Me And My Facebook Unfriend Finder

by Bill Brenner on January 31, 2012

Yesterday Mashable had an article about a new plug-in that alerts you when someone unfriends you, de-activates their page or ignores your friend request.

Mood music:

http://youtu.be/BgKxDs0eKmA

“That would be bad for my mental health,” I told myself, seconds before hitting the “install” button. I was reminded of the Black Flag song where Henry Rollins screams:

You say you don’t want it
You don’t want it
Say you don’t want it
Then you slip it on in

When I told Erin about the plug-in she scolded me with the very words that came to mind right before I installed it: “That would be sooooo bad for your mental health.”

So why did I install the thing, knowing what I know about my compulsive tendencies? To be honest, I was curious.

I’ve written before about Facebook Unfriend Syndrome: That nagging feeling you get when someone unfriends you. You wonder if you offended the person and want to ask them why they left. It’s a stupid state of mind, to be sure. But having OCD is partly about developing stupid compulsions.

Indeed, I have offended people over things I’ve written in this blog. A close friend got mad at me for something I wrote and ditched me, though she recently added me back. My own mother defriended me because she couldn’t handle my version of past events. I long ago accepted that I’m going to lose people along the way. That’s life, especially when you’re the outspoken type.

With all that in mind, any sane person would prefer not to know who unfriended them. I never claimed I was playing with a full deck.

An hour after I installed it, I got a message, just like any notification you get on Facebook, saying so-and-so deactivated their profile. An hour later, someone else deactivated theirs.

“Hmm,” I thought. “It is good to know when someone kills their account.”

Now I almost find myself wanting someone to unfriend me just so I can watch this new toy do its thing.

It’s crazy, I know.

There are arguments for having this kind of tool. Seeing the types of people who leave can give you an indication of who is more or less likely to want your content. If a relative does it, it’s good to know so you can try to fix whatever you did to bruise them. Of course, sometimes family members deserve to be bruised.

In the final analysis, though, I’ve decided to uninstall it because, as Erin said, it’s dangerous for my brand of OCD. I also realize people have a right to unfriend without telling people.

It’s a personal and private action.

Also, as I’ve noted before, sometimes unfriending is the right thing.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen March 25, 2012 at 7:22 PM

My guru 16 year old daughter says “if someone is important enough I’ll notice if they unfriend me and either know why or should find out and fix it. If I don’t notice the action then it doesn’t matter”. Word.

Renee July 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM

In case anyone gets too excited, this won’t show the folks who are smart enough to simply block all comments from someone while keeping them on the friends list to dodge conflict. Consequently it’s not a true indicator of who’s receiving posts with open arms at all . . .

Bill Brenner July 11, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Very true, Renee. Incidentally, I re-installed it because I couldn’t help myself, and have learned a lot about how all you can do is be a good person online and let people come and go as they will. Sequel post coming soon.

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