getting over the de-friending

Reader G. C. writes:

A friend of mine recently deleted me from her Facebook friends, apparently. Yes, I even did all the work of checking to see that her profile still exists; I just got pruned. The worst part is that I was head over heels in love with her. Obviously she doesn’t (and didn’t) feel the same way. So what can I do to get over this?

Dear G.C.:

What a horrible way to get over a crush.  Now at least you know how she feels. Or you can pretend you know how she feels.

I don’t mean to foster hope where there should be none, but here’s the thing: Sometimes we de-friend people on Facebook not because we don’t care about them, but because we care about them too much. I at least am much more likely to de-friend an ex-boyfriend I don’t want to see anymore than a friend who’s just annoying me.

Still, if you two didn’t have some sort of falling out or argument, and she cut you from the friends list, it’s probably safe to say that she didn’t feel the way about you that you did about her.

Whom shall I de-friend now?

"Whom shall I de-friend next?" Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I know I talk a lot about the act of de-friending and the etiquette of Facebook and other social networks. Mostly, when people discuss this etiquette, we talk about the person who is doing the de-friending and how they are to go about doing it, rather than the person who has been de-friended. You raise a very good point. What are we supposed to do when someone we really like does away with us on their social networking site?

You have several routes to take, and which you take probably depends on how courageous you’re feeling (or how much you’ve had to drink). The fact is, you’ve been hurt. You’re going to deal with this the same way you’d deal with any other type of hurt feelings. You can either confront the person who’s offended you or just let the cut ties be cut. That is up to you. But it’s going to take a few weeks at least for the pain to wane enough that you’ll be sane about it again. Pain has a half-life. Respect it.

There are a few things you may consider to mitigate the feelings a bit while you’re healing:

Communicate directly with the offender.

This is hard when your feelings have been smashed, but sometimes it’s best to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth. This is for anyone who would rip the bandaid off all once rather than little by little. Sometimes deeper pains heal faster than the shallow ones, probably because these deeper ones start off so bad that any change is always for the better. Anyway, chances are she didn’t know how you felt. Or she may have de-friended you because she did know and didn’t feel the same way. The only way you’ll ever know is by asking her. Apparently, she didn’t block you entirely, so she doesn’t hate you to the point of wishing you out of existence. If you can handle the rejection a second time, go for it and ask what’s up. I’d suggest a Facebook message. (Why not?) Just be gentle. “I noticed we aren’t friends on Facebook anymore, and I was just wondering why?” Keep it short. Keep it sweet and non-accusatory. Don’t mention the fact that you’re in love with her. And be ready to either never hear back or get news you’re probably not going to like.

Find some healing elsewhere on Facebook.

Even while you can view this cut-off as the final end to your relationship, you can find some comfort in other places on Facebook. I wouldn’t recommend looking at her page (ever again, actually), but maybe some of your mutual friends’ pages can give you some relief. Has she de-friended all your other friends? Maybe she’s just pruned the friends list down to 100 or less. (I have many a-friend who does this.) If that’s the case, perhaps you can view this cut as less personal than you might ordinarily find it.

There are all kinds of little Facebook things you can do to make yourself feel better.How about you take this opportunity to prune your own list? Take some control back. Why not cut out any other girl you’ve had a crush on that doesn’t feel the same way you do? Or anyone whose intentions toward you are less than noble? Or you can just go through your privacy settings and cut out things you don’t like. Hide the status updates from the annoying people or block the apps you can’t stand. Make a list of people who can’t post to your page or see your photos. Half the time, they won’t know the difference. But it’s your page, and you can do what you want with it. She took control of her page. Why don’t you do the same?

In fact, I would totally recommend blocking her. Then you won’t see things she types on friends’ pages, and you won’t have to deal with thinking about her unnecessarily. Furthermore, why not reconnect with some other friends? Find a new crush. Facebook is full of people you never knew you knew.

Take some time off Facebook.

I think this is my best advice for you. You’re probably going to be obsessing over her. You’ve already looked at her page to see if she’s still around, and what’s worse is that over the next few weeks, if she hasn’t de-friended all your mutual friends, you’re going to be seeing whatever activities she’s doing on Facebook with them. Give yourself some time to heal. Take a break from Facebook. You don’t have to delete your account — just put it on hold for a while. That way you’ll be at least somewhat less tempted to check up on her every ten minutes. Take at least two weeks off (honor the half-life of pain) and find something else to do with your time. I know, I know — what was life like before there was a Facebook? Try your best to remember, at least for a little while. See how long you can go just talking to people you love and who love you back, and people who exist in your life even if Facebook doesn’t.


This is the most important part. Give yourself space and time. Remember that how you feel right now is not how you’re going to feel in two weeks. Some day you may not even remember this slight against you, and you’ll be head over heels for someone else. Hopefully someone who’s head over heels back.


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