Ever scrolled through your Facebook and realised you don’t recognise half the names popping up in your News Feed? Friend list at 1000 people and counting? Is your wall cluttered with posts you don’t care about from people you don’t remember? Are you sick and tired of all of the TV show spoilers, conceited selfies, constant game invitations and endless photo sessions of someone’s dog/baby/vacation that you are being bombarded with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 day a year? If you’ve answered yes to at least one of these questions, then Unfriend Day is probably the perfect the holiday for you!
The History of Unfriend Day
“Unfriend”…maybe we should just start by clearing up how and when “to (un)friend” even became a verb to begin with, after hundreds of years of the word “friend” being a plain old noun you used to describe someone you had a good, close relationship with, and the word “unfriend” not even being in the realm of existence. Oxford Dictionary’s 2009 word of the year was, in fact, “unfriend”, which it defines as, “verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.” Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program, explained Dictionary’s rather controversial choice, saying, “It has both currency and potential longevity. In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year.”
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel founded Unfriend Day in 2014 to combat the growing trend of social media profiles collecting ‘friends’ like Pokemon cards, amassing a ridiculous amount of ‘friends’ they barely know at all in short periods of time. Getting rid of distant acquaintances on Unfriend Day can help streamline your internet experience, allowing you to use your profiles to keep in touch with people you really care about, and preserving the true definition of ‘friend.’
How to Celebrate Unfriend Day
Firstly, as well as somewhat ironically, there is a Facebook page for the day which you can ‘like’, which suggests criteria that can be used in deciding who to unfriend. These people include those who are constantly asking you to lend them money you’ll never see again, inviting you to ‘like’ whatever page they’re obsessed with this week, or complaining about every little thing that happens to them. So what are you waiting for? Celebrate Unfriend Day by taking advantage of this judgement-free opportunity to ditch the total strangers and on your ‘friend’ list! On a slightly more serious note, Unfriend Day can in fact be a good time to think about the amount of superficial relationships people engage in the era of social media, ‘likes’, ‘retweets’, etc. Are you possibly neglecting the people in your life who really love you and care about your well-being sitting in front of you laptop for hours on end? Are you taking all sorts of pictures of activities you should just be enjoying with your actual friends, family or significant other just so you can quickly upload them to Facebook and garner ‘likes’ from people you don’t really like too much anyway? As silly as these questions may sound, people replacing real human contact and interactions with ‘likes’ and so on is becoming a legitimate problem in our society. Take the time this Unfriend Day to make sure this is not happening in your life.