Just before Christmas [I have only just waded through my RSS feeds] the Wall Street Journal had a piece about the problems of defriending people:
Unfriending online “friends” is emerging as the latest offense in the world of social networking.
People who are so easily offended are highly unlikely to talk to me long enough to ever make it onto my “friends” list, but nonetheless my defriending decisions have occassionally been controversial:
1) My brother: defriended for having appalling taste in music and expressing it regularly in his status.
2) My girlfriend: defriended when her annoying friends’ comments started appearing in my newsfeed.
Defriending is a necessary part of the long term use of social network sites, after all, do we really want to spend the rest of our lives with a social life clogged-up with those friends we made as five year olds?
The biggest problem with the current defriending system is its secretive nature. Defriendees would probably be more accepting of a defriending if the defriender was forced to inform them of the reasons why, rather than letting them find out on their own. Defriending without telling them why just strikes me as rude. It is worth noting, however, that however well you explain why you defriended your girlfriend, she is highly unlikely to be understanding.