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My name is Matt Cambridge. I started this blog in 2016 when I moved back to the US after living abroad for two years and discovered a passion for writing. Here you’ll find monthly posts about my life: Work. Marriage. Parenting. Triumph. Failure. If reading my work helps you to laugh, cry, and think, I’ll be happy. You can read more of my work monthly at the post calvin.

12 Essential Rules for Mass Facebook Unfriending

12 Essential Rules for Mass Facebook Unfriending

Photo by  Tim Bennett  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash


I didn’t want to unfriend.

My pushback on the idea was never one of complex thought or principle: I was simply unwilling to spend so much time on such a repetitive, meaningless endeavor. Then I spent 30 minutes stuck on the second boss level of Angry Birds 2 and decided I’m not that busy. After whittling down my friends list, I emerged a happier, more full, self-actualized individual. I would recommend you do the same, if your life experiences and Facebook friending-happy approach has placed you in a similar predicament I was in.

If you follow these 12 rules, you will experience a similar state of nirvana I found myself in last week when I set upon this Herculean quest. These are not suggestions; they are carefully thought-out, peer reviewed, time-tested strategies that have been confirmed by not one but two of my friends from grad school.

Without further ado, 12 essential rules for mass unfriending on Facebook:

If they use a middle name and no last name, and you wouldn’t be able to guess what it is, even after looking through 3 profile pictures, unfriend.

Scenario: you see a post from one Erica Marie on your news feed. After considering it for a moment, you realize you aren’t sure what her last name is. The person you’re with reads your mind and decides to cover your eyes and force you to guess her last name. You plead with this person to allow you to look at Erica Marie’s profile. You strike a deal in which your friend allows you to look at three (3) of Erica Marie’s most recent profile pictures. If, after looking through these three pictures, and are still unable to identify Erica’s last name, the proper response is to unfriend Erica Marie. She probably won’t lose sleep over it.

If you would unflinchingly avoid this person if you saw them in a supermarket or movie theater or coffee shop, unfriend.

Fill in the blank. I don’t need to know what you do during your spare time, but if you were doing that thing in public and ran into the person in question, and without a doubt would avoid that person or pretend you didn’t see them, you know what to do.

If you have to think about where you know them from, unfriend.

Use the 5-second rule here. If you are in a healthy frame of mind and it takes you 2-3 seconds to go, “Oh, that guy was on my floor in college!” It’s probably fine to stay friends. But if, after a good thought, you still don’t know how you know this person, let ‘em loose. I’m embarrassed to say how many of these I had (It was 87 (I’m just kidding – I didn’t count (But it was a lot (Probably more than 87)))).

If it’s your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/life partner/spouse and they are also a serial killer, unfriend.

This one is very specific, and it didn’t apply to me, but I hope it can bless at least some of you.

Take breaks.

Just as this unique suggestion is a needed break from the monotonous “If”-infused rules, you may need to allow yourself a break in the middle of this Everest-like endeavor. You know in those P90X Ab Ripper videos where the host is like “if you’re a beginner, take breaks!!!!” and then he himself walks around for half the video while everyone else rips up their abs?! It’s exactly like that. Be like the host of P90X ab ripper.

I went from over 1,500 friends to just over 600, and it took the better part of an hour. I must pass this wisdom on to you, dear reader: have some water ready. Go for a brisk walk and consider how much clarity and freedom you’re bringing yourself. Fire up the wii for a bit (if you’re still living in 2008 like me). Get back to Angry Birds 2 (Surprisingly good!). As my “Which Hamilton Character Are You” Character Eliza Schuyler said, Take A Break.

If you really don’t like the person AND aren’t related to them AND don’t see them in your everyday life, unfriend.

Life is short.

If you knowingly wouldn’t wish them a happy birthday on Facebook, unfriend.

If your disposition towards an individual, regardless of how it got to this point, is such that you see that it’s their birthday, and you willingly would decide to do nothing, not just because of laziness, you have no business being that person’s “friend.” I don’t care what year it is; people still deserve Facebook birthday posts! It’s all a part of the big day.

If you went on a mission trip with this person in 2005 and it was such a fun and special time… unfriend.

One exception here: if you can still name all of the inside jokes you shared and nicknames you had for each other, definitely stay friends. That magic was meant to last.

If it’s Tom the Myspace guy, unfriend.

I don’t know Tom’s last name or if he even has a Facebook, but I was always uncomfortable with that random dude in a white t-shirt being friends with everybody on Myspace and he shouldn’t be your friend on Facebook either. Earn your Facebook friends by going on mission trips in middle school like the rest of us, Tom.

If they don’t have a profile picture, consider unfriending.

This is the only gray area in the rules, like the gray that will awkwardly accompany the profile picture space of the person in question. That’s because this one could be due to a wide range of reasons (the person doesn’t own a phone, the person is so humble that they don’t want a photo of themselves anywhere, the person is too technologically behind that they don’t know how to upload a photo, to name three), but generally, as the kids would say, not having a prof pic is SPISCHHHHHH, bro. (translation: suspicious.)

If it’s 2009 and they update their status more than 3 times a day, go back in time and UNFRIEND, damnit!

Remember when this was a super weird thing?! Before Facebook was a hot bed for political rants, long political rants, super long political rants, and baby pictures, if someone overshared on their statuses, it was super creepy. Sarah, I don’t care that you did laundry today AND got some homework done AND now you are relaxing on the couch and enjoying American Idol!!!

If it’s someone you don’t have any contact with anymore, but you are still friends with them exclusively because they post dope memes/hilarious statuses, absolutely, no matter what, DO NOT UNFRIEND.


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