Friday, May 4, 2012

Friend Deletions

Social networking has evolved to a point where whether or not real life connections are shared online they sacrifice the relationship is our offline lives.  I pretty much envy people that do not use social networking or the ones that have accounts and barely touch them.

I share very little online these days and I am the most verbal on my fan page.  There are plenty of reasons for this the biggest being I don’t care for the prying nature of people and also not wanting to bombard my family with random geek pictures.  Over the years I have gotten very selective with people that I add to my accounts (and with those that I keep on them).  Long gone are the days of early MySpace where adding people all ages around the world was appropriate.  Those days are very much gone, but I did make a few good friends from across the country that way.  Some of which I am still close with ten years later and those relationships no longer exist solely online.

I have gotten quite picky with who gets to see my personal information.  Not that there is much there anyway.  But I have a new habit of kicking people out.  A no tolerance policy if you will.  But what leads me to remove a person or de-friend?  Usually, it’s the result of a lack of communication.  Sometimes it’s the result of a major problem.  I had quite a few very old friendships that had big problems and yes I could just ignore them and keep them as “friends” but that’s not my style.  I am not fake nor am I good at avoiding something that is bugging me.  If there is a problem I usually try to work it out and I will keep trying until I exhaust myself, but when the problem cannot be solved I tend to cut ties quickly. 

Often I find that by removing social network connections the problematic friendships get better but sometimes they disappear.  By removing the social network both parties are forced to not be lazy in the friendship.

My general intent in deletion is not “I am through with you” and it shouldn’t be as offensive as people take it.  My intention is this, there is a problem here and we have grown apart I have done what I can and now it’s up to you.  For anyone I have removed I have never blocked them by any other means of communication.  I don’t want these types of problems to grow into even bigger problems with social network complications.  I have found when I keep such people in my social networks they kind of weasel their way out of dealing with the issue which becomes a bigger issue and keeps ballooning because it’s public.  It’s the internet version of the elephant in the room.

Forever ago one of my girlfriends had said how she deletes anyone she hasn’t talked to in a month on social networking and I am not quite that strict, because people are busy nor do I think I should hear from 400 people on a regular basis every day of the month.  She had said she wanted to restrict her networks to those actively involved in her life and at the time I didn’t understand.  Several years later, I now understand.

I have had some problematic friendships in the past where I was the person on the deletion end and to be honest I never knew there was a problem.  At the same time I remember being confused but not offended.  Since then these friendships have been strengthened by not being involved with each other on the internet and now we are connected again through networking because we solved those issues offline and without text messages.  A real relationship with a person is one that takes place without typed word being the dominant form of communication.

I learned from my experience in being deleted how it can help make a person realize there is an issue here and how it can be a very good thing whether or not the relationship is saved or not.  For the people I have removed the ball has been in their court to reestablish a place in my circle.  Its rare I completely close the door and if I do it’s obvious because I will block people.

I actually get quite upset when I get to point of deletion, but it has a lot of benefits in the long run.  My purpose in this post is to tell people that deletion off of social networks should not be taken so personal or treated as a closed door, it's a way of shining a light on a weak connection and an opportunity to strengthen it.  So go pick up the phone, CALL your friend/s, and do something about it.   

It's an opportunity not an ending.

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