Study: Top Reasons People 'Unfriend' on Facebook

By Michelle Yarn,

We've all experienced this at some point. You visit the profile of someone you know is your Facebook friend, only to find out you can no longer view any of their photos or read any of their updates. What gives? You, my dear, have just been unfriended.

In the cyber world friendships are fickle, indeed. Just as easily as you make them, you can break them with one little click. So, if you want to keep your Facebook buddies from shutting you out, read on. Christopher Sibona, a student at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, has just wrapped up what may be the first comprehensive study of its kind.

Related: How Do You Breakup With a Friend?

He's uncovered the top three reasons for Facebook unfriending:

  1. Posting too much, too often: After surveying more than 1,500 Facebook users, Sibona found the number one reason for unfriending is frequent, unimportant posts. If you don't have something funny or interesting to say, then don't say anything at all. Ask yourself if you even care about what you're about to post!
  2. Posting about polarizing topics: "They say not to talk about religion or politics at office parties and the same thing is true online," says Sibona. This came in as the second most popular reason people unfriended others on Facebook. The occasional opinion on something happening in the news or a "mad prop" to Jesus every now and then probably won't irk too many people. But there's really no need to start a debate or give a sermon. Facebook is just not that serious!
  3. Rude posts: Sibona found that the third most popular reason for unfriending was because the person constantly made inappropriate posts, such as crude or racist comments. If you want to keep your Facebook friends, keep it classy. Although, if you're the type of person who makes crude and racist comments, you probably don't deserve to have any friends anyway.

Related: Are Virtual Friends Better Than 'Real Life' Friends? Look How Many of Us Are Bonding Online

If you know you've never done any of these things and you're still trying to figure out why people keep unfriending you, maybe it's something you did in person. Even though the study showed most people unfriended for online offenses (57 percent), almost 27 percent unfriended because of something the person did offline.

One more cool finding was the hierarchy of power in these online friendships. Sibona basically reports a pattern between who does the friending and unfriending and who has the upper hand in the relationship. Typically, the one making the friend requests stood a much higher chance of being unfriended abruptly. On that note, Sibona says the ones doing the unfriending tend to wear the pants in the relationship.

Tell us your story: Do you unfriend people on Facebook? If so, why...and what makes you mad/annoyed enough to click 'your friend' into the ethos of cyberspace? Have you been unfriended unfairly?

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