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The word “friends” takes on a strange connotation on Facebook. Currