Studies show emotional impact of Facebook ‘unfriending’

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(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

DENVER — Two new studies released by the University of Colorado-Denver highlight trends in ‘unfriending’ on Facebook and the emotional responses that can result.

Published in January, the studies showed the the most common type of person to be unfriended on Facebook is a high school acquaintance, according to a release from CU Denver.

Christopher Sibona, a doctoral student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program at the university’s Business School, attributed this particular trend to people posting “polarizing comments often about religion or politics” — these views may not have been as evident or developed as when they were in high school.

He added, “The other big reason for unfriending was frequent, uninteresting posts.”

Both studies were based on a survey of 1,077 people conducted on Twitter.

According to the first study, the top five kinds of people unfriended on Facebook were high school friends, “other,” friend of a friend, work friends and common interest friends.

“We found that people often unfriend co-workers for their actions in the real world rather than anything they post on Facebook,” Sibona said.

The second study analyzed the emotional response people had to be unfriended, which were surprise, being bothered by it, amusement and sadness.

Sibona found that unfriending happens more often between friends who were once close rather than acquaintances.

He said the studies showed that ending relationships in the digital realm yielded real-world consequences that require additional research.

“If you have a lot of friends on Facebook, the cost of maintaining those friendships is pretty low,” he said. “So if you make a conscious effort to push a button to get rid of someone, that can hurt.”

Currently, Sibona is conducting a study on why people chose to stay or leave Facebook. People can participate by taking the survey.


  • dougsmith42

    Are you a victim of Facebook? Have you been brainwashed? Have you found yourself sitting through redlights or walking into traffic as if you were blind because you can’t get enough of your news feed? Trouble focusing or can’t seem to get any work done? Failing school or losing interest in real life conversations? Have you been be-friended and your boss does not like you? ALL BECAUSE OF FACEBOOK?

    If this sounds like you, treatment is available, there is help! It is OK to put down your phone and the computer. Statistics show 9 out of 10 people have already removed you from their news feed. So in all reality you are posting for yourself and only yourself. Shocker huh? Now is the time to save yourself from the heartbreak and petition to BAN facebook. Sign up at GET A LIFE.COM. Civil Lawsuit pending.

  • reformedii

    Oh for cryin out loud!

    We are a nation of FOOLS!

    How about this emotional impact; :Get OVER IT!” “MOVE ON!”

    I don’t use such idiots sites, but can you tell somebody to go do something physically impossible?

    WHINE & get your panties in a wad!

    The “last” [of a long line] man who told me he was going to kill me got exactly this response; “Whatever!” He was executed last summer!

    Life is tough! Get over it!!!

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