We’ve all been there. You break up with your boyfriend, fight with your Bio lab partner, resent your freshman year roommate for getting a better internship than you. In a booze-fueled rage you sit at your computer at 2am going through Facebook, wanting so badly to cut these people off altogether. Why do you need to know that the old roomie is hanging out with Kanye? Or that your ex already found a rebound girl and her boobs are really, really big?
Before you know it, you get caught up in the whirlwind that is FB’s newsfeed and suddenly you’re hating on people you haven’t seen in three years. Sarah’s mom sends her care packages from Sephora? Bitch! Jamie is dating that hot TA? You had your eye on him first and she knows it! Your best friend is dating your little brother? Gross and unacceptable!
In a flash, the floodgates have opened. You’re going to defriend them all, that’s what you’re going to do! With your mouse hovering above the delete button, you pause for a moment. Sure, consciously getting rid of a Facebook friend is the modern day equivalent of sending someone to the guillotine. Off with their heads and their damn status updates! But while it might feel good in the moment to erase these people from your life account, it’s more than a little likely that you’ll come to regret your cutthroat ways.
In a few months you’ll probably be dating someone new and the hurt caused by your ex-BF’s fling with Pam Anderson will have subsided. It was, after all, just a fling and apparently he ditched her via wall post. Too bad you gave him the axe; you would have loved to read that one. Not to mention your roommate got fired from her internship for enjoying an event’s open bar a little too much. Talk about the funniest tagged photos you’ll never see. Actually, it seems that whole unfriending spree really cut you out of the loop with everyone.
And what about the other cases of Iwannadeleteyou syndrome? Like the people who you want to stalk keep up with but don’t want seeing your business, or the people who update their statuses every five minutes with the most obnoxious things you’ve ever read (but secretly love…making fun of)? Quality over quantity seems like the mature answer- keep your actual friends, give everyone else the boot. Yet again, no one wants to be the only person on Facebook with twenty friends and no one to gossip about.
Say you somehow got to that point, though, and are reading the same tiny group of people’s rarely updated pages. Between yawning and yearning for new material, the thought of re-adding all your old friends occurs to you. Forget the tedious process of looking up three hundred people who may or may not remember that you exist. How awkward would it be to request friendship with all your past hook-ups, random drunk girls with whom you’ve had bathroom heart-to-hearts, and cute guys you sat behind in countless semesters of college? You just can’t do it.
Facebook is tricky territory to navigate and often the decisions you make are irreversible. In an online society where the only fate worse than actual death is social death, it’s a tough call when it comes to controlling your “friend” population.
So what do you do – delete now and suffer later? Or suffer now and indulge later?
It’s like Sophie’s Choice, 2.0. And it plagues us all.