Culling Facebook Friends

Posted on June 1, 2009


Hello. Hope you are all well.

Last week after a very public week-long proclaimation, 60 Facebook friends from my list were culled. The chances of them seeing the light of my Facebook friends list is very, very slim. Zilch. Nada. Naught.

I counted down from T minus seven days, with a daily update on my profile page at midday.

I now have a somewhat manageable 147 friends left. Making me somewhere between a homeless recluse and a mid-twenties blonde who has more male hits than a Perez Hilton blog.

Fear the blue button!

Fear the blue button!

I’m tempted to believe most people only hang out and keep close contact with around 30 people in their adulthood. These are the people they talk to on Facebook with on a regular basis or have a vested interest in each other to keep the friendship alive – my good friends, my old friends,  my uni friends who have kept in touch with me since I graduated with a full head of hair, family who sadly I can’t remove or you risk running an unmitigated massive PR disaster and people I don’t speak with or see often/anymore, but still have their Facebook friends reputation intact as their various updates have kept me relatively entertained. Besides, I have contributed to some of their conversations before, and I could see some use in them in the future.

(I just realised I have just written the longest sentence without a proper full stop^^. It’s very un-journalist of me but someone call the Care Police. At least I still know the difference between ‘their’, ‘there’, ‘they’re’, ‘it’s’ and ‘its’.)

The worst friends one can possibly add (from a mid 30s bloke point of view) are the ones you added after attending a mate’s party. You know the kinds, you guys get along pretty well for a few hours and after a few drinks, the inevitable question arrives.

“Are you on Facebook? ADD ME!!”

I counted about 30 of those on my list. I’m glad to say 95% of them were culled. For the fortunate 5%, I had the pleasure of seeing them again and enjoying their company. Besides, I’m not unkeen on making new friends.

Another group of friends whom I culled with much glee were old uni friends who were only on my list perhaps to boost my e-penis and virtual popularity back in uni days.

“Oh my gawd you have 200 friends! Mate you are so cool!”

Okay settle down people. It’s just 200 friends. If I really am cool, how come you guys never invite me to your 21st party. Or drinks. Or coffee. I’m not adverse to sleepovers either.

My point is, it’s funny looking at the people you have added onto your list over the years. It made me think about the kind of friends, errr…people you have erred (pardon the pun) the side of. Sometime I had to ask myself “Who are these people?”

It truly is embarrassing when I’ve had nary a word to say to my friend and I realised he’s been on my list for all of *insert time here*.

I found myself having to click on said friend’s profile, looking at their pictures and info to make sense of who they are before I went “Oh so this is who you are.” Then it’s a simple click and delete. Bye bye friend. It was nice knowing you.

As the days went by, it’s funny watching people’s reactions to my daily updates. I believe I could count on both hands the number of people who agreed they should do the same. That’s a fair number of people who have friends they really don’t need or know but have mysteriously appeared on their list for no rhyme or reason.

I don’t know if they have done the same yet, but I believe many are suffering from guilt. You know, the kind of guilt one harbours because they know their name will be listed on the ‘Friends you may know’ category when all along you thought you’ve already added them onto your list!

Then there are the friends who were desperately grasping at thin air when the noose has already been cut.

“Don’t cull me! I was *insert random activity*”

“Hello! I hope you don’t remove me!”

Oh tragedy. You’ve lost an online friend. Cry me a river.

Removing people aside, I’m also wary of who I add to my list these days. A couple of colleagues have asked me if I’m on Facebook, but I turned Mr Diplomatic on and suggested I am on Facebook, but would rather not mix business with pleasure. Even the boss. There’s no point sugar-coating it with reasons, but a simple and tactful no with above-mentioned reason is sufficient to deter even the most die-hard Facebook freak whose sole purpose in life is to boost their flagging online popularity with an excess of 500 friends.

Now, when you have that many friends in life I do have the question how many of them do you honestly keep in touch with. It’s called Facebook, not AcquaintaceBook. Nor is it PeopleIHaveOnlyMetOnceAndWillNeverSeeAgainBook.

I also wish to advise all people who’re wanting to remove friends from their list to do it without any guilt! Most of your ‘friends’ are far too self-absorbed and busy adding other ‘friends’ to remember you nor care about losing you as a friend. Win-win situation really.

Keeping in touch would mean these people are worth your time and pleasure. These are the people you’d invite to your house over (as many have had), your wedding (ditto) or social gatherings (check). Even regular conversations that evoke past memories of how time has gone by and circumstances that Life has presented us to lead us into our current state of duress (uh, check.)