Would I sit down with this person one on one and talk over a meal?
If the answer is no, then why are you Facebook friends with them?
With practically everyone in the Western World having a Facebook account these days, do you really want to share your life’s most intimate moments with mere strangers who you went to school with over a decade ago who you haven’t seen since? The moments such as the birth of your child, the passing away of a relative, the photos you are tagged in at your beach holiday. I personally only want my nearest and dearest who I keep in contact with offline regularly to see these things.
My current friends list?
How did I get to this number you ask?
I’d ask myself the simple question; would I sit down and have a meal with every single one of them? Would I be comfortable talking to them in person for an hour or more? Would be happy letting them know about my most personal details?
It all began when I discovered the term minimalism. I was going through some health difficulties during the time and decided to rid myself of all possessions, people, commitments and negative things in my life all at once. The Facebook friends list of over 300 people was on my radar. I had people on there that I had met once on a hiking group day trip and said about two words to in my whole life. People I’d been to high school with that I never really was friends with whilst there. People I’d previously been in sports teams with and hadn’t seen in over a decade.
What was the point?
I didn’t care about what they were up to. I’d never meet up with them in real life, so why would I want to see their rose tinted, highlight reel on their Facebook wall? The answer was obvious. Cull to my hearts content. The ‘unfriend’ button was like a steam train. I unfriended the obvious and got through the first 200 with ease. The remaining 60 or so became a bit harder to decide on, but I figured if worst comes to worst, I can always add them back at a later date and play dumb that I unfriended them by mistake (or we were never friends to begin with from my memory). I only had at the most three people that sent me a message or a friend invite saying we had been unfriended over the next six months. Out of 240+ people, three seemed more than manageable retrospectively.
So what positives have come out of this ruthless unfriending experience?
- My news feed isn’t clogged with useless crap. I can see instantly what my closest 37 friends and family are up to.
- I compare myself to less people. Facebook is essentially a highlight reel of peoples best parts of their lives. I have less new cars and overseas holidays to compare to.
- I stress less. The minimal approach to my friends list is one less thing to worry about.
- I’ve got less acquaintances and more genuine close friends because of it.
- I’m not adding people to compete with having the most friends. I’m content with 37.
This step was only the beginning. Miss Health and I have now essentially quit Facebook all together. The benefits are even more exaggerated than the above and we couldn’t be happier. We still use it to message groups on the messenger app but as a whole, I don’t miss it at all.
So what are you waiting for?
“Unfriend” is your friend.