I’m going to give you the TLD;R up front: Life is too short to let toxic people remain on your Facebook friends list. I know everyone tells you “the unfollow button is your friend” but the Unfriend button is a secret lover who wants to make you feel things.
I know there are many reasons to allow garbage humans to retain Friend status:
1. They might be useful to you at some point in the future. What if they become massively successful and you need their coattails? Or they might be distantly related to Ryan Gosling, and that could be your in!
2. You’re a nice person and you don’t want to offend someone, even if they’re a hate-spewing wound to the collective body of human existence and you wouldn’t trust them to watch your goldfish while you ran errands.
3. You tell yourself “it’s just Facebook, it doesn’t matter” even though you spend more time mindlessly scrolling through it than you do reading books, talking to your parents, or spending time in nature—combined.
But let me break it to you nice and gentle-like: None of these are good reasons to avoid the unfriend. Here’s why you should go ahead and go through with it:
Now that we’ve cleared that up, here’s how you actually go about doing it:
Step One: Open your computer. Facebook will probably already be open and on the screen, because this is who we are now.
Step Two: Scroll past the conveniently placed ads at the top of your feed— Those $7 dresses from China and webinars on how to make a million dollars by teaching other people how to make a million dollars will have to wait.
Step Three: Indulge your impulse to like any and all photos of animals.
Step Four: Identify the asshole as soon as they come across your feed. You will know them by the asshole content they share and the asshole point of view that comes across in the words they type with their asshole fingers. They will probably also look like an asshole so even if there’s a language barrier you should be able to easily identify them.
Step Five: Click on their profile.
Step Six: Dry heave at all the hateful shite you can’t help seeing.
Step Seven: Navigate your cursor over the little button that says “Friends.”
Step Eight: Go ahead and let that feeling of guilt-by-association wash over you. Yes, you are affiliated with a swamp monster on social media. How did it come to this? I don’t know, but today you take back the power.
Step Nine: Push away the doubt you feel when you realize you still have 56 mutual friends. No, you aren’t missing anything. Those 56 people just aren’t as brave as you. Be their Mockingjay.
Step Ten: Let go of your schadenfreude-fueled desire to lurk and judge them from the periphery. You still have hundreds of other Facebook friends who are ripe for judgement.
Step Eleven: Push the button. Push.The.Button. PUSH THE BUTTON.
Step Twelve: Take a screenshot of the little box that pops up and says “Remove as Friend?” Revel in your accomplishment as you confirm the expulsion of Assholery from your life. Send the screenshot to your tribe, so they can congratulate you on the steps you’re taking towards a better life.
That’s all it takes. Now you can be like Djimon Honsou at the end of Gladiator, and bury some little stone people in the dirt of the Colosseum.
Do you unfriend or unfollow? Are you a lurker?
Who is your favorite type of social media user to judge?
Want to keep in touch? Find me on Facebook.