A Brief Treatise on the Standards and Practices for a Facebook Friend Purge

as told by Barry Schwartz, formerly of (the former) Stylus, presently of Disco Vietnam, over Facebook chat, naturally

B Schwartz

10:08am Barry: what do u do if u get a friend request from a chick you used to work with in high school that u had a crush on but she’s married

10:08am Me: ah this happened to me last week. the answer: accept the friend request and realize how unattractive she’s become and how much better than her you probably are now

10:09am Barry: no she’s super cute. but i deleted 20 friends last night

10:10amMe: depends on also the chances of ever seeing her in person

10:10am Barry: well we live in the same neighborhood but i hardly ever see her. probably because shes with her husband

10:11am Me: you can always become friends just to look at pictures of her

10:12am Barry: im going to accept but put her on a 2 month probationary period. if after 2 months our facebook friendship yields no interactions i will delete her.

I was leaving Friday’s with Kenny [Schwartz, the other Schwartz brother] the other night and i saw two girls I’m Facebook friends with saying goodbye to each other in the parking lot. I didn’t say hi to them because i didn’t want to and drove past them. i turned to Kenny and said, “I’m Facebook friends with both those girls and we didn’t say hi to each other in real life”

deleted them as soon as i got home

10:14am Barry and [Aforementioned Crush Girl] are now friends.

10:14am Me: that story is all the better by the fact that you and [that girl] becoming friends just showed up in the chat window

10:15am Barry: she’ll be deleted in two months I’m sure


So the lesson here is: if you aren’t friends with someone in a Friday’s (or any good-time after-work appetizer chain restaurant, I’m sure) parking lot, than you don’t deserve to be friends online. In a world where virtual friendships threaten to supersede real ones, Barry has decided to fight back.

I haven’t done a purge yet, but there are plenty of ex girlfriends of people I haven’t talked to in years in my rolls who find the need to keep informing me which character on LOST they are or which minor league baseball team mascot they most likely would be based on a handful of survey questions. I can probably do without this information in my life, though it would be a good conversation starter in a parking lot that smells like potato skins.

Related: Cover story from this week’s New York Magazine on Facebook. “Do You Own Facebook? Or Does Facebook Own You?”

10 responses to “A Brief Treatise on the Standards and Practices for a Facebook Friend Purge

  1. Awesome. I’ve been systematically purging Facebook “friends” like it’s Poland, ’39. Don’t recognize your name? Gone. Wouldn’t want to get into a conversation with you? Done. Pretend my Facebook updates are extremely interesting but didn’t actually talk to me in high school? Finished.

    I think we have reached critical mass on Facebook now that literally everyone and his grandmother has joined. We’ll be seeing a lot of people pulling in the friendship rein.

  2. too soon for a Holocaust reference? I think I may have to unfriend you for that.

  3. I was referring to the great Polish Facebook purge of March 9th. Jeez, Donnelly.

  4. I’d rather have access to people’s “information” than not have it. I say you never delete Facebook friends… even if you’ve never met them.

  5. I did an epic purge after my high school reunion. If we were in a room together for 3 hours and we didn’t speak even though The Point Of It All was to reunite, you got purged. with glee.

    I also have sublists of people who’s contact info I want, but I don’t want them to know that at 4am I just got home from a dance party.

    keep things reined in and under control. It’s the only way to live in the world wide web.

  6. I’ve been finding that high school friends who were very late in getting into the facebook game are now among the most notoriously annoying people on there. I keep being told what five hockey players are the best of all time in their estimation and other terribly boring details about how frustrating they find it on a day to day basis to take care of the children they never should have had in high school. While I appreciate the attempt (at least on the surface) to reconnect, the remove from friends button tempts me every day.

  7. facebook should publish the names of the friends you are no longer facebook friends with. that kind of information is pretty juicy with reasoning and maybe inspirational for other people to DEfriend that person or persons.

    i’ve deleted one friend…and i think it was my aunt. anybody wanna talk about the influx of family members joining and ruining our privacy and our facebook? jeez.

  8. An appendix to this story is what happens when you re-request the facebook friend who purged you? (Is the online gulag just as equally a place of no return?)

  9. A further appendix to this story is that I’m the friend who purged Peltzman that she just re-requested. She’s back in because that takes moxie. 2-month probationary period begins now though.

  10. Let’s check back in two months to see if the Peltzman/Barry relationship has been strengthened by this experience

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