Why I unfriended 1115 people from my Facebook to find the 79 ‘Real Friends’


Yah,  I had 1194 friends in my Facebook page and I was proud of that. To hit 1000 in the list was an  enviable feat one time. But too many crappy Tags, games invitations and ‘God knows Who’s’ vacation photos was my wake up call. The obvious questions popped up – Who are these people?

Mistake is mine. I was too liberal with the concept of friends.  Two months back I had a primary cleansing. I took a tour of my dear beloved friends list and deleted almost 500 people. Those were people I had absolutely no clue about.

One rainy night while walking home from office a thought hit me. What would it be like to find my ‘real’ friends in FB ?

I knew it wont be an easy task. I didn’t have any benchmark to decide the level of friendship. So needed a reference point, a target. Like an Engineer I am, I set a target –  Bring the list down to 100.

Find the 100 real friends from the list. With the target set, I dived into the big list to chip off the superfluous. It was rather easy since Zukerberg programmed the list intelligently. The one’s with whom I had frequent communication were on the top and the people I never talked  were in the bottom.

Setting a target decisive factor of success, be it any task. In my case it gave me a reference. Which was, “If I was allowed to have only 100 friends will he/she be in it?” answer will be Yes/ No. In the list there were people to whom I haven’t spoken for years. And I found many people whose face I recognized and had absolutely no clue about the name. There were many duplicate profiles too. The task was rather easy.

The list came down to 124. From 0 to 1194 in 5 years and a plummet back to 124 in just 45 minutes !

But the hard time was waiting. I had hit the hard ground. I browsed through the list again. And again, and again. . I knew all of them very well. It was all happy journey till this junction. Until now I had only two options – ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.  Now new options seemed to arise from nowhere –  ‘What if they found out I unfriended them?’, ‘What if they send me new friend request ?’, ‘ I accepted his request just two weeks back ,will it be rude to unfriend him?’.

Decision making was absolutely hard. A thought of deleting the account itself came up.It is quite normal for our mind to take respite in ‘escapism’ during difficult times. However I decided to hang around and do the job. No giving up. I let go all the dilemmas and stuck to the basics – “If I was allowed to have only 100 friends will he/she be in it? – YES?NO ”  ?

Since the list was smaller, I decided to go through the list at once without stopping in the middle to refresh the page to check whether the target is achieved.I must say the process was not simple. Last cut were obviously the deepest. But I finished my last cut very hardly. I reviewed the remaining in the list for the last time. It would be really hard for me to chop off more if the magical number is not achieved. With lot of anxiety I pressed the refresh button. The page took more time to load. And I was totally surprised to see the results – it was down to 79! Here I am way below (or above technically) my target. A couple of my dearest friends’ accounts were surprisingly missing from the list. Which I found out later, they deleted long time back and I never knew.

Facebook has passed the prime of its life. Whatsapp and kik have taken up the society build up now. After one year there will be something entirely different. But no matter what, I just found  my permanent members in any media.

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6 thoughts on “Why I unfriended 1115 people from my Facebook to find the 79 ‘Real Friends’

  1. I was once so disillusioned with Facebook I deleted my account. And then I got a column in one of our newspapers and the editor basically told me to get with the program since fans wanted to find me in ways not as old school as email (her words, not mine). I opened another account, now have 400 friends, don’t know most of them personally. They just friended me to let me know that they like my column that week, and now instead of worrying over how many people are in my friends list, I’m worrying over whether I’ve had at least a teen tiny positive impact on them. So yay! I totally get where you’re coming from in this post and you’re right: once the shine fades at least you’ll be sure which of your real pals will stick around.
    Great post!

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