5 Reasons to Unfriend Someone on Facebook

A few people have asked my opinion about unfriending people on Facebook and what my own personal guidelines are for this.

So I thought I’d answer in this post.

Thanks to God, I have many friends who know me personally. And I value their friendships very much. Interestingly, many of those friends never use Facebook.

Some of them do. And I have “online” friends that I’ve never met in person (yet). And then there are acquaintances, usually people who have read my work.

But here are 5 specific kinds of people that I have unfriended from Facebook over the years. All of these apply to unfollowing people on Twitter also.

1. Those who are not real people, but who use fake Facebook IDs.

It may seem strange to you that a person who claims to be a Christian would do this, but it’s happened in at least two cases that I know of.

The reasons why someone would create a fake Facebook account is often for malicious purposes. For instance, I know of some people who created them because they were banned from various Facebook groups and they wanted to get back into those groups. So they created fake Facebook accounts.

It’s not hard to tell who these people are. They usually have a pattern of disparaging others and/or raising money for the real people behind the accounts. They often traffic in slander.

To my mind, fake Facebook aliases should always be defriended. It’s not only a violation of Facebook’s rules, but the accounts typically exist for injurious purposes.

2. People who slander and/or gossip about others on Facebook.

Over the years, I’ve had a few Facebook “friends” (people I never met but who professed to be Christians) who trafficked in slandering some of my friends. Some of the accusations leveled against my friends were not only false, but ridiculous.

As soon as I became aware of this, I immediately unfriended them (and unfollowed them on Twitter).

If a person — even a professing Christian — defames a brother or sister in Christ, they are slandering us, for “we are members of one another.”

According to the Bible, the sin of slander is just as serious as murder, theft, and adultery. Scripture exhorts us to “have nothing to do with” such people, until they repent (see Titus 3:10 and Romans 16:17).

Feeding slanderers is to participate in their sin and listening to gossip is like drinking poison:

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” (Proverbs 18:8, 26:22) 

Jon Zens, one of the most respected Christians of our time, wrote the best article I’ve ever read on the subject of gossip and slander in 2007. You can check it out here.

Someone once wisely said, “Don’t invite people to your garden who trample on your flowers.”

Martin Luther said, “With the wolves you cannot be too severe. With the weak sheep you cannot be too gentle.”

A genuine disciple of Jesus is a person who treats others the same way they want to be treated in every situation. This is clear from Jesus, James, and John. It’s the very definition of love.

So the question for the true disciple of Jesus is always, “how would I feel if this person was treating my wife, my husband, my child, or me this way?” This is the very question that should be applied to every situation. (I discuss what this looks like specifically in The Deeper Journey: Part 2.)

“It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.” ~ H.L. Mencken 

In addition, those who silently support slanderers instead of avoiding them, as Scripture teaches, aren’t your real friends. On that score, Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” 

Before you conclude that everything you read about another person on the Web is true, go back and review what Jesus and Paul were accused of during their day.

I recently defended Rick Warren, Dallas Willard, Brennan Manning, and others when certain “professing Christians” were spewing poison against them.

3. Those who put up risqué or pornographic photographs. 

Again, I don’t “get” how a person who claims to follow Jesus can do this. We all get enough temptation in our world, we don’t need a Facebook friend posting seductive photos in front of us.

Just sayin.’

4. People who harass and bully others. 

I’ve had a few Facebook “friends” who persisted in trying to convince me of something. And I defriended them.

It’s one thing to share an idea; it’s another to try to shove that idea down a person’s throat. People who have a dark agenda usually do this sort of thing . . . trying to turn others against someone they don’t like.

We have not so learned Jesus Christ.

5. People who constantly send annoying personal messages.

For instance, I once had a Facebook friend who would send a private message to a whole list of their friends about the energy drink he was promoting.

Once or twice is okay, but this was constant.

If he kept his promotions on his Facebook Wall, I wouldn’t mind. There was nothing harmful about what he was promoting. And Facebook Walls exist to share things, including things you’ve created or believe in.

But sending people private messages about it constantly is a bit much.

So that’s it. I realize that others are more stringent on who they defriend, but those are my 5 reasons.

See also The Art of Being a Jerk Online

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Comments

  1. Joanna says

    Very good article. I unfriend even people I know fairly when I get their obnoxious messages. The election was a big unfriending time. Too many mean-spirited cartoons ridiculing the opposition. That’s just unintelligent. If you have an opposing point, make an argument, not a sneer. Out’cha go. I got some surprised emails “why?!” Well, that’s why.

