The Case Against De-Friending
Lately, I’ve been toying with unfriending someone I had slept with numerous times. I wanted to wipe the slate clean, I told myself. I didn’t want to accidentally stumble upon the goings-on in his life (even though I hid him from my feed), especially learning of new girlfriends and relationships. In the past, I’ve unfriended without hesitation.
Now if I was having my usual obsessive difficulties–such as stalking him online–this would be a no-brainer. But I’m not. I haven’t looked at his profile in ages and I don’t really want to. But for some reason, his presence in the pantheon of my Facebook friends really bugs me and over the past week, I’ve thought about eliminating him more than once.
But I haven’t. Instead, I’m waiting, weighing, considering. Aside from the fact that people take de-friending VERY seriously these days, I wonder if it would be better for me to let him fade slowly and quietly into the background, to let him become something akin to white noise.
Absent the obsessive behavior, there is no compelling reason for me to de-friend him other than regret. Regretting the feelings I had had and the time I spent on him. But I doubt those feelings would evaporate if I simply clicked “unfriend.”
I’m the type of person who enjoys symbolic gestures, which is why de-friending appeals to me. It is active and final. But the trouble with getting over someone is that it can’t be achieved symbolically and in one fell swoop. Digital detachment is but a small part of the process. The rest is decidedly low-tech. You’ve just got to wait it out.