It’s undeniable that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people you love and care about. It’s a platform that easily keeps you updated on people’s lives without the real need for a catch-up chat or in-person meet-up.
However, as soon as you make the decision to add a random party acquaintance or childhood friend, and once you follow all the famous people you idolize and all the brands and pages you enjoy keeping tabs on, your Facebook newsfeed can easily transform into an irrelevant and congested mess, making it harder to keep track of your family’s photos and friends’ witty status updates.
For you social butterflies out there who regret being too heavy-handed with accepting Facebook friend requests in the past, here’s a handy questionnaire you can use to re-evaluate your network and efficiently prune your bloated virtual address book.
1.) Is he or she someone you went to school with…when you were 8?
I won’t lie; it’s fun to reminisce with someone who knew you back when you still had baby teeth, but unless you’ve managed to remain friends since you were both still using training wheels, it’s totally OK to hit the unfriend button. If you weren’t super tight, they probably won’t be offended that you did, and in many cases they might not even notice.
2.) Is he or she someone who regularly posts articles from The Onion, thinking it’s actual news?
Not a lot of people get and understand satirical websites. If you haven’t yet, you can post a comment to one of their posts to kindly let them know the deal. Give them a chance to realize the
But if they still fall for the same old crap, feel free to click unfollow to hide them from your newsfeed forever. If, on top of falling for satirical pieces they also post comments on your posts that are just as ignorant and shortsighted, take it as a sign to unfriend.
3.) Is he or she someone you work with?
Is this person someone you’d gladly drink a beer or two with? Definitely keep. Is this person someone who wouldn’t hesitate to fire you for your previous Facebook posts? Err on the side of caution and just unfriend. (Why the heck did you add them on Facebook in the first place, anyway? That’s what Twitter is for.)
4.) Is this person’s timeline mainly comprised of his or her daily horoscope?
Chances are, that person probably doesn’t use Facebook very often, so consider connecting with them through a different social site, if you must. Either that, or they’re lame and not worth keeping in contact with to begin with.
5.) Does he or she exclusively post ridiculous conspiracy theories?
These posts are just newsfeed clutter. Unfollow if you can’t bring yourself to fully unfriend.
6.) Is this person your mom or your dad who always posts inappropriate comments to all your updates?
Sigh. You really shouldn’t be Facebook friends with your folks if this is the case. However, if unfriending either of them will bring a lot of unwanted drama into your life, just create a custom filter (Click on “Custom” in the your message privacy menu) for your posts. It’s tedious, but necessary to keep your stress levels low.
This would also be a good time to update your Restricted list.
7.) Does he or she post political rants on the regular?
If they regularly post hateful stuff then sure, unfriend them; unfollowing might not be enough because they can still post hateful responses on your timeline. You can consider adding them back after the elections are over, if you feel like you have to. However, if they un-ironically follow Donald Trump, you can probably unfriend them and not feel too bad about it.
8.) Is he or she a Nickelback fan?
Click this and unfriend everyone listed on it.
9.) Is he or she a friend of a friend that you met a couple of years ago at a party?
If you haven’t spoken in the last six months (which is already a super generous time frame), unfriend.
10.) Did he or she add you on Facebook to share a money-making opportunity?
First, you’re dumb for accepting their friend request in the first place. Second, unfriend and tell them to GTFO.
11.) Is he or she an ex?
If you’re married and are completely happy with your life now, and the thought of your ex no longer makes you go insane, then there’s no harm in keeping contact, especially if you’re still in good terms.
You can also feel free to unfriend if you haven’t talked in ages and his or her posts bore the hell out of you. But if you’re keeping them around just to stalk them or make you feel better about yourself, do yourself a favor and unfriend.
12.) Is his or her name making you go, “Who the hell is this person?”
Unfriend. If they’re not memorable enough to make you remember where you met them or what their name is, then you probably aren’t that interested in keeping up with them.
13.) Is he or she blatantly racist, sexist, or a despicable human being in some other way?
Why are they still on your friends list? Un-freaking-friend.
Illustration via Max Fleishman