  2. millie spock says

    Thank you Frank for sharing this with us. I loved this quote and it seemed to sum it all up for me : Someone once wisely said, “Don’t invite people to your garden who trample on your flowers.” (end Quote) Blessings to you dear brother !

  3. says

    Excellent guidelines. It’s unfortunate that folks use social media for false pretenses but evil never really needs an excuse, does it?
    All we can do is agree to counter with the truth given in love.

  4. says

    Thanks for a great post, Frank. I’ve rarely had any problems, but occassionaly I’ll block a post from an unsaved friend if their post is offensive, with out unfriending them, because I want them to continue to see the Christ centered posts I send.

    One thing I really dislike, though, are those who disagree with something I’ve posted, and continue a conversation with another person who also disagrees, and go on and on, on my post. Especially when they use inappropriate language. I sent a personal message to one (an old classmate), and asked him to kindly refrain from using such language on my page.

    Blessings,
    Danie

  5. Steve says

    These are all very good reasons to defriend someone on FB, and have done so for a couple of these. I don’t have time to play any of the FB Games, and I know that some do, and to occasionally get a game request I don’t mind. I just delete it. I did unfriend an acquaintance once (had never met in person) who would send a different game request 4 or 5 times a day!!

  6. says

    yep, those amount to the reasons why I have defriended folks on facebook as well.

    I have to share a funny story. In a gathering we had a few weeks ago at our house our cat came into the house with a lizard in her mouth (she loves reptiles for some reason). She would let it loose and then play with it and snatch it up again, finally killing it or letting it go and it finally died somewhere (we find dead lizards under things every now and again, lol). Well, it just so happened that at this gathering we happened to be in 1 Timothy and the thought that came to my mind and shared with the group by way of example was “if you blaspheme the brothers and sisters you will get handed over to Patches” (our cat). You had to be their, lol.

  7. says

    I have only had to un-friend a few people and for the most part it was for the reasons you listed. I have also had a few personal friends that I chose to hide their updates from my timeline. I still want to maintain the relationship; I just choose not to read their negative posts.

  8. says

    I had to defriend others before for just those reasons you wrote about, most of those are the list of false profiles that Jeff stated in his comment. What really stays upon heart is the result that occurs from encountering these deceptions. I am very careful online now. I have to go check out the person who wants to be my friend. Because of the actions of such deceptive online profiles out to harm me and my facebook friends, I find it takes me time to decide yes I’ll be your friend. Those fakes are people who blocked me so they can attack me and my friends without me knowing, then use the fake profiles to act like others are agreeing, when it is them having a conversation with themselves. So sad it is that we must not trust facebook friend requests now until we are as sure as we can be that the person is true.

  9. says

    Absolutely! I’m grateful that I haven’t had some of these… but will make sure I am aware of this kind of behavior. Thanks for sharing.

    ======

    On a different note, I again want to mention how much I like your new book – God’s Favorite Place on Earth’. I learned a few things in the scripture I didn’t know, (and I always love that), as well as it gave me a new perspective on how I look at Bethany … then and now. God’s hand was on you in the writing.

    Blessings

  10. CatherineS says

    Good list, Jeff. I’ve had dealings with every one of those profiles. Unfortunately, the people behind them seem to be busy little beavers, constantly coming up with new ones to hide behind.

    I’ve learned the hard way to be more careful about who I accept as a Facebook friend. Just because we have some FB friends in common doesn’t mean the person is a good friend to have or is even a real profile. Some more public figures aren’t able to spend time researching the many friend requests they get, so if the only friends we have in common are people with many hundreds or over a thousand friends, I check very carefully. And I don’t accept friend requests from people I don’t know at all or haven’t had any contact with in some way, no matter how harmless they may appear.

  11. Alicia W. says

    This may fall under your #4, but here’s another: People who are constantly trying to “teach you a lesson”, or correct what you say, or your theology (largely based on their own interpretation of scripture). :)

    • says

      Amen. I love a good discussion on my posts and invite differing opinions, but there are some that comment on every single post that they don’t agree with trying to “teach me a lesson”. That gets annoying fast. And it’s not the way to handle a perceived grievance or theological difference.

  12. Jeff says

    Great post Frank. I had to unfriend some people who were doing some of the things you are saying. It’s really sick. I’ve learned that these are all fake facebook people:

    Tricia Lopez
    Adam Bartmann
    Joe Ashton
    Elijah Moon
    Lindee Lind
    Ann Clarkson
    Adam Donahue
    Tom Moore
    Christina Swansea
    Florian Jager

    These are fake facebook aliases that have bad motives, so if any of you are friends with them, unfriend them immediately.

    Jeff

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