Out of Sight, Out of Mind? The Pros & Cons of Unfriending

Gianna Leto
January 3, 2018

I have a bad habit that I’m continuously called out on by my friends. That is, of course, deleting people off of social media when I’ve had enough (in real life and online).

Some may call it petty. I, however, call it cleansing—like the massive weight of someone else’s toxicity has been lifted off of my shoulders and slingshotted straight into the digital abyss. Many people are fearful of removing others on social media for a number of reasons, one of them being that we are nosy at best and must always be involved in everyone else’s business.

Another hesitation, though, is that subtle understanding that once you remove someone from your social feeds, that person is cut off from your life and you are cut off from theirs.

And that is exactly why I do it.

I have a few reasons why I believe this out of sight, out of mind tactic works when removing unwanted people from your life, and I stand by each and every one of them. However, to prove that I am an open-minded individual, I am going to explore the pros and cons of each of these reasons.

Reason #1: Moving Forward

Pros: I truly believe that the best and only way to move forward is not to forget the past completely, but to simply avoid reopening old wounds. When you follow someone on social media, you automatically become submerged in this other person’s life. When their content is constantly popping up on your feed, you’re forced to view their experiences through a social media lense, and ultimately, that will cause your progress to falter. It’s hard to let things go when there’s a constant reminder poking you every time you open an app.

Cons: “Taking the high road” probably isn’t an option here. Nor is “being the bigger person.” In today’s world, deleting people from social media is a major offense, and yeah, you just went there. You may look a little dramatic at first, but hey, I guess that’s the price you have to pay to keep your sanity intact. But let’s face the facts here: You’ll probably look like a kookoo bird anyway when you have your friends stalk them for you sometime in the near future. Like tomorrow. Or in an hour.

Reason #2: Making a Point

Pros: For people who know me personally, they know that I’m all about making a statement. If I deleted you on social media, you probably deserved it, and I’m not about to let your wrongdoing go unnoticed. Sometimes you have to make moves that clearly explain how you will and will not allow yourself to be treated. And to be quite honest, there’s no better way to tell someone to shove it than by deleting them online. Boy bye.

Cons: Sometimes this point will be missed and you will come off as bitter or spiteful. You will probably be accused of “caring too much,” because apparently, expressing human emotion isn’t a thing anymore. To be quite honest, your whole unfriending movement won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and you’ll just be down a follower. Sad!

Reason #3: Cutting Communication

Pros: Usually when you go on a deleting spree, it’s because you want no point of contact with the person you’re removing. No, you may not randomly Snapchat me when you’re bored, hit me with an Instagram like to remind me that you still exist, or comment on a Facebook post that has nothing to do with you. Social media has made us lazy when it comes to communicating with each other, allowing us to accept the bare minimum from the people around us. Tagging me in a meme does not count as a conversation, sorry. When you remove someone from your social accounts, it causes them to actually make an effort to reach out to you through a text message or *gasp* a phone call.

Cons: I often find myself in a position where after unfriending someone, the situation simmers down, and then I’m inevitably forced to add them again because we decided to set aside our differences. In case you were wondering, yes, I always feel salty as hell. But will I ever stop doing it? The answer is no. The con here is that the person you’re deleting could very well be your friend, and eventually, you will start to miss their digital presence in your everyday life. You’ll have the sudden urge to snap them an ugly selfie only to realize that you can’t because you’re a stubborn, stubborn gal.

Well, there you have it, ladies and gents: a full, in-depth analysis regarding the pros and cons of unfriending people on social. Next time you want to go savage mode on your loved ones, be sure to refer to this blog first to weigh out your options.

You may be able to unfriend someone online, but you still have to deal with them in person. (After all, deleting someone in “real” life would probably result in a jail sentence.) So use that unfriend button wisely, my friends. Be safe out there.