When it comes to Facebook, it’s fair to say that the social media website has become a huge part of daily life.
Whether people are connecting with their loved ones on the other side of the world or catching up on the latest from their favourite news sites, it’s fundamentally changed the way we interact with each other.
With all that connection though comes the prospect of dealing with friends, loved ones and acquaintances that wouldn’t otherwise be a part of our everyday lives.
But when is it acceptable to cut someone out of your virtual life? Do you unfriend someone when they forget to wish you a happy birthday? Do you draw the line when they share something you find offensive? Is it ok to remain mates with someone in real life, but despise their annoying posts online?
Alexis Elder from the University of Minnesota Duluth said that it really depends on each individual matter.
Writing for The Conversation, he suggested that rather than focusing on the differences such as political opinion, people should base their decision on how they interact with the person in question.
Social media is designed to make people feel happier, so if you’re constantly feeling inclined to leave a negative comment or argue with someone because they’ve posted something you don’t agree with or that goes against your beliefs, it could be time to let them go.
Furthermore, he notes that people enjoy social media more when they are interacting rather than observing. If you’re the kind of person who scrolls past a post because you don’t like it, you’re coming away with a more negative experience.
However, he adds that while unfriending someone can keep the peace in the short term, it could be cowardly.
He notes that our online behaviours shape our character, so if our response is to simply shut someone out because they don’t have the same opinion as us, it could be more of a reflection on who we are as a person.
Instead, he recommends showing compassion and consideration to others’ views and being aware that our own posts could invoke similar feelings for our online friends.