If you use facebook, Myspace or any of those other “social networking” websites, you probably already know the dilemma of accepting a friend request from that special kind of person. You know the slightly creepy guy who used to sit behind you in Maths, the one with the eternally clammy hands? Or the incredibly chatty girl who worked with you for a few months many years ago? Or maybe your flatmate from your uni years, the one whose room always smelled kind of funny?
Or even worse, your mum.
So let’s imagine for a second that you feel guilty/naive/careless enough to accept that friend request. It happens to the best of us. And then you realise that, for whatever reason, you don’t actually really want that person to see all the stuff you’re sharing with your proper friends. Because, hey, sharing stuff is what facebook is all about eh! Just not with everyone…
In some cases it’s just the amount of information that they are pouring in to your world; sending you PandaHugs and throwing sheep at you 24 hours a day, or posting endless pictures of their 16 kids can get a little annoying. That is simple enough to resolve, facebook will let you filter whose info you see easily enough.
However, if you don’t want them to see your stuff, you will be confronted with the most dreaded action known to man after giving your granny a sponge bath. Unfriending someone on facebook.
I’m not talking about someone you hate, someone you have had a massive argument with, or anything like that. This is just someone you don’t like that much. Someone who wasn’t part of your life for a good long while, and who not only did you get on fine without, but you didn’t even notice they weren’t there! How hard can it be? Just click that button, remove them from your friends.
But you can’t. Because you don’t actually dislike them, and you don’t want them to notice (even though they don’t receive any notification of unfriending) and feel bad. Worse still, you don’t want them to think less of you. Because let’s face it, it doesn’t matter who you like or not, what matters is that they like you. Because for some stupid reason, other people’s opinion does matter. Call it vanity or lack of confidence, it sucks either way.
So you’re stuck.
Throw a panda at them, it helps.
Disclaimer: If any of my facebook friends pass this way, I would like to make it quite clear that this whole post is nothing to do with my own use of facebook, but is based on several conversations I have had with other people who have facebook creep/stalker problems, and I love you all, even the ones who throw sheep at me.