In pre-Facebook times, friends usually were those people with whom you had face-to-face interaction. Friendships now seem to be measured by the number of friend requests received and accepted. In all likelihood, the majority of those friends are people who will never engage in face-to-face time with one another.
Friending Expands Your World
Friending can be a wonderful way of expanding your social and professional networks. And some of your Facebook (FB) friends may become a tight nucleus of mutual support – the people you turn to when you need a virtual group hug.
When Friending Turns Bad
Sometimes, one of your Facebook friends may do or say something hurtful on a Facebook Wall. The occasionally negative comment or difference of opinion is a far cry from unleashing the beasts of hateful words, vindictive comments, or making direct (or indirect) threats about your safety and well-being.
If a FB friend’s communications have become harassing, demanding, or include threatening language, you may decide it’s best to sever the FB relationship by “unfriending” that person. Here’s how:
- Access your FB profile and tap your name at the top right corner of the screen.
- Scroll down to the “Friends” section located at the left side of the screen. Click to access the Friends list.
- Locate the soon-to-be-former friend (now your “frenemy”) and hold the cursor over the person’s name until a balloon appears with an enlarged image of the frenemy’s contact information and avatar.
- Hover the cursor on the “Friends” button on that bubble image. A pop-up menu will appear with several options including “Unfriend.”
- Click on “Unfriend.”
Unfriending limits but does not eliminate potential future contact. The unfriended person:
- Doesn’t appear on your “Friends” list.
- Can still find you by using a FB search.
- You can still send messages to each other.
- You can read each other’s Wall (unless you change your privacy settings).
Blocking is a more complete severing of the relationship than unfriending.
- Follow Steps 1 and 2 for unfriending.
- Click on the frenemy’s name.
- To the far right of the frenemy’s cover photo is an ellipsis (…). Click on the ellipsis. A dropdown menu appears: “Block” is at the bottom of that menu. Click on “Block.”
The results of blocking a frenemy are these:
- The blocked person can’t find you on Facebook.
- Neither you nor the blocked person appears in each other’s search results.
- The blocked person can’t contact or find you.
- He or she no longer has access to your Friends list.
- It appears to the blocked person as though you have ceased to exist on Facebook although your presence can still be noticed if you use the same interactive third-party apps like Facebook games.
If unfriending or blocking the frenemy does not stop the harassing or threatening communication, consider these options:
- Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a report of the threat or demand.
- File a Facebook report of the situation and provide a copy of the person’s URL and contact email address in your report.
- Seek legal counsel from a lawyer or legal aid resource.
- Contact a crisis hotline; the hotline staff may be able to provide referrals to local victim advocate and legal services.
- Contact your community’s victim advocate or social worker service. These resource centers can help you gather evidence, file reports, and obtain civil protection or anti-stalking orders.
Don’t hesitate to explore and make use of every avenue for protection and counsel available to you. The well-being and safety of you and your loved ones should always be your top priority.