How to Unfriend a Friend

Undoing friendships is more complicated with social networking. Life Transitions Coach Diane Dennis had advice for breaking off the relationship.

In the  “OLD DAYS” we used to make “polite” excuses if we didn’t want to accept an invite to a party. Now, you don’t go to the party, and your friends post a picture of you on facebook at another event the same evening, not looking at all like you have the FLU you told your “friend” you had.

Or, You have a party and don’t invite your “friend” because she is annoying, but pictures of your party are posted by all the jolly attendees on your social networking site, oops. (IF you don’t want your picture plastered on the internet, don’t have your picture taken! JUST SAY NO)

Your friends may have long roots. Example: The friend you no longer want to play bridge with has relationships with your other friends, and you all attend the same church. Word gets around that you changed the bridge night, but didn’t tell “her.”

Social networking disengagement:
You can delete someone from your social networking site. They will not know unless they look at their list. You can hide their comments from your site, and while they are still friends, their messages won’t show up on your facebook page.

Rules of dis-engagement.

1. Tell the truth, lined with kindness
a. Use I statements
b. Don’t blame

2. Give an explanation, but without too much detail
a. My life is busy with so many commitments
b. Because of work/social/philanthropic commitments, I have to limit what I do

3. Reminisce and honor your past friendships
a. While we really connected when our kids were little, our lives have become so different, and it feels like we are on different paths

4. If the reason is because they have a behavior that isn’t tolerable: Tell gentle truth
a. Again-- use I statements. Example: I feel uncomfortable when you begin telling confidential things about me in a social setting. Is this something you would like to discuss?
5. If you need to remain friends for work/social/family reasons keep communication appropriate for your needs, and set healthy boundaries.
a. Invite her/him for coffee every 3 months.
b. If they abuse communication venues: email you everyday, call you everyday, etc. don’t reply, and don’t use that venue for communicating with them. Say: I really keep my email for business purposes, I’ll call you when I get a chance, etc.


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