or they persist, you have no choice. In two months time, declare your account closing again. Do a second spring clean. Let’s see who is more tenacious you or this obligatory friend.
Tip#5: The ATTENTION SEEKER: This one wants and craves attention. So they will post 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…Hmmm…. alright, let’s shortlist this one. But stop from DELETING just yet. Maybe not.
Tip # 6: The TEMPORARY ‘FRIEND’: This ‘friend’ got into your FB list, by default. Maybe they were a colleague 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. No thinking involved in this. Hit DELETE. No, you will not need this person in future. If you do, just establish contact again. Sayonara darling, we were never friends! PHEW! That was hard work. 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 or wherever have to make you feel good, listen to you and respect you. The admiration has to be mutual. So before you go collecting more friends to rebuild your flagging statistics, THINK. Don’t just send out friend requests to people or accept them from people only because you are competing with your cousin who at 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 FB from time to time. In fact, that way you will have more time to go out into the real world and make new real friends. Yes, sure, saying Good-bye is not easy. Just say it in different languages and have fun…go on! Now if you excuse me, I’m off to do some spring cleaning…… SHARE only if you DARE: