Finding Freedom in Unfollowing


Whether you’re parenting pre-teens who are navigating the Pandora’s box of opinions and ideas on social media, or you’re frustrated with your girlfriend over-posting about her new side gig, you might be surprised by the freedom you’ll feel when you choose to (breathe) unfollow

Sure you may have 1,000 “friends” on Facebook. The problem is not everyone acts like “friends” when expressing themselves on social media.  We say things that are hurtful. We “subtweet” (I had to ask my teenage daughters for that word.) about issues that annoy us hoping the person or people who have irritated us will read it and connect the dots. 

Recently, I watched two of my friends have it out on Facebook. Honestly, I wasn’t shocked that the one friend finally couldn’t take it anymore, but I was surprised that she went public with her rebuke and didn’t address the other woman directly or privately. It was awkward to be a casual bystander. So, tired of the anxiety of their conflict, I unfollowed them. (Gasp!)

They are still my friends in “real life.” If I saw them around town, I’d hug them both. I just don’t want to listen in on their conversation anymore.  

So, here’s my golden rule for friends on social media.

If I would love a person more easily if I didn’t know everything they posted, I unfollow them. And the same works for me. If I irritate you because I have a side gig, or you don’t care for my opinion, please unfollow me. 

Seriously, we don’t need to know everything everyone thinks about everything. Having friends with diverse opinions is healthy, but if I can’t handle knowing everything you’re thinking, or I can’t enter into a dialogue respectfully and know when to comment and when not to, it’s my responsibility to remove myself from the conversation. 

Honestly, I love social media’s ability to help me share thoughts, ideas, articles, fashion tips, even just a friendly reminder of the wonderfully mundane activities of the day. As a pastor’s wife, it’s kind of a nice way for me to remove myself from the proverbial pedestal and remind people that I put my panties on the same way you do. My kids do funny things. I struggle to park a car. I have hobbies and a side business. And occasionally I have a strong opinion about something. 

I can still be friends with you without following you.

I may even like you more if I’m not your “friend” on Facebook. And the kindest thing you might do for me is to “unfollow” me. I promise, I’ll do the same.