Does your Facebook feed sometimes makes you want to take your phone, computer, or other gadget and chuck it heartily against a wall? Are you often flabbergasted at how people represent themselves on the billion-plus-person platform? If you are, we feel your pain, but ruining your hard-earned consumer electronics is not the answer. Instead, why not take a moment, center your breathing, and then perform an exorcism?
You don’t need an old priest and a young priest for this one — just a steady trigger finger and the fortitude to click “unfriend” on the following types of people without apology.
There are some things you shouldn’t read about your friends in a public forum. This includes who cheated on them, who they’re cheating on, whether it’s a heavy flow day, and whether their dad really is as useless as everyone in their family always said he was. And yet, every day people who you’ve previously considered to have good sense log in to their Facebook and let everyone know that it’s not their fault that their sex life is over, it’s just that their wife doesn’t find them attractive anymore.
The Oversharer’s intentions are often good: They either want support or some kind of justice, but their interpersonal skills are so unrefined that they can’t keep even the most private things to themselves. This isn’t someone who posts the occasional joke about their significant other or plasters their wall with a funny nude once in a while (which is fine as long as everything’s tastefully covered), this is someone who sees Facebook as a form of therapy (which it isn’t) and their page a confessional that’s somehow public yet confidential all at the same time.
Sure, it may be funny at first — yep, I know which one of my former friends’ boyfriends has a “tiny dick he couldn’t use if he overdosed on Viagra and used a paper clip to hold the damn thing up” — but then it becomes kind of sad. And then you realize that this is someone you’ll never be able to have a normal conversation with ever again.
The Drama Llama
If Facebook archetypes were Pokemon, the Drama Llama would be the natural next step in The Oversharer’s evolutionary process. Some people are born Drama Llamas, but some blossom into this role, spreading their beautiful butterfly wings to call you a name over something trivial that probably didn’t even involve them. They’re the first people to call others out on their bullsh*t, but the last to take any responsibility for anything they’ve ever done. And if you ever accuse them of stirring up trouble? Well, it’s your fault that you couldn’t handle them being “brutally honest” and “real.”
Please note that being a drama llama can be infectious. People who have never wanted to throw down with another human being in a battle of badly-written cuss-laden screeds have been known to go hard once they’ve entered a Drama Llama’s proximity. If this happens to you, just remember: It doesn’t matter who’s right on the internet, just getting into a fight on Facebook automatically makes you the loser.
The Person Who Actually Cares If People On Facebook Remember Their Birthdays
In the immortal words of Taylor Swift: This. Is. Exhausting. If you know one grown-ass adult who’s going to call people out for not wishing them a Happy Birthday on social media, you know too many.
The People Constantly Posting Pics Of Their Best Lives
If you’re having so much fun in Bora Bora, bae, you should be a little bit too busy swimming and drinking out of coconuts to constantly be posting how satisfied you are with the life you are living. One or two pics of you on the beach? Sure. You paid a lot for that vacation. A shot of you smiling every fifteen minutes followed by an inspirational quote? Now you’re just trying to make others feel bad about not being on vacation.
Listen, all posts on social media are curated. Even the naked picture I posted of myself crying into a burrito after eye surgery was intentional. But that was for comedic effect! And I only posted it twice. If anyone’s making you feel bad because they’re out there doing their thing 24/7, you should stop looking at their Facebook. They’re not telling the truth, and honestly, you don’t need to be reading about it.
New Moms/New Dads/New Anythings
Yes, your cat/dog/baby swaddled in fifteen blankets is adorable. No, I don’t think you need to post seventeen identical pictures of it. Nor is it imperative that the viewing public gets a chance to see exactly what baby’s first “poopie” looks like. It’s worse than the people trying to get you to play Farmville! (What is this, 2010?)
People Who Are Magically Granted A Degree In Constitutional Law During Every Election Cycle
It’s nice to know who in your family voted for Trump, but it’s even nicer to know that there’s an online university (Facebook) that grants law degrees to anyone who thinks they know anything about politics because they read and then shared a meme. Honestly, you can try to change these people’s minds with civilized discourse — it won’t work, it’s guaranteed you’ll be called a “sheeple”– but it’s best for your blood pressure to just delete Aunt Sally (and her very nuanced stance on gay marriage) from your friends list before you call her a “homophobic racist bigot” like your cool younger cousin did at Thanksgiving.
What’s important to know here is that anyone who will blindly post a “fact” they found on the internet without doing research isn’t someone you can reason with. One of my relatives, a sworn Obama hater through and through, actually posted a 100 percent fake fact about our former President which I happily refuted with facts. His response? “But it could be true! That’s what’s so scary!”
How do you respond to that? You can’t. That’s the scary part.
The Social Experimenters
To be honest, no one knows what the term “social experiment” actually means, but it’s the popular go-to for anyone who’s posted something awful, behaved badly, and doesn’t want to apologize. Instead of just saying “I dun goofed,” they try to play off their gaffe (be it sexist, racist, or any other -ist) as “important human research” they were doing to see how people would react. Except that’s not how experiments work. These people don’t know what they’re talking about and you don’t have time for that kind of negativity in your life.
The Exceedingly Gullible
You can’t unfriend grandma — you know you’ve tried and she somehow knows immediately — but you can unfollow her and anyone else who posts that meme about Okra being a miracle drug that will save you from cancer. It’s a hell of a lot easier to mute them (the best timeline is an empty timeline) than to try to explain their folly, but if you must — and you’ll try at least once — please direct them to this list of fake news websites Snopes recently put out.
Of course, anyone who’s posting headlines from The Onion like it’s actual news is beyond help. If you know someone who will read an article about an abortion megaplex, add a dismayed caption (lots of !!!), and post it for the world to see, you should either block them immediately or pitch them that bridge you’ve been trying to offload since 1922.
The Public Relations Specialist
This is the one type of friend that you should delete but can’t bring yourself to because they’re always inviting you to things and sometimes, when you’re feeling really lonely, you think “yeah, maybe I will go to that Drum+Bass Cabaret this person has been flogging for the past three weeks.” You won’t, but it’s a nice thought to have. Until the only notifications you get are from this person inviting you to events they themselves probably won’t be at but are just “promoting for friends.” Depressing. Unfriend.
Have a friend who posts “no one talk to me right now,” without any explanation? Do them a solid and follow their command. Nothing will give you satisfaction like not giving them the attention they so desperately need.
The Unrelenting Tagger
How is it possible to be tagged in so many pictures and not be in even one of them? Few of us know the answer, but the unrelenting tagger is still at it, inexplicably posting photos of sunsets and then tagging forty unrelated friends just to share the view. You’ve begged and you’ve pleaded that they just stop, but they refuse. So now it’s time to make it impossible for them to tag you anymore, by untagging yourself from their lives. Don’t worry, though, with so many people to tag and so little time, this will be the person who your unfriending will hurt the least. And that’s good.
Obviously, you’re not looking to break people’s hearts, just break their grip on your timeline so that you can live a life less cluttered by annoyance.
This is an updated version of a post that originally ran in February 2016.