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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

HOW-TO Unfriend IRL

So I've already showed you how to unfriend people on Facebook, how to remove Twitter followers, and how to make your coworkers not like you, but how do you unfriend people in real life?

It's easy to get people to stop talking to you anymore -- just make them enemies. But that's indelicate and can make things overly awkward. What if you're forced to see them again? Wouldn't you prefer that they just feel uncomfortable around you and want to leave the party?

Step 1: Delay responses to their messages.
As you know them personally, they're probably still friends with you on Facebook. If they write on your wall, or send you a message, or even just email you, make sure you take at least two days to respond. When you do, write something like, "Sorry, been busy." Then write a very brief, straightforward response to any question they've asked. Do not ask about them.

Avoid emoticons.
They send mixed signals.

Step 2: Openly *not* invite them to things
Obviously you've stopped inviting them to social engagements by now, but if they don't know they haven't been invited they won't get the point. Make the event public on Facebook, post it to your profile, but do not invite them. If they ask, respond with, "Sorry, missed your name in the list." And nothing else.

Step 3: Always have another thing
They may invite you to an event or two, in an effort to maintain the friendship they treasure and see breaking down before them. But always have another thing. If you're talking to them on the phone, sound sincerely disappointed you can't make it to their event, but offer no suggestion of rescheduling, and do not invite them to your event. This can be difficult, but you'll know it's worth it by the quiver of grief in their voice.

Step 4: Prefer strangers
If you see them at a party, be obvious about being more interested in meeting new people than spending time with an old, still emotionally invested friend.

Step 5: Pretend nothing's wrong
This is the final, and most important step. Pretend you haven't changed, they have. If they ever ask what's going on between you two, make sure you frame every response as if you've been the one hurt. If they ask why they weren't invited to your party, say, "I was just getting the impression you wouldn't be interested."

This will deeply confuse and hurt them.

Soon, they'll stop asking at all.


michelle said...

also, screaming and running in the opposite direction when you see them works ... um, not that i have done that. ;)

Amy said...

So...coworkers don't count as real life?
Hope you enjoy Metro Transit! :P

Joel Kelly said...

Haha, good call Michelle :)

Amy: Grow up. I know you treasure our commutes!

Anonymous said...

really liked this little post. It kind of plays in your mind a while. Thankyou ~ its something I've been learning alot about this year. Givers and takers. : )

Eva said...

oops : ) that anony "mouse" was me

Joel Kelly said...

Glad you liked it Eva! :)