How To Deal With Someone Unfriending You

Facebook friendship is fleeting and borderline meaningless. But that doesn't mean rejection and betrayal don't sting. Getting dumped is horrible, painful, and guaranteed to happen. Here's how to handle a devastating digital breakup.

Factors To Consider

It's possible you're really goddamn annoying on Facebook -- lots of stupid shared "joke pictures", confrontational political statements, mundane check-ins -- in which case, who can blame anyone for unfriending you? You're a terrible friend. Friends should be interesting. Why weren't you more interesting? You brought this upon yourself, and now everyone is running away from you. Start being better and you'll start making friends. That's your best shot.

But let's say you're just a regular guy being cool on Facebook -- posting the occasional fun photo, insightful link, amusing status update, thoughtful birthday wishes. You manage your Timeline like a pro! You're a good person, and a good Facebook Friend.

And someone still unfriends you. You have reason to be offended. When friendship means so, so precious little, taking the time to click enough to remove someone from your list of fake friends is hugely insulting. You're beneath fake friendship. Someone doesn't even want to see your name written down on an LCD screen. You're repulsive to them. Unfriending on Facebook is like being kicked out of fat camp for being too fat. And ugly. Ugly and fat.

But, don't forget:

Unfriending Is Healthy

It's a normal, perfectly rational thing people do on Facebook all the time. Most of your hundreds of Facebook friends aren't actually your friends, because it's emotionally impossible for a single person to have hundreds of friends simultaneously. Being unfriended might be someone simply waking up and recognising the absurdity Facebook thrusts us into. They're just attempting to rectify it, using features built into said social network.

And yet...

We're all petty enough to care.

Let It Go, But Be Weird About It

If it's someone you actually know -- a coworker, friend of a friend, some peripheral talking blob -- you probably shouldn't make a fuss. Particularly, if they're connected to someone who is actually important in your life, it's best to just let the affront slide.

But some day, whenever the two of you meet in person again, you'll briefly lock eyes. I know what you did, and you know what you did. It's a moment of mutual panic, guilt, and animus. That'll quickly subside, and you'll go about your lives. Who knows, maybe you'll both end up forgetting the whole thing. You might even friend one another again. And so the cycle continues.

Or, if you feel like a fight...

Call Them The Hell Out

This part is fun. If you're not really worried what these people think about you, publicly expose what they truly are -- cruel. Cruel jerks. They'll get their comeuppance. These unfrienders think you probably won't even notice, and if you ever do, you'll be too apathetic or nervous to say anything about it.

But bringing up the vile act -- either online or in person -- will shock them to their core. They'll be taken aback that you're enough of a weirdo to bring up a Facebook unfriending. Watch as they stammer excuses, stutter, and try to explain. They'll offer to refriend you. "It was a mistake! Oh, how did that happen?" They'll feel bad and weird and guilty. They'll feel something, which is better than Facebook's typical emotional feedback void. Sure, it's trolling, but it'll make you feel better without any kind of real moral transgression. The Internet should always be making you feel better.

This happened to me last year, when, after posting about a Facebook bug that actually revealed who'd defriended you, one girl I sort of used to know, who'd recently deleted me, reached out. Panic-stricken. Ashamed. But I forgave -- as should you. Now we're sort of faux-friends again on The Book, and all is well. If anything, we're closer!

Just Remember

There's nothing wrong with a little revenge online. The consequences are so low, the results so ephemeral. What would've been a hissy fit IRL is as simple as sending an email. When all that's required is a slide and tap of the finger, petty loses the fight against pettier. You win. And then you can add the reconciliation to your Timeline as a Major Life Event.

User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette.



    You serious? Is this story written by an immature teenager? Who gives a crap - I bet you don't even talk or know half your facebook friends and unless you go into that personals profile you will never notice you've been unfriended. It's not like a post is created saying your are no longer friends with... I would unfriend the writer of this too with that attitude (revenge wtf??)

    It's Facebook people - get a life. I delete people all the time - its pretty easy - one click on their timeline and they are gone doesn't take effort.

    I unfriend acquaintances who don't mature into real friends. I try to keep my facebook friends under 150.

    Annoying friends I generally just hide so we can still message each other but their garbage doesn't fill my feed.

    Wow, this article sounds really immature , petty and ridiculous.
    Why not just ignore whoever unfriended you?

    Maybe you or they have found enough uncommon opinions.....
    Either way like most of the above Grow up accept that you no longer share many opinions or views or you or they annoy or irritate, there's how many people on the planet so the one who unfriends you is just one more person who disagrees with you , NO BIGGY :)

    A friend is someone who will come in the middle of the night to give you a ride when you have a flat tyre,
    Ask yourself how many of these alleged friends on facebook would even contemplate helping you out, hence these are not friend, they are just people. It should have been called People book. No wonder facebook shares have lost half its value and continuously fall in value. What an evil evil company.

      I don't really get your point.... by calling it 'facebook' at least you could just say 'they're just faces'? Same point? It's not called 'friendbook'? Your logic is astounding and screams out no accountability for those actually using it?

    I'm hitting the ignore on this article.

    I've got more of a problem with people I went to high school with wanting to friend me just to bump their numbers. They weren't my friend at high school so why friend me now?

    I used to keep a lean list and unfriend often, but it just caused way too much drama. Now I just put them into either the Acquaintances List or the Restricted List. The person may as well be unfriended, but there's no hurt feelings if you bump into them down the track.

    1. "confrontational political statements"
    2. "Friends should be interesting"

    What if you find confrontational political statements to be interesting, Mr Biddle?


    I like your work because I like your writing style, but I don't always agree with you, so you make me think. Journalism hardly ever does that for me now, so I appreciate it.

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