Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How do delete a friend in Facebook ... and will they know?

"How can I unfriend my Facebook friend?"


If I had a dollar for every time somebody asked this question at one of my social media talks or courses, I would be quite a lot richer. I must say, it makes me giggle that people who are just learning how to use Facebook are already so keen to know how they can "unfriend" someone they allowed to be friends with them in the first place - but I know that in the flurry of seeing familiar old faces it's easy to "friend" people who you later don't really want to have so much contact with.

So, the simple answer is: go to your friend's profile page by clicking on their name or searching for them. Under their cover photo, on the right, next to "Message", you'll see a drop-down arrow - click on it and you'll get this box:



And then just click on "Unfriend", and they're gone!

"Will this person know that I have unfriended them?"

This is the second most popular question at my courses, always following close on the heels of the first. See, we're all still wanting to be polite about this, and that's fair enough!

Fortunately, the answer is - probably not. They don't receive any notification that you have unfriended them. However, if they think of you (perhaps when they think they haven't seen your updates for a while) they can go to your profile page, and they will then see that you're not friends. That means if you're considering "unfriending" someone who you know well or who has only a handful of friends so a missing one will be quite obvious, then you might need to reconsider. I save "unfriending" for people I don't know, or who I've forgotten! - for example, former ESL students who I don't have any contact with anymore (and they've probably forgotten me too), or primary school friends who I haven't seen in twenty or (gulp) thirty years! There is another solution.

"Can I reduce what I see from certain friends?"

And finally, a lovely gentleman who came to one of my library talks on social media, Ron, emailed me recently to ask how he could "tone down" the amount of updates he sees from a friend who was flooding his news feed. You know those friends - either they update sixteen times a day, or they post every internet link they've visited, or worst of all, they're playing some of those annoying Facebook games and have their every move posted for us to read. It's an excellent question.

So, when you are looking at your news feed and you see a post from a friend you'd rather see less from, hover your mouse over the post until you see another drop-down arrow in the top right area of the post (you can see it below - it doesn't appear until you hover over the post). Click on it, and you get the following options.



Choose from "All updates", "Most updates" or "Only important updates" and you should see either more or less updates from that particular person. Similarly, if you don't want to see updates from Facebook games, hover over an update in your news feed, click the drop-down arrow and you'll have options for not seeing posts from various games. The best part about this solution is your friends have absolutely no way of knowing that they've been "toned down", unless they steal your password and log in as you! PS, to my friend Anita, shown in the example above: no way am I unsubscribing from you! You're just the example that popped up in my news feed ;-) We are definitely "All updates" kind of friends!

12 comments:

  1. Did they get rid of this feature in the last couple of days? I can't do this anymore. All I see now is "Follow Post," "Hide," and "Reports story or spam."

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    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness! You're quite right! I must investigate. This screen shot is from a few weeks ago (just moved it from my other website) but it certainly still worked at my last course. I will find out!

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  2. Hello Amanda,

    I tried to block someone today on facebook and it said that I would automatically unfriend them, so why is there a setting for unfriending only if blocking them will do the same?? This is someone that I should have never friended to begin with, just someone I briefly knew through a past friend.

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