Today on Facebook, I saw Friend A's comment on another friend's status. I realized I hadn't heard from Friend A in awhile, so I clicked over to her profile only to find that we are no longer friends. I have the option to "Request this person as a friend", but evidently Friend A terminated our relationship at some point, so why would I set myself up for rejection?
This is the second time (that I know of) that I've "lost" a friend. For a while I tried to blame it on Facebook, but today I did a little investigation and found that:
"Friend removals are not caused by a technical error on the site, as it is not possible for a friend to be removed without confirmation from one of the users involved. The issue you are experiencing is caused by one of the following reasons:
- This person removed you from their Friend List, either intentionally or accidentally.
- This person has deactivated their account, causing them to disappear from all Friend Lists. If they choose to reactivate their account, they will reappear on these lists."
In other words, I've been de-friended.
Let me say that I'm not overly concerned with how many "friends" (or how few) I have on Facebook. I've run across two predominant realms of thought regarding Facebook friends. The first is to have as many friends as possible. These are the people who send you a friend request simply because they know who you are. They may or may not have even met you, but they are (in my opinion) trying to pad their numbers. I have a few "friends" like that: someone who's child was in pre-K with HanK eleven years ago, but I haven't seen since; or someone who's husband worked with Joel for a few weeks several years ago. So maybe you're thinking that since I accepted those Friend Requests that I'm just as guilty of trying to pad my numbers as they are. Think what you will, but I do not consciously solicit "friendships" where the other person has to ask around before they know who I am...however, I'm probably not above accepting them. Don't judge.
The second line of thought is that one cannot possibly have that many "friends", so people limit their numbers. They won't allow their friend list to exceed a pre-determined number, say 100, maybe 200. When they reach the cut-off, they re-evaluate their list and clean house by de-friending the dead weight. Sounds a little like the Lifeboat Theory to me. If I really only wanted to keep up with the 100 people closest to me, I wouldn't use Facebook, I'd use my cell phone to call them or email them or maybe even send them a card via "snail mail". Facebook is about social networking, not forming a tight-knit group of your closest friends. But if that is the way some people want to utilize it, I won't judge that either.
I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I don't go digging up people to be my friends, but I also don't limit my "friends" based on their level of importance to me. I've reconnected with people from high school and college, former students and even some relatives. Many of these are not the people I think of each day, but when they cross my mind (possibly because they came up in my News Feed) its nice to visit their profile and catch up with them. I even have a few friends who I have not met personally yet, but we have developed a relationship based on a mutual friend or friends. These are people I feel like I know even though we don't have a long history.
Anyway, I must confess that I'm a little troubled over losing friends. Granted, they were not close friends, and who knows how long ago they dumped me before I realized it. But still. Now there are people that I have "hidden" because they drive me crazy in my News Feed~the ones who always give too much information (if you know what I mean) or those who only talk about their party plans and drink mixes. But to actually dissolve a friendship? That would take a lot. Perhaps they grew weary of my status updates about needing a nap or how much I miss BigJoel when he's gone. Or maybe I just didn't make their top 100. I realize its petty to dwell in this valley. I still have lots of friends who "Like" me enough to comment occasionally or at least keep me around, even if it is just to pad their numbers...