We all know how it feels to one day see you have 500 friends on Facebook only to have 497 the next day. That cold sting of rejection – nay! – of being re-evaluated by somebody and deemed unworthy of their mini feed is immune to all Neosporin. The worst part of it all, because we have more friends on Facebook than we interact with in real life, is that we can never figure out who the hell it was who unfriended us. And that’s something we need to know.
Now, obviously losing a friend on Facebook isn’t nearly the same as losing one in real life. But there is an emotional connection to our Facebook friends, however detached from anything real and it does hurt to lose one (apparently).
A professor at Chapman University, along with a couple of students, conducted a now published study called “Negative emotional and cognitive responses to being unfriended on Facebook: An exploration study,” its abstract beginning:
“We consider Facebook unfriending as a form of relationship termination with negative emotional and cognitive consequences. Specifically, ruminative and negative emotional responses are examined via an online survey of adult Facebook users who were unfriended. These responses were positively related to each other and to Facebook intensity.”
It adds, “Participants also responded with greater rumination and negative emotion when they knew who unfriended them, when they thought they were unfriended for Facebook-related reasons, and when participants initiated the Facebook friend request.”
The interesting part is thinking you’re being unfriended for Facebook reasons. Unless you’re a troll and get the axe for obvious reasons, this might be for constantly posting stupid statuses, being a Facebook activist (who doesn’t hate those people?), taking pictures of your dinner no one cares about, or constantly switching between being in a relationship, to single or, “it’s complicated.” Either way, if you constantly do some of these things or other annoying habits, that might be why nobody likes you, everybody hates you, so why don’t you go eat some worms. Knowing hurts.
From Mashable on the study’s founding:
The group of students wanted to gear the study toward something they interacted with every day. Facebook fit the bill; being something almost everyone could relate to.
And now we can all relate as losers with no friends. Emo Vader, two times!