How to Delete Half Your Facebook "Friends"

The time is here for spring cleaning; to open up the closet doors and gaze upon the beauty before you - stuffed to the gills with tight-and-bright bubble dresses from college and over priced tops you bought when you were a little bit drunk after happy hour.

But a modern girl has more than a closet to clean, another place full of days gone by; the good, the bad and the ugly. The modern girl has a facebook.

If you're like me, you started college when facebook was still just for college students. I remember thinking that the idea was kind of bizarre, so ... people look at each other on here? and then taking to it with reckless abandon; friending everyone in my school, any boy I thought was cute. There was a certain amount of exclusivity and privacy. It was before anyone could upload pictures of themselves and others, in those tight-and-bright bubble dresses. I think of it as the technological Studio54 - a time of great fun, intermingling, and experimentation - before anyone knew what an acid flashback was.

But now you're a grown up (kind of) and you have 1,500 facebook friends despite the fact that you only sent out twenty Christmas cards. And you're wondering who are these people?

So ladies, take to your laptops and put on your gloves, there will be more to get rid of than dust bunnies in here.

How To Delete 1/2 Your Facebook Friends

Step 1 : Print out this handy chart
Step 2 : Open your facebook friend list
Step 3 : Go to person #1 "Amy Appleby" and begin questioning ...

(a) Do I know this person in real life?  If you are using your facebook to network (and thus friending people at a hamster's pace) this process is useless to you. But, if you are looking to keep your facebook personal, you should get rid of everyone who you've never met in person. 
If the answer is no : proceed to question c. 
If the answer is yes ...

(b) Would I have something to talk to them about if I saw them at the grocery store? In the small town I'm from, I can't go to Safeway with out running into someone in my sweats and topknot. The chances are, if I avoid them then, I won't ever have the need to talk to them via facebook.
If the answer is yes : proceed to question d.
If the answer is no ...

(c) Am I weirdly interested in this person? This allows for anyone you may not be very familiar with, but have a voyeuristic interest in. 
If the answer is no : delete!
If the answer is yes : proceed to question e.

(d) Do I believe this person wishes me well and should have access to information about the joys and failures in my life? Here is where things get a little more abstract. You were friends with Amy Appleby, at least at one point. But you have a sneaking suspicion that she's the one that anonymously tipped off your parents that you went to a foam party in Tijuana. Facebook has a wealth of information for those who want to gossip about you, so consider carefully who deserves access to that.
If the answer is yes : proceed to question e.
If the answer is no : proceed to question g.

(e) Do I use this person to be self destructive? Here lies all your ex-boyfriends and their new girlfriends. Yes, you know them in real life - and would probably have a thing or two to say to them in line at the check-out.  Maybe they're even happy for you and your new life of one-person frozen dinners. But this question has nothing to do with them - it has everything to do with you. It's time to be honest now, we all do it.On the lowest, grayest day, when you got fired from your job and hit by bus, you want to check up on Eric Ex or New Nina and make sure they are miserable too. Without fail, New Nina and Eric Ex got engaged that day, and the next time you update your facebook status is from the roof of your apartment building with a line from a Dashboard Confessional song.
If the answer is yes : delete!
If the answer is no : proceed to question g.

(f) Does this person post hateful or obnoxious political facebook status' that make me question humanity? I didn't have too many of these people because I tend to weed them out around election time. These will be different for everyone.
If the answer is no : They're your friend!
If the answer is yes ..

(g) Will deleting this person cause more harm than good? You're almost there, you are moments away from deleting the back stabbing Amy Appleby or your close-minded cubical mate . But wait ... will you have to see this person in the immediate future? If the fear of a future confrontation will cancel out the piece of mind you got from doing it, deleting them isn't worth it. As they say in the movie Magnolia "We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."
If the answer is yes : They're your friend (or, frenemy) !
If the answer is no : delete!


  1. ha!!! this is hilarious!!! great work, this is seriously spot on. i hate running into people in the grocery store, best example ever.

  2. LOVE this. love love lurveeee. ; )

  3. This is fantastic!! I love your writing; so clever and eloquent.

    Cheer to you, sweet girl!

  4. This is awesome!! I'm printing this out and using it as a guide to who I friend or don't friend. I have way too many "friends" on Facebook and need to cut down. Thanks for not being anti or for Facebook, but right in the middle. Thanks!!

  5. "The next time you update your facebook status is from the roof of your apartment building with a line from a Dashboard Confessional song."

    This made me laugh out loud! How well I remember those days of teen angst. And like you, I got on Facebook in college - right at the end of my freshman year - and it was an exclusive network to those at my school. So I friended everyone whose name I knew. Now I don't remember who half of them are.

    These guidelines will be immensely helpful!

  6. Melinda : It can be a pretty big project so I've started doing it day by day with the "daily birthday list". De-friending someone on their birthday seems kind of ruthless ... but at least they have 77 wall posts of "happy birthday!" to ease the pain.

  7. Love love love this! I have been slowly deleting for months!


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