Are Your Social Media Friendships Worth It?

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March 17, 2016

These days, we do most of our interaction through social media. Really, it’s a good and a bad thing simultaneously. On the one hand, you are able to keep in touch with a larger number of people than you normally would but you may start to wonder if herding that many cats is more work than it’s worth.

In the old days, we took our time and vetted a person before we decided to make them an actual friend. During the process, some people would fade away entirely, some people would become wonderful acquaintances and a select few would make it to the inner circle. Nowadays, even your bank teller could send a friend request and, you know, most of us would feel obliged to accept it.

As a result, many of us end up sharing intimate details about our personal lives with a huge group of people, many of whom would have never been chosen as close friends the old-fashioned way. If you ever find yourself feeling unsure about who you’ve added to your social media accounts, keep reading!

Who Are Your Friends?

We add so many people over time and rarely stop to look through our friends list. Since only a percentage of people ever really comment or like things, you can forget about certain people entirely. Take a few moments to look through the names and see if you actually recognize them and, if you do, ask yourself how you feel about them.

How Do You Interact?

Once you’ve become acquainted with your “friends,” consider how you interact with each other. Does that person ever react to what you post? Do you react to them? If you have little to no interaction with them, ask yourself why. Look through their content. Did you unfollow them or have their posts just been buried by some stupid algorithm?

Also, consider whether you only interact in a negative way. For example, do you share photos, stories and experiences from your life and get no reaction but notice that certain people only pipe up to disagree with your opinions? If so, what does this mean?

Is it Productive?

Sometimes, the people we argue with have valid points. No one should feel the need to insulate themselves from opposing opinions – that’s how we learn. It’s one thing if the other person presents their perspective in a productive, respectful way. This gives everyone an opportunity to consider what’s being said without feeling threatened.

If, however, they disagree by being dismissive, rude, or abusive, the only thing that will be accomplished is the damaging of the relationship. If someone only seems to appear to hurt your feelings, it’s probably not adding anything to your life, or your timeline.

When to Unfriend

If you go through all of the preceding steps and discover people that you don’t know (and, possibly, don’t want to know), identify people with whom you rarely interact, or discover that your interactions with certain individuals are mostly negative, you may want to consider removing them from your friends list.

Some people choose to unfollow or go through the effort of designating others to certain lists that can only see specific content. That’s entirely up to you but, in the end, if you don’t want someone to have access to your life or information, perhaps it’s better to establish a real boundary versus an imaginary one.

Have you ever done a mass cleaning of your social media friends list? What steps did you take? How did you feel afterwards?

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