The Unfollowing Game

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Social media, love it or hate it, has an effect on all our pretty little lives. We check our feeds day in and out to ingest, for better or worse, the who’s who of our so called friends partaking in their so called lives. From anniversaries to birthdays, to engagements, to weddings, showers, babies, deaths, work triumphs, passive aggression at other unnamed individuals, check ins, eating habits, workout habits, break ups, et al., we are notified of the happenings of all we’ve met once/tried to pursue/used to go to elementary school/dance/swim/figure skating/art camp with/are currently pursuing/friends made and friends lost.

And what happens when we don’t want to see said posts because, perhaps, they trigger negative feelings for us? Or perhaps because they’re no longer in our lives and we don’t want to include them in our growth, triumphs and pains. Or perhaps because you added them once, when your younger self was under the influence, and you don’t really find the need to have them linked to you. Why then, you unfollow or unfriend them, of course. It makes sense, right?

Unfollowing is so common that there are now apps that specifically and immediately alert people as soon as they’re unfollowed, letting them know who the culprit is that lost them an overall number. And for those that don’t have that app, but who are aware of their following and who they follow, they can – with effort -put the pieces together, Sherlock Holming their way to a name. A culprit. Another one bites the dust.

When one gets unfollowed, an interesting thing happens to their psyche. ‘Did I say something wrong?’ is a general first thought. But when that unfollower or unfriender was once a close friend, it’s natural to wonder, ‘Where did I go wrong? Where did we go wrong?’ and ‘How did it come to this?’ This domino effect of negative thoughts and queries has the ability to bring you down. Has the ability to make good ‘ol fabulous you doubt your self. Your character. Your relationships and how to patch them up, if you even should. How sad that is, that someone’s slip of the finger (intentional or otherwise) can rock your world. Because lets face it, we’ve all accidentally clicked like on a post, accidentally added/unfollowed someone, swiped right when we meant left, or otherwise. Right?

We take things so goddam personally. And sometimes we should. We’re human. It’s totally natural to feel disappointed and down when someone you thought you were tight with just doesn’t feel the same way (a safe assumption when one is unfollowed, though it is just an assumption.) Us petty being that we are often play the unfollowing game by doing it right back to them, a not so subtle way of saying ‘I see your unfollow and I raise you an unfollow back.’

For myself, as I continue to grow, my interests have changed. And so I like to edit my feeds in a way that I’m presented with information from good friends, brands and companies that are positive. That said, I’ve definitely unfollowed old, lost friends. Fast friends. Friends who I’ve met on a night out, added, DM’d and PM’d back and forth and nothing really came of it. People or companies I followed immediately, but then realized overtime their tone and messages don’t relate or represent my own, so I want to take a step back from it.

But in a day in age where it actually makes headlines on pop culture websites about who unfollowed who, it’s becomes sad when we notice that someone we once shared many moments and memories with can ‘drop us’ just like that. Isn’t that how it feels? Like we’ve been dropped? This is all new territory to tread in, but shapes and forms us and how we interact with others.

I’m I alone in noticing this? How has being unfollowed made you feel? Share in the comments below.

– Jen

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