Why I Deleted Half of My Facebook Friends (+Why You Don't Need So Many)

Sometimes I like to think I'm a special case, that for some reason I'm alone in feeling how I do much of the time. Then I snap out of it and realize there's no way that's possible, because aren't we all a bunch of millennials trying to figure out or next step and who's going to be beside us when we take it?

If you've been here for a while you know my story, I was born and raised in California, attended college in my home state, and through pure hard work managed to relocate to Washington DC with nothing more than a month's worth of rent and two suitcases. Relocating wasn't easy, actually, it was pretty fucking hard. I spent most of those early months trying to keep myself busy, crying in my empty bedroom, and wondering if I had made a big mistake.

Thankfully over time things got easier, I made some friends, met a boy, and found a few jobs that helped at least take away the financial stress. I'd be lying if I said it was easy now, actually, I'd be lying if I didn't sometimes still find myself crying over my decision to move to DC. Do I regret it? Not for a moment. But I did learn one thing on this journey, Facebook is not an actual representation of life, mine or anyone elses.

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Think of who you actively reach out to

Moving across the country was a big adjustment for me, more so than any other move I had made prior because I knew this decision was permanent. The first few months of adjusting to my new routine were tough, which is why I spent a lot of time reaching out to friends to help pass the time.

As the months passed I began to notice a trend, I was only calling the same four people when I was having a moment. My call history showed the people I could rely on, those that actively worked to keep in touch with me, as well as the ones I only spoke to on holidays and anniversaries.

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Is what you post online authentic?

No matter who you are, chances are you choose to post only the best moments on your social media. Graduations, birthdays and concerts are all things we want to share with others, but what about the small everyday moments that affect us much longer than any celebration?

Chances are, after graduation some of those big moments will start to happen less and less often. I found myself with few things to celebrate, unless people wanted a monthly reminder that I had managed to make rent this month. Only posting the highlights of my life made me feel as if my online life looked fake, especially with all that was going on behind the scenes.

Sure i could have posted the real moments, the type where I was stressed about money or had no one to attend a gallery opening with, but 95% of my online friends wouldn't understand since all I ever shared was how happy I was. So I made the decision to post less, because back then, I was still hanging on to the idea that all of my Facebook friends were created equal.

Your news feed shouldn't make you feel worse

It's no secret that your twenties can start to feel like a competition the closer you get to 25, especially with all the wedding announcements and extra degrees everyone starts announcing. While I don't recommend you unfriend everyone who has something positive to announce, if you find yourself growing resentful of that person I do suggest you just hide their posts from your feed for a little while. There's no shame in needing to focus on yourself, and I know that can be hard to do when you're caught up looking at wedding registries and vacation photos.

My first year in DC was the toughest, especially when it came to watching my best friends continue to all get together without me. As much as I missed them and appreciated their support, the jealous side of me wished I could be with them in person. For a few months I hid their posts from my feed, just until I could get my life together enough to not feel sad about all the trips and nights in I was missing out on.

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Prioritize those you want to stay connected to

The reality of moving far from home means many of your friendships will slowly disappear, through no fault of anyone involved. Staying in touch can be hard, but factoring in time zones, work schedule and new friends makes keeping in touch incredibly difficult.

To avoid losing those you are especially close to, prioritizing those friendships is your best option to make sure you don't fall out of contact. Ways of doing this include making sure their posts show at the top of your news feed, creating a group chat and having a scheduled appointment where you both actually speak whether over the phone or through Facetime.

By doing a handful of these things I've managed to keep in contact with a handful of people back home, even though I haven't seen any of them in over two years. Staying close is possible, it just requires work on both parts and a little creativity.



So tell me, how many Facebook friends would you estimate you have? Do you actively interact with everyone, or pick and choose who to keep up with instead?

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2 comments

  1. So well-said! I can't even remember the last time I even talked to most of the people on my friends list now! I'm in need of a clean-out too!

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  2. I stopped using Facebook over 3 years ago and I don't miss it at all. I could probably write an entire post on the reasons why too. When it comes down to it - Facebook friends and real friends are not always the same people. Even when you leave social media, real friends are still a part of your life.

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