Unfriending cuts deep on Facebook

by | Oct 31, 2014 | Opinion

Maria-Joseé Martinez
 Arts and Entertainment Editormjmartinez-online

While Facebook has technically come a long way, it hasn’t changed much as a psychological phenomenon. The extent of emotional turmoil that can occur from constant photo stalking and post reading is painfully obvious in today’s society. This is why some people choose not to have Facebook at all.

I remember clearly when Facebook was a new thing. It began as a social network where you could reach out to old friends, classmates and family members. Then, it turned into a huge social media phenomenon. It now permeates our lives socially, professionally, financially, and the list goes on.

When I first got Facebook back in high school, I used it to connect with new and old classmates from elementary school, to get to know them a little better and where they came from.  It was always interesting to look through their profiles and pictures because this gave me a glimpse into their social life. Back then, Facebook wasn’t seen as depressing or emotionally damaging since it was only the beginning.

In high school I was on Facebook, constantly. Like everyone my age, I logged in every day and had it open on my laptop at all times. But as time went on, the more photos I saw of people my age partying, the more I began to develop feelings of anger. Everyone always seemed to be having a good time, while I was stuck home on the weekends with nothing to do except dwell on photos on Facebook. As I got older I started using it less often, only for updates and birthday posts. .

Since my time in high school, Facebook and its effects on mental health have been studied extensively. These studies show that the more people look at other people’s photos, the more likely they are to become depressed, lonely, and have lower self-esteem. For example, a 2013 study from the University of Michigan said that the more people use Facebook, the less happy they were, leading to a decline in general satisfaction. A different study also mentions that depressed and lonely people use the Internet and Facebook more often than those who aren’t, making it become an endless cycle. People are depressed because of Facebook, and they use Facebook because they are depressed.

I think it’s normal for young people to be curious what their acquaintances are doing, but it can be depressing at the same time because it causes jealousy.

I also think unfriending is a huge problem in the Facebook world. It happens for one of two reasons: either someone wants to only keep people they are close to, or they just don’t like the person they unfriend (for whatever reason).. A study from the University of Denver showed that the top five kinds of people who are likely to be unfriended are either high school acquaintances, co-workers or mutual friends, common interest friends and others.  The study explains that co-workers are often unfriended based on their actions in the real world rather than what they post on Facebook. High school classmates are always the main target for unfriending, usually because they don’t share anything common with them anymore, as beliefs change in later years.

I have experienced feeling sad and lonely from being unfriended. Not only does it affect the mind, but also causes some uncomfortable situations in person. Multiple times I have run into people that have unfriended me and felt like they didn’t care to acknowledge my presence at all.

Facebook is a great for networking and communicating with old friends, but I think we would all benefit from using it less often. I think if we limited our Facebook use our social lives would improve, and the world would be a bit more drama-free.