Why Are Friends Deleting Us From Facebook?

With a simple click, a friend can become a complete stranger. What makes you do it?

The inclusion of  new technologies and the internet in people’s daily lives has caused important changes in many areas : the way of shopping, the way of studying, of entertaining, etc.

In addition, due to the internet, and specifically  social networks, there has been a change in the way we relate to others, and it has allowed us to meet many new people, people from all corners of the world.

Facebook makes friends … and enemies

But social media not only allows us to make new friends, it also allows us to undo them. Research from the University of Colorado Denver (USA) has provided information on why some people delete their friends from Facebook. 

As has been concluded in the study, ” They usually do so because they consider that the opinions expressed by the other person about religion or politics are very radical . This happens more often with high school classmates.

Your political ideology could be the main cause of ‘exclusion’ on Facebook

Facebook statuses and opinions are an opportunity to show ourselves to the world and are an opportunity to express what we feel and what we think. Since Facebook broke into the lives of all of us, those of us who connect daily to this social network constantly see the status of our contacts updated. 

In this sense, we can repeatedly see their views on politics, and we see their most deeply rooted beliefs and values ​​reflected. We can also get to see their opinions in the different groups or posts, coming to appreciate their radicalism behind their words. It seems, then, that  political ideology is a fundamental cause for which we erase some friendships. This can get us tired and irritated, causing us to decide to eliminate the contact of our friends.

Causes of being removed from Facebook

The study was published in February 2014, and was carried out by sociologist Christopher Sibona for the University of Colorado in Denver. It was carried out in two phases: the first part of the study examined the context and profile of the eliminated individuals; and the second phase focused on the emotional responses of people who had been eliminated.  

The data was analyzed after conducting a survey in which 1,077 subjects participated via Twitter.

First phase of the study

Which friends are more likely to go through the ‘guillotine’?

The results of the first study indicated that the individuals who had been eliminated most frequently were (in order from highest to lowest):

  • High school friends
  • Other friends
  • Friends of friends
  • Work buddies
  • Friends of common interests

Regarding friends who work in the same company, “we found that people eliminate coworkers for real-world actions rather than for comments on social networks,” explained Sibona. According to him, one of the reasons why high school friends are the most eliminated on social networks is because their political and religious beliefs may not have been so strong in previous ages. At this stage of life, beliefs become stronger, with a greater likelihood of offending friends.

What are the actions on Facebook that can irritate your friends?

Regarding the content of comments or statuses, the study concluded that the reasons shown below were the most common for removing a friend from Facebook:

  • For regularly posting unimportant and inconsequential things.
  • For writing very radical opinions on political or religious issues.
  • For making racist, sexist or unpleasant comments.
  • For constantly posting about private life: what they are eating, how happy they are with their partner or what they are going to do at night.

Second phase of the study

How do we feel when someone deletes us?

Regarding the second phase of the study, that is, the emotional reactions of the individuals who are removed from Facebook, Sibona found a variety of emotions associated with this fact. The most common are the following:

  • I’m surprised
  • I do not care
  • It makes me laugh
  • I feel sad

It must be clarified that depending on the degree of friendship between the two actors (the one who eliminates and the one eliminated), the closer the friendship relationship is, the more sadness he feels for having been eliminated. Therefore, “being sad” can be used as a predictor of closeness in the relationship. Lastly, the study also found that removing someone from Facebook occurs more often among friends than acquaintances.

It may interest you:  “Depersonalization and (in) communication in social networks”

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