If you’re thinking about “unfriending” someone on Facebook, kick this around before you click: Unfriending a real-life friend could get them to dump you in the real world.
Researchers at the University of Colorado surveyed hundreds of Facebook users. And found that there was a huge disconnect between the reasons people de-friended someone, and the feelings the move caused.
Most people said they cut a connection because there were too many unimportant posts – like, “Just fed my kids PB-and-Js!” To them, it was all about time management – and shouldn’t be taken personally. But nearly half of the people who’d been unfriended said their feelings were so badly hurt that they avoided the other person in real life. That’s because being rejected online hurts just as much as being rejected in person. And the researchers say it’s easy to underestimate the consequences of online slights because we don’t have the benefit of facial expressions, body language and other social cues.
What’s the fix here? Instead of “unfriending” someone whose posts you’re not interested in, try this: Mouse over their name on your page – hover over the “friends” box – and uncheck “show in news feed.” Their posts won’t show up on your page anymore. And they’ll never know a thing about it.