The act of removing someone from your list of friends on Facebook. The motivation for a defriending and the result are rarely in proportion with one another.

Just The Facts

  1. Defriending is the social equivalent of an undo option.
  2. On most social networks, such as Facebook, you won't realize you've been defriended until your so-called friend disappears from your news feed
  3. Most people have defriended at least one person.
  4. It is possible to refriend someone you've dumped in this fashion, but this implies a degree of mental instability.
  5. If you find yourself frequently defriended, it probably means you're doing social media wrong.

So what is Defriending?

Defriending is the deliberate removal of friends from your social network profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, or, if it were 2007, Myspace. While considered passive-aggressive or cowardly by some, defriending is the perfect option for a reasonable person who has no room for childish drama, constant streams of nothing-filled updates, or blatant hate speech in their lives. In other words, we're all for it.

Why am I defriending you? Well... you're just... not like me, Not Like Me.

Why does it happen?

In this age of social networking, we often 'friend' people we presume to be like-minded, only to find out that they are 100% batshit insane after the fact. Especially if you've added someone you haven't spoken to on a regular basis in a decade, or a co-worker you'd only consider a passing acquaintance in real life. Here are a few perfectly justifiable reasons for undoing these social network friendships:

  • You don't actually know them. You thought you did, maybe through a tenuous link and you just couldn't place them, but no, actually, you really don't know this person. And since this person is going to swamp your news feed with irrelevant nonsense, removing them is akin to turning off a dripping tap - the cessation of endless, irritating noise. Defriend away.
  • They love applications. These people are literally on Facebook for the Farmville fun and not much else. And even though we hear there are ways to block that crap, why bother? If the only thing this person can bring to the table is pleas for help with their fake agrarian experiment, maybe it's just time to cut them loose.
  • They are bananas. Politics and religion are awesome in their places, which would be churches, private homes and assembly halls specifically built for discussing the issues of the day. But people who incorporate both 'Nobama' and their personal salvation experience into every single status update are pushing their luck with nonreligious, apolitical friends.
  • You are related. Many a Facebook virgin has connected with their family, only to realize that their drunken party photos and friends' four-letter-word-filled rants posted on the public wall are going to get commented on by their Granny. Even worse is when you realize it's your Granny showing up in drunken party photos and posting four-letter-word-rants all over the damn place. DEFRIEND.

Is it safe?

While defriending is entirely anonymous and your victims will not be informed that you no longer deem them suitable to view your drunken photographs and banal status updates, the defriended will notice that their friend counter has gone down and may be able to locate you by the process of elimination. The chances of detection from a socialite slut with over three thousand friends are slim. If you're the only friend of Bill "Norman" Bates and his seventy four notes on why President Obama is the Antichrist, he's probably going to notice and be a tad upset.

If you haven't already done so, make sure your privacy settings are watertight. If anyone can see your profile anyway, defriending is little more than a slap in the face.

How do I do it?

Social networks vary, but the procedure is pretty much the same everywhere. With Facebook, for instance, simply go to the profile of the person you wish to defriend, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the link marked "Remove From Friends". After an "Are You Sure?" box pops up, and you agree to break your link with this person, the deed is done. Quick and simple. If you change your mind, you can always request to be friends again, but don't be surprised if they refuse on grounds that you are an emotionally unstable, antisocial bastard.