Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Facebook Un-Friend

Friends keep asking social etiquette questions about Facebook. For the most part, the interactions are unchartered. Although I advise the same good common sense as in real life, I’m now struggling with my own situation and how it will spill over.

I’m not by any means a public figure in my city but because of a local community blog, people know me. A city staff member once wrote, “We haven't met (and I'd like to remedy that) but I am ______________; and I am in need a of a great big favor.” So we corresponded and I tried to help.

A short time later her city email showed up on my friend finder in Facebook and she accepted my offer of friendship. As I like to make personal contact with all my new friends, I wrote on her wall, etc.

But she has unfriended me. I find myself wondering why. She could have just blocked me from seeing her status updates.

Gosh this whole Facebook thing is getting complicated.

I’m sure the college kids are way past this. Truthfully, I don’t care. To me it’s a friendship lost. I liked her status updates and thought she was fun and wild like me.

But this is the communications person for my city. Since I blog about our city, I’ll have to interact with her in the future. What do I do?

1.) Directly send a message on Facebook and ask why? Did I do something wrong?
2.) Ask her why when I see her in person?
3.) Pretend nothing happened both in emails and in person?

Yes, we weren’t really friends, but I was hoping to get to know her better. Yes, I understand it is more of a professional relationship with me and you don’t want your crazy everyday observations to go public. Today she has 195 friends, not many by a younger person’s standards, but obviously more than just a close circle. Plus, she has kept my fellow community blogger as a friend as well as other city staff, so it’s just me kicked off the list.

It’s just Facebook right so I have to ignore it? I guess I will.


  1. In my experience the fact that a person is no longer on your friends list becomes less noticeable the more friends you have. I've occasionally notice the # go down and can't figure out who left - not that I'd spend much time on that. Now that there are over 200 - I'm not so sure I want many more - so I'm seriously thinking about all those suggestions I get from old high school friends - when I only remember the person's name and not much else. Although I've separated friends into lists - I don't yet have each list with different privacy settings. My kids have told me it's not cool to notice or to actually talk about what's going on on fb in person. If you can't see her page at all, then you've been unfriended - either accidentally or on purpose. If you want to be in touch you can send a message on fb without being friends. After a couple of back & forths you might want to send a new friend request and see what happens.

  2. It's true that my number has fluctuated down and I couldn't tell who was gone. Since I wrote the post I noticed a few others.

    I agree with your son that you should never say anything in person. However my friends' son was unfriended and when he talked about it with the friend, the other person thought he had unfriended. They were close so they realized it was just a glitch. The message is a good idea.

    I have my privacy settings the same for everyone except for someone who decided to block his status from me. I did the same but haven't blocked his wife. I don't miss his getting drunker by the minute status updates when he goes out with old buddies. He probably is wise to block his status.

    My friends often talk about what is going on in Facebook -- follow up on status or links. In this way it helps strengthen those friendships. Interesting to hear the younger generation doesn't discuss it. It all comes down to how important you believe Facebook to be.