Student Voice


February 21, 2024




How to obliterate unwanted, exasperating Facebook friends without being rude or pronounced in manner

February 10, 2012

We have all had it happen to us at one point or another. Maybe you have even been the person to instigate it. We have all gotten that friend request on Facebook from a person we either don’t know or don’t want to add. This can be a tricky situation to deal with. Fortunately, I am here to give you some tips on how to either kindly defriend someone or not even add them in the first place.

It’s always a thrill when you log into Facebook and see a new notification, message, or friend request. For the few seconds it takes for you to click away the bright red number, you are in a state of excitement wondering what great notification awaits you. Then all your hopes and dreams are crushed when you click and see you have a friend request from someone you either don’t know or don’t want to accept. Now you are at a crossroads. Do you add this person risking the fact that they will, by any means possible, try to talk to you every day and comment on all of your pictures and status updates? Or do you deny the request and risk them friending you again and again until you accept, or have them message you inquiring as to why you are not friends? Let’s face it no one wants that hassle.

Fortunately there are ways around this. If you are a nice person and add them, there can be ways to get them off of your Facebook. And even better, it can be done in one wall post. Whether you know this person or not, a simple “who are you?” post may be enough to make them think twice about wanting to be your friend. However, this subtle way of telling this person off may not work on everyone. If they try and try to explain who they are and why you should be friends, you really only have one option left: block them. Sure, it is a brutal thing to do, but if they persist on why they should be your friend, they will most certainly try to re-add you if you simply unfriend them. Blocking them completely eliminates this problem and you will never see them in Facebook world again.

Another tricky situation is when you don’t want to be someone’s friend anymore, but you don’t want to hurt their feelings by unfriending them. Your best bet here is to be sneaky. In all likely-hood you will have more than one friend who you want to unfriend on Facebook, other than the one who you really want gone. Just eliminate all of the friends you don’t want in what is called a “friend-purge.” Most of the time if someone is unfriended, they will get the hint and not try to re-friend you. However, if one of your former friends tries to re-add you, just accept it and say something along the lines of, “oh, sorry, I deleted a bunch of friends and you got caught in it.” Or something like that. They will be satisfied. Then a few weeks later just unfriend them again; they will get the hint then.

Now you are prepared if you get an unwanted friend request or have a friend who you just don’t want to be friends with anymore. Hopefully, you will never have to resort to these measures, but we all know that you will. With these tips you should be able to kindly let someone down when you don’t want to be their Facebook friend anymore.

Benjamin Lamers is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the Student Voice during fall semester 2013.


Melissa on 05 Mar 2013: Saying no to friend requests is rather easy. I just ignore them. There is no reason why I should accept a request from someone I don't even know in the real world or from someone who knows better than to try to friend me. On the other hand I have run into situations where someone becomes annoying, but I don't dislike them, I just don't want to hear from them as much as I do. And I don't like burning bridges in the process. I think my best solution at this point is disabling that specific person's ability to see future posts of mine so they won't comment on them. But we can still stay in touch, but it will be on my terms, not theirs.

Dayvid on 14 Feb 2013: How about just being honest? That's the trouble with this world, nobody knows how to tell the truth anymore, which just creates more trouble!

Unfriendly on 14 Feb 2012: Mr. Lamers, I respect your opinion; however I believe there are better ways to handle facebook issues than blocking people! One would be to simply hide the pending friend requests or actually communicate with the people, it is very likely that there is some sort of connection, however minor, that initiates the friend request. You could simply say "I don't know you that well" and leave it at that, if you don't want messages from non friends adjust your privacy settings accordingly. Also if you find yourself forced to unfriend someone just think of how they will feel and how it could be the "straw that broke the camel's back". My final statement is that there are programs available (Unfriend Finder) that will tell you exactly who has unfriended you, blocked you and also who had hid your requests, so it's hard to sneak away when a user has these options available. Remember Facebook is supposed to be fun, so don't let it become unfun! smile