To defriend or refriend: that is the question

 

CYBER SORTER:This week, our social-media agony aunt advises readers on the perils of online friendships

Dear Cyber Sorter,

In a fit of pique I defriended the guy I had been dating because he did something to annoy me. Later, I realised that I had gotten the wrong end of the stick and overreacted. He is, in reality, totally sweet and fab and I fear I am an emotional nutter. Do I tell him my Facebook has gone wonky and I need to re-friend him or do I just let it slide and hope he won’t notice?

Wonky

Dear Wonky,

Saving face on Facebook is difficult to achieve.There’s a reason most humans (leaving out footballers, D-list celebrities and criminals) have evolved a reticence to act on first impulse. It tends to embarrass us.

This is doubly true for social media where, due to it’s “private in public” nature, the exercising of strong emotions should not be taken lightly.

If he is in any way sensible, he will notice you are not present in his news feed, and if you tell him “My Facebook went wonky”, he won’t believe you. That’s not to say it’s not the answer.

Sometimes these little white lies help us say what needs to be said without saying it and move on, face and Facebook intact.

Dear Cyber Sorter,

I was Facebook friends with several people who posted the following status update message, wishing for Obama’s death: “Dear Lord, This year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayzie. You took my favorite actress, Farah Fawcett. You took my favorite singer, Michael Jackson. I just wanted to let you know, my favorite president is Barack Obama. Amen.”

In response I joined “Petition to remove Facebook Group praying for Obama’s death”.

After that, my right-wing friends un-friended me. I want them to know that I too want to un-friend them – but they got to it first. Should I just let it go or is there another way to let them know that they are in the wrong? JR Dublin

Dear JR

We will leave aside the fact that you were friends (allbeit online) with people whose favourite actor and singer were Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Perhaps they had other qualities.

The fact is you have moved on from being online frenemies to outright enemies. So you have little to lose.

Send them fresh requests for friendship. Add a grovelling note about how you have since found God, and how He has had a stern word with you about the necessity for Barack Obama to die.

If they accept your friendship request then revenge is yours. Spam their walls with clips from Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous and post up Atheist Society billboards.

If you really want to aggravate them, then ridicule the Fox News channel.

Then, before they get the chance, cut them off at the knees and defriend them. This can all be done in the satisfying space of 10 minutes.

Only you can be the judge of whether it is worth spending that much time on.

Send your social-media queries and dilemmas tocybersorter@irishtimes.com