I don’t know exactly when it happened but sometime between me joining Facebook and the 2016 Presidential Election, my friends list became full of people that I’d never consider being friends with in real life. You have your fight video enthusiasts, the I’ll-post-anything-for-likes-and-comments crew, the professed Christians who have so much life advice and make updates dedicated to Jesus as if He could comment and thank them and of course the uninformed opinionated people who think all of their opinions are gospel.
Granted I did create a Facebook profile in 2006 when I was a high school senior and then if I’m not mistaken, I deleted that profile and created another a few months later when I was a college freshman. Needless to say I’ve been active on Facebook for a long time and I’ve just about seen it all.
As you evolve and change into a new person you will eventually have to shed habits, people and things that don’t align with where you are currently. I used to share every little thing on social media and talk a lot about what I was planning to do and now, I couldn’t imagine doing that. Almost instinctively, my desire to see others do that has waned. Not only that, I just “know better” when it comes to a lot of things. For example, I know that certain posts are more about the person who posted than who they are posting about. A lot of what people talk about excessively have to deal with their own insecurities or need to project a certain image. I just don’t have the time, interest or energy anymore.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I became very cautious of what I shared (to the point where I stopped posting completely and if I did share anything, I checked myself and my reason for sharing first) and I began to observe my newsfeed and comb through it more than ever before. During my observations I saw so many posts and people that I just couldn’t get jiggy with. On top of that, I didn’t even know HALF of the people who were appearing on my feed. It started to become a bit much and I decided to do a cleanse.
I went from over 4,500 friends on Facebook to just under 1,200 and my brain is thanking me already.
I think that we forget that we’re in control of what we see on Facebook. We’re our own newsfeed curators yet we never think to simply remove what we don’t like. If there are things you are tired of seeing on your feed, you don’t have to go to the extreme of deactivating your whole page, all you have to do is clean it up. So if you’ve been thinking about doing a “friends list cleanse,” here’s why you should and how to do it.
Facebook is a very personal platform. It’s where you share intimate aspects of your life such as photos of your family, your accomplishments and some people even put their places of employment on their profiles. Even though the platform has been ingrained into about every aspect of life as we know it, it’s not a platform where you should just accept whoever sends you a request. I have over 900 friend requests that are just sitting in purgatory because in my head I’m trying to figure out how I know them or how they know me.
I used to worry about people not being able to reach me in case of a business opportunity and that led me to accepting friend requests from people I didn’t know. And because declining a request and/or removing someone as a friend seems so harsh, I allowed strangers and people I barely knew to linger on my list and have access to parts of my life that I didn’t share on my blog or anywhere else. Guess what? In the years and months that I was connected to these people, they never reached out or interacted with me. So what’s the point of them being on the list? None, right? If people really need to reach you (especially for business), they’ll find a way.
Start with the names and faces that you don’t recognize.
This part is easy. If you don’t recognize their name and their face, they definitely shouldn’t have access to your page if you use it personally and not for business reasons. Sure, it’s nice to meet new people but a friend request and no messages or any other interactions isn’t really meeting someone is it? I always like to see the good in people but there are folks who will add you just to get information and if you don’t know them at all by name or face, that’s usually the case.
Remove anyone that you don’t regularly interact with.
If you can’t recall an exchange between someone whether in the form of likes, comments or shares…there’s not much of a reason to stay connected to them unless you all are family members or it’s someone you know very well that just isn’t very active.
Get rid of the people you’ve never met in person and/or had an actual conversation with.
I had this one bad. I didn’t like declining requests or removing people so I would just let them stay although I’ve never met them or talked to them before. I know many of them had added me from attending one of my events or meeting me at an event (I’m pretty good with names and faces in this case) so it seemed rude not to accept their request. What I came to realize is that many of the other professionals in my field have very small friend lists and interacted mostly on their business pages, so I decided to follow suit. There’s nothing wrong with directing people to your business or brand page when you don’t know them personally and keep in mind that you don’t have to be Facebook friends with people that you follow or interact with on other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. Because again, Facebook is very personal.
Delete anyone who consistently posts negative updates or updates that may not be negative, but just don’t agree with your spirit.
This one is the best “how” of them all and it will have the best return for your energy! There is absolutely no reason in this world that you should subject yourself to reading negativity, trash, stupidity or foolishness whenever you log into your profile. Believe it or not, when you are constantly exposed to negativity or things that rub you the wrong way, it affects your mood. You can become caught up in that stuff and start projecting the same type of negativity out as well. Under no circumstance should you feel obligated to remain online friends with someone who your spirit doesn’t agree with.
I hope this post helps you clean up your list a little and have a better online experience with Facebook, especially during election season. If you’ve ever done a friends list cleanse before, please share your experience in the comment section below!