Online or in Person?

In the recent NY Times article “It’s Not Me, It’s You” the author, Alex Miller explores the thought of how Facebook and their new “defriending” button has affected the way people view and even end friendships.

Throughout this article the author talks about various situations on how people have ended friendships, but is a friendship ever truly over without hurting the other person in the process. Facebook has made it so we can just click a button and no longer have to deal with that particular person, but is this truly a friendship if it can be ended with a simple click of a mouse. Yes, throughout our lives we accumulate different friends depending on where we are in our lives at that moment, but what happens to the friends we made back in college as we approach our 40’s. , but what happens to the friends we made back in college as we approach our 40’s. You may still be in contact with them but are you wishing to end the friendship because you no longer feel you are on the same path? I agree that friendships may die out or come to and end but it is how we end these friendships that really matters.

            Just because there is a convenient button to use do not take that approach, use the face-to-face method. Give the other person the respect you would want if you are in there same position. Just because there is an easy route to a particular outcome you need to judge whether it is appropriate for the situation or not. Miller talks about how people have ended the relationship by just ignoring the other person and trying to drop them ou of thier lives without even a explination. Why is it that we as a society now would rather take the easiest way out of a situation rather than challenge ourselves to come up with a good excuss for something.  We have become compacient with the easy facebook and other social media sites offer us that we are beginning t0 lose ourselves to the internet and are becomeing more distant to reality.


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5 responses to “Online or in Person?

  1. Jared Ebert

    I agree with you point that in cases of real friendship a person needs to be addressed face-to-face instead of society trying to take the easy way out by accomplishing this through a click of a mouse. This is an interesting topic but I think the issue at hand seems to be the language subculture of Facebook not the dynamics of friendship. I agree with your point that Facebook should not be a way to manage real relationships but what I find fascinating is how Facebook has changed the language of relationships. The term “friends” used to be a term reserved for people we converse with on a routine basis, not it seems Facebook has stretched this term to include everything from neutral peers to strangers you meet at a party. The word relationship has also partially changed meaning due to Facebook and social media in general, relationships were once much more private but now it seems relationships especially between significant others need to become “Facebook official” as if this justification is necessary.

    • Judy Le

      This only works with the assumption that all Facebook friends are “meaningful connections.”

      Is it really that problematic to “defriend” someone who you would only consider an acquaintance? How does the author distinguish authentic relationships from superficial ones? Also, is it really about defriending people or is it more of a situation where this act is somehow affecting us outside of the social network?

      Take Jared’s point about how Facebook has changed the language around relationships and run with it….

      • To response to Ms. Le’s comment, it seems as if Jared is speaking about people who are more than acquaintances (aka. real life friends). Deleting people you barely know is not too bad an idea, for by doing so you further control who has access to specific information.

        Facebook has made it popular to use the term “friend” loosely. Though it might be acceptable to be linked to certain people on Facebook, associating with said persons in real life could be detrimental to a person’s reputation. Being Facebook friends and “real” friends are often two completely different sorts of relationships. On Facebook, you see only what they want you to see (or are not wise enough to hide.) In real life, you see the context of their actions/words/etc. #notviahashtag

        A significant portion of most people’s Facebook friend list is made up of those superficial acquaintances. This being said, it is often hard for some people to classify the relationships they have in real life with their Facebook friend. Why? The overshare of personal information can give people a false sense of intimacy with their “friends.” Basically, the relationship can lack the necessary reciprocity of real communication. In real life, for example, we could talk about your life rather than leave me to hang on your every wall post.

        As for attempting to socially remove a real life friend from your life, dumping a friend via Facebook is a very passive-agressive method of doing that. If you want to officially excommunicate someone: grow some nerves, locate the individual, and tell him/her in person that you are ending that relationship, and give a appropriate (and possibly brief) explanation why. THEN, log on to your social media, politely remove any sort of relationship tag you had with them (to be really kind, not published in the newsfeed), and unfriend them. Real life relationships should always come before Facebook relationships, for Facebook is basically a tool created so that you can interact with the people in your life.

        As for the “relationship status”: this can be very murky waters for many individuals. The pressure to go “Facebook official” is rather uncomfortable for some people. Two people might be “casually dating”, but don’t particularly care to share that with their 500+ combined friends. If the relationship is more serious, is it really best to tell your close friends and family that information via the newsfeed? It seems appropriate after the relationship is stable (and perhaps exclusive) that the individuals might announce said relationship via FB. People notice those ever-changing relationship statuses.
        On a related note, if a person’s “relationship status” changes more than 5 times in one week, the person should probably get off Facebook and build real relationships.

  2. anance10

    I agree with your opinion on how a person just can’t end a friendship by pressing their defriending button on Facebook. You will be amaze on how much of an impact the social media has on us. Using Facebook to end a friendship can be seen as an act of cowardice. Instead of confronting your problems, you are hiding behind a computer screen where it can be confusing to get your feelings across. It can also create more problems than coming face to face. For instance, the person that is defriended will probably wonder if they did something wrong and hurt you, or if you probably hate them. It is best to let a person know up front how you feel and why you are ending your friendship.

  3. Kellie Rogers

    I see your point on the article if you are refering to friends that you see on a normal basis. But if you are refering to just ramdom people you are friends with on facebook then i dont think its bad. I feel like its not a big deal to defriend someone. Just because i defriend you doesnt mean that im going to never speak to you again. I defriend anoying people or people who dont get on any more, and most the time if your annoying and i delete you then you probably know why. Ill just say if i dont like someone then they will find out very soon im not good at hiding my feelings. But to me if i get defriended by someone is not a big deal they obviously dont want to be my friend and i will find others.

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