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They just pop up: friend requests of people you really are not friends with. Maybe you were at one time. Maybe you sort of know them. Maybe you think you should but you really don’t. Anyway, sometimes you may just accept them because you feel bad denying their outreach. Sure, you can block them from seeing your posts – and you can stop their posts from filling your feed. Yet when one of these non-friends’ birthdays rolls along, you can’t avoid knowing about it. Not only does Facebook tell you about it – they even encourage you to celebrate by giving a little gift.

You know what gift I give? The gift of honesty. That’s the moment when I force myself to decide whether or not I would cross the street to wish said “friend” a birthday if I saw him or her. If the answer is “no” or “I wouldn’t recognize them” or “they’d have no idea who I am,” the time has come to unfriend.

I do not consider this to be cold or cruel – au contraire mon frere. I believe this removes a little bit of social awkwardness and helps restore Facebook to its original intent: staying in touch with actual friends. I’m putting the “social” back in social media, one unbirthday at a time. And since I started doing this a couple years ago, my page has become far more robust!

Too bad brand pages can’t unfan non-fans. Maybe someday…


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