Have you ever sat at your computer and decided today is a good day to do my Facebook unfriending? How funny, I just realized that although unfriending is an action, it is not even a real word. How about that?
Unfriending can be a difficult and painful experience or a satisfying, or gloriously cathartic experience. I think that is just like real life. Sure, every now and then its sad to virtually delete someone from your life – especially if they once meant something to you a long time ago. Friendships are challenging, and in the world of “virtual friends” (never thought I would use that phrase outside of young children who have their “virtual friends”) but online, friendships can change in a matter of days, weeks or months.
I don’t know if I really considered Facebook the same or different than “real life”, but a new study from Cambridge University on the “loosing of friends on Facebook” suggests that there’s really not a whole lot of difference between why relationships end on Facebook and how they end offline. As a recovering shrink, and relationship expert, I found this study completely fascinating.
The researchers start off by suggesting that most studies have pointed to an extreme difference in the dissolution of friendships on and offline. “Self-reported data seems to suggest that Facebook relationships end for reasons different than those associated with dissolution of real-life relationships. Such an assertion has, however, never been quantitatively tested,” they said.
What they found through their analyzing of over 34,000 Facebook relationships is that the reason friends “break up” on Facebook has to do with many of the same reasons and factors as why they break up offline.
We consider 34,012 Facebook relationships and study whether their decays are impacted by the four factors (Sections “Method” and “Results”). We ﬁnd that a relationship is likely to break if it is not embedded, if it is between two users with a considerable age difference, and one of the two individuals is neurotic or introvert.
The “embedded” thing has to do with the commonality of the two people’s groups of friends. Do they run in the same circles, basically. That makes sense. If you are a common friend, you are more likely not to get deleted as easily. I might call you and yell at you instead.
The researchers also found that your Facebook friendship is more likely to survive if you share another female friend. “Relationship[s] between two individuals having a common female friend is more robust than that between two individuals having a common male friend” I loved this. You know that I am completely enamored with how women bond, create relationships and then work to maintain them, so I thought “Wow, we also help to keep other relationships outside of our own together, women are truly relationship glue!”
Dawn Billings is the author of over 20 books and the founder of The Heart Link Women’s Network, a women’s networking organization with over 200 locations in US, Canada and Australia, specifically designed to aid women in growing their businesses together while strengthening their communities. Dawn is also the CEO and Founder of Find-Success.co, Heart to Heart Media, TROVA Business Network and President of DawnBillings.com a training company dedicated to touching lives in ways that can change the direction of hearts and create a better world. Check out Dawn Personality tool called the Primary Colors Personality Test.