How to Unfriend or Unfollow a Friend That Cyberbullies

Points to consider before unfriending or unfollowing someone

upset girl on smartphone

Social media is a huge part of most people’s lives. And, for the most part, it is a good resource. It allows you to keep in touch with a larger group of people that you care about, especially those that live far away. But what should you do when your friend’s social media activity involves cyberbullying, name-calling, making racist remarks or spreading rumors?

Most people would adamantly advise unfriending or unfollowing anyone who consistently makes derogatory remarks on social media.

In fact, doing so sends a very clear message: “I do not like your posts, pictures and updates.” But sometimes that is not always the best answer, especially if your friend is a mean girl. If you suddenly unfriend her then you may unwittingly have made yourself the next target.

Before You Unfriend

Very often, unfriending someone will mean the end of the friendship. Not only is it a very public way to make this announcement, but it also is very painful to be on the receiving end of being unfriended. And that rejection causes may people to lash out.

Before you unfriend or unfollow consider your other options. Depending which social media tools you use, you could:

  • control what posts you see in your feed by adjusting your privacy settings
  • control what posts you share with this person by adjusting your settings
  • limit the time you spend on social media so that you do not see the posts
  • avoid responding to messages through social media but instead pick up the phone and call your friend
  • limit who can tag you in a post
  • talk to your friend about her posts

You also should ask yourself if you are unfriending her because what she is doing is wrong, or are you unfriending because you are angry or hurt. Generally, you should not click the unfriend or unfollow button unless you are sure that you can live with the consequences.

Remember, after you unfriend or unfollow someone you may have to make a friend request if you change your mind. Give yourself some time to calm down and weigh all your options before you do anything. Weighing all sides of the issue is the best way to make a decision about unfriending.

Once You Unfriend Someone

If you do decide to unfriend someone, be prepared with an answer as to why. Remember, some people take unfriending or unfollowing very personally. What’s more, your friend may not even realize that you find her posts offensive or inappropriate. If that is the case, you may need to talk things through with her. 

However, if your friend is a mean girl, a frenemy or a fake friend, you do not owe her an explanation. What’s more, it is unlikely she will even ask you about it. Remember, if the friendship is unhealthy, you took the right step in setting up boundaries by unfriending or unfollowing her.

Keep in mind that unfriending and unfolloiwng definitely changes the tone of the relationship, so use caution before you do it. If you have given it a lot of thought and still want to go through it, then do it. You are not required to maintain friendships with people who do not share your values, especially if they are hurting other people in the process.

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