It's not something we ever want to do: deliberately unfriending someone on Facebook or another social media medium is a gut-wrenching feeling. So then, why dedicate a whole day to it?
Well, there are more reasons to unfriend somebody besides "my friendship is over." For one, maybe you've accrued some Facebook friends who you don't actually know. Or perhaps some of your friends have gone inactive or don't show up on your feed and are just taking up cyberspace on your friend list. Maybe you do need some relief from an over-sharer or a toxic personality, and that's okay too. With nearly 1/7th of the world's total population on Facebook, it's simply impossible for everybody to be friends.
So, if you're planning on slimming down your Friend List this National Unfriend Day, here are some things you should know:
1. Jimmy Kimmel started National Unfriend Day in 2010
"Friendship is a sacred thing, and I believe Facebook is cheapening it," said Kimmel. "I encourage you to cut some of the friend fat out of your life."
Though Jimmy Kimmel brought it up on his show initially as a joke, he practices annually and brings it back as a segment on his November 17th airings:
Jimmy Kimmel's philosophy is backed by etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas , Diane Gottsman.
"Just because you unfriend someone doesn't mean that it is a negative move," said Gottsman. "Relationships change. Not that you're being ugly but there just sometimes is not a reason to continue that relationship or let them have a window into the world.”
2. "Unfriend" is a relatively new word
"Unfriend" was added to the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2009.
"It has both currency and potential longevity," said Christine Lindberg, a language researcher for Oxford's U.S. dictionary program, to CNN. "In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year."
Unfriend is a verb, which is defined by the NOAD as: "To remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook."
When the New Oxford American Dictionary announced "Unfriend" as its 2009 word of the year, people definitely reacted.
3. There is a Facebook page that will tell you who to unfriend
And here it is.
The basic criteria across the board is this:
• If you wouldn’t loan someone 50 dollars, unfriend them.
• If you wouldn’t invite them to your birthday party, unfriend them.
• If you wouldn’t cry if they got hit by a bus, unfriend them.
But some newer guidelines have emerged as the unofficial holiday has gained momentum:
- They're your mom
- You don't actually know them
- You've hidden them on your newsfeed because their status updates are too annoying
- They send you invite after invite after invite to everything from quizzes and games to lame charity cause parties
- You were friends in high school ... and haven't spoken since
So happy unfriending, and may your Facebook feed feel a little bit lighter and your mind be a little more at peace.
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