National Unfriend Day
November 17, 2016 is National “Unfriend” Day in the United States. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel christened “Unfriend Day” in 2014, asking Facebook users to weed out true friends from superfluous acquaintances. Kimmel believes that true friends are the people who will help you move on a Saturday, bring hot soup over when you have the flu, and actually give you a ride when your car is in the shop. Fake friends are people who troll you on social media sites, trying to get you to buy items you don’t need or strike up business deals for themselves. Fake friends also include those who always seem to have magical lives, as proven by multiple posts of parties, friends and fabulous times. Studies have proven that these types of posts can actually depress readers. This can be dangerous to people of all ages, the vulnerable teens, the mobile millennials, and the middle age set, as the fantasy of a perfect life smacks them in the face every time they sign on to social media! A chance remark at the dog park this morning reminded me of this danger. A fellow dog lover commented that today’s kids don’t have real role models anymore. Role models have been replaced with reality shows and their steady stream of drama ridden people. Everyone wants to have Kim Kardashian’s hips or Kendra Wilkinson’s hair or even “The Bachelorette’s” choice of husbands. What can you do to start pruning your own friend list, be it social media sites or not? Following are a few suggestions:
- Are you on multiple social media sites every day? Do you try to maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, adding friends and connections every day? Has any of this actually enhanced your life or do you find that you are so busy with social media that you don’t have time for coffee with a friend or a movie with the kids? I’ve moved my attentions to only one site: Twitter. The banter is quick and informative and there is no pressure to keep up with acquaintances and friends every minute of the day.
- Are you getting to the point where people are endorsing you on LinkedIn and you’ve never actually met the person?! This has happened to me and it made me rethink the value to myself and anyone else of a phantom endorsement. I don’t post my endorsements unless I’m sure I earned them and I don’t add connections for the sake of adding to my numbers. I use the site strictly to praise local businesses who deserve the accolades and to connect with people of similar interests.
- Do you have friends on Facebook who you haven’t seen in years, or people who simply don’t have time to foster close ties? Maybe it is time to weed out “friends” to those you can call in an emergency or those you really are interested in. This can free up a tremendous amount of time and anxiety by not following everyone in a fifty-mile radius!
- Find a role model or mentor who you respect and keep that connection going by talking frequently or sending a note with some good news. We recently had a meeting at work with three people from Alabama. One of those people sent me a hand written note after the meeting. Now that is a person I want to keep in touch with!
So maybe National Unfriend Day isn’t such a bad thing. I’m going to try some of the ideas and focus on some real, personal time this holiday season. Hope you do too!