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I Unfriended Someone I Haven't Spoken To In Years (And He Messaged Me About It)

Uh...
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"Hey! Did you delete me off Facebook? Lol." This was a message I didn't expect to wake up to. Confused and still slightly groggy, I read the rest of the message. He explained that Facebook Memories—a feature I have a love-hate relationship with because I do not need to see my emo statuses from 2009, tnx—reminded him of a post I left on his wall a few years back. So naturally, he checked my profile and realized that we were no longer friends on the platform. 

He wasn't hostile about it. And TBH, I felt bad for deleting him because he wasn't a horrible person or anything—just someone I genuinely thought I'd never speak to again. We became "friends" when MySpace was a thing, and we hadn't spoken to each other since we were teens. He and I also have nothing in common: not interests, social circles, or life stages. I laid in bed, debating whether or not I should reply. What do I even say?

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He was a good guy. He also probably already felt weird about messaging someone who unfriended him on social media. I decided to go with the truth because it's what he deserved. 

So I said something along the lines of, "Hi! Honestly, I just thought we'd moved on from that stage of our lives so while I was *cleaning* my list, I unfriended you. But I'm happy to see that you and your family are doing well. Your son is so cute!"

He replied and said that even if it's been a long time, he spent a good amount of his teen years talking to me and he just wanted to make sure I wasn't dead yet. (If you know me IRL, you know I found this funny.) He gave me a few more life updates and asked about what I've been up to as well. I responded one more time and the conversation sort of just gradually stopped. He hasn't messaged me since nor has he tried adding me on Facebook again. I'd like to believe that he understood why I did it and that there are no hard feelings. 

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This got me thinking: Should I have had a conversation with him before I "erased" him from my feed? Should I have tried to reconnect with him first? I soon realized I was just feeling guilty because he and I had such a pleasant, respectful exchange that didn't end with anyone being rude, defensive, or problematic. No virtual shouting match. No tantrums.

I wanted to be more intentional about the news I consumed, the posts I exerted emotional energy on, and the people I kept close—both IRL and online.

My job requires me to be online for most of my waking hours, which means I've been exposed to a lot of the Internet's ugliness. I'd forgotten what it's like to talk about something innately uncomfortable with a stranger and walk away feeling like I learned from that experience. In retrospect, I don't regret giving my Facebook a much needed cleansing, lol. I wanted to be more intentional about the news I consumed, the posts I exerted emotional energy on, and the people I kept close—both IRL and online. Still, I know this approach doesn't work for everyone, so if you're thinking about a social media detox instead, here are a few suggestions from our Cosmo Community:

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  • "I've made it a point to keep Twitter and Facebook off of my phone. Instagram is still there but it's a conscious effort din not to be too attached to it. It limits my time on social media to when I'm on my laptop. Sometimes, I don't use my laptop on the weekends at all. Sarap to just be logged off social media, tbh. If you want to be off social media but not live in a bubble, you can use apps like Google News as a news source. You can curate apps like that naman for specific topics, publications, etc." -Jewel
  • "The major source of stress I was getting from social media was from following the wrong accounts: Accounts that never made me feel relaxed and safe while online, accounts that always made me want to buy more things or force myself to look a certain way. I unfollowed [fewer] influencers, brands, retailers, celebrities, and models, and replaced them with artists, local businesses, inspirational figures, and trailblazers who looked more like me (speaking as a short and chubby morena, lol). Filling my feed with accounts that made me feel represented and inspired drastically enhanced my social media experience to the point that I didn't need a detox, it was a haven again." -Andrea
  • "Turn on your 'Do Not Disturb' settings so you don't need to respond to messages at the end of day. Helps you go undisturbed while you [watch] Netflix on your phone, too. For iOS, you can set an option for calls from Favorites to come through, so put emergency/urgent contacts there." -Aussy
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