How to Lose Friends and Estrange People on Facebook
Here I am going to tell you the recipe to lose friends and to alienate people on Facebook. What? The title of this post looks familiar? Yes, it’s inspired by a great book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. This book was written by Dale Carnegie and what a great writer he was. I started reading his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” in my school days. This book was given to me as a gift by one of my uncles.
First things first: The word ‘Friend’ has been recycled by Facebook in a new way. The word is an avatar of the original word. It has some of the attributes of the original but it’s indeed very different from the original. Most of us are familiar with Facebook; therefore there seems to be no need to mention that Facebook uses word ‘Friend’ in a funny way. Now as I have already mentioned it, it will not be too much of pain to suggest (for either of us) that Facebook means ‘Acquaintance’, when it says ‘Friend’. It might not be an accurate definition and I accept that; some of the names in your friend-list in Facebook might be total strangers to you. It seems to be the case at least with me, while I have a very short list of friends. I have never exchanged even a single word with some of the persons listed in my friend list. This would have made it pretty clear to you that I am not strictly of opinion that all of the persons in your friend list in Facebook qualify as ‘Acquaintance’. Now it would be safe to suggest that you may say that Facebook Friend is not necessarily a Friend and not necessarily an acquaintance in real life.
This recipe is to help you get rid of baggage of Facebook-Friends in a practical manner. This is borne out of my own experience. Some of these tips are so acute even in real life that if you wish you can just extrapolate and use them for your greater good!
#1. Sophistry, Arguments and Philosophy: It’s easy to use whenever a Facebook Friend updates a status which is philosophical. Most of such updates are done in the spur of moment and they do not necessarily think through them. Thinking is such a pain. Yes, it soaks your life force energy. Why think when you can do without it? Just take a quotation and update it in your status. It just matches with your mood so you update it. Take advantage of inadvertence of your Facebook-Friends. Nobody cares to check-especially if it’s Philosophy.
You would very often find such statuses saying “Life is so and so…” and “I am this and that…” and “Bob is your uncle if I am your friend…” and so on. They have updated these statuses because they need ‘Likes’ (Read ‘thumbs-up’) and comments for their pseudo-philosophy. What is your knack then? You have to just jump-in the comments thread and to put your proposition in most sophisticated way with florid words and then you start playing show stopper. The person who had done the status update would start cursing you because the ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’ would reduce significantly after you start your blabber mouthed tirades. This Facebook-Friend of yours is taken aback now. Now you wait for another opportunity to show-off your erudition and come up with opposing views to any philosophical status update as soon as you see it. What happens? Now Facebook-Friends of your Facebook-Friend would be reluctant and would not easily come forward to comment on these status updates. What is happening? You have become a show-stopper. You have killed the pseudo-philosopher; you sadist son of a holy jabberwocky! No, wait another minute: Facebook-Friend of yours feels like celebrities do after a great downfall; he is not used to so much of isolation and he misses this adulation all his Facebook-Friends used to give him! No, you sadist; you will not win places with this sophistry for enough long—there is an option called ‘Unfriend’ on Facebook. Your Facebook-Friend has already regretted having added you; but enough is enough; no more lamenting over pettifoggers. He folds his sleeves up and uses the weapon ‘Unfriend’ or ‘Report Abuse/Block’ against you and lo, Bob is again his uncle! He carries on with his routine of updating pseudo-philosophical quotations in his status and enjoys all the adulation and love of his Facebook-Friends. You have internalized at least the mechanism of this first tip of recipe. Do you know that doing this would not only make your Facebook-Friend estrange you without any notice, but also would alarm many more to not to ever add you as a Friend in future? Yes, gentleman you are being written off as a full-of-himself bastard. The Facebook Friend of yours who estranged you by blocking/unfriending will not be in cordial terms; nay, will not even interact with you, because you made him feel humiliated by your condescending arguments. People were watching. You were shattering his image which he had made after many such status updates. He had started to think of himself as a Philosopher, Thinker and whatnot.
#2. Grammar is a Tricky Thing:
This comic stripe here in Arnold Zwicky’s blog post tells you a very important thing. “As Utahraptor once remarked: “Correcting people’s grammar in conversation is difficult to do without sounding like a jerk!” (And as T-Rex noted in response, “It’s true! Plus, you’ve got to be eternally vigilant with your own grammar, lest you mess up yourself.” )
It takes nothing less than eternal vigilance to lose friends and alienate people on Facebook. Adding friends is easy but alienating them is not and it’s even more difficult if you want to do it in a civil manner. Yes, people do spelling mistakes all the time. Use improper word forms all the time. Even this very post has many grammatical mistakes. But your knack is to point these mistakes out. Your Facebook-Friends would be taken aback for a while. They will show what you call pseudo-humility but would be cursing and name calling behind your back. Sooner than you expect you would be blocked. What the heck; you were questioning their linguistic prowess (If anything like that exists in the name of his holiness Aha Jar Pinks!).
#3. Tag in Controversy:
It might not be as effective as #1, but does the job anyway. Whenever you write something which sounds like Polemics or which is bitter commentary on something evil and you tag some of your Friends in that, you are begging them to Unfriend you quickly! This is easy to understand now, come on, don’t pretend as if you’re a dullard. Just tag them and their Facebook-Friends would get notifications and the reputation which was built after years upon years of hard work is ruined. You are again a show stopper. They will not Unfriend you immediately. Facebook is very addictive and weird society, mind you. You would very surreptitiously be made subject to Unfriend button, but you chose that by using your great knacks. You would stop seeing updates from your Facebook-Friend and then realize that you have achieved your goal. Victory at last, I must say. Do write back to me if you want me to add your tips into this recipe; perhaps we might co-author a cookbook on this very subject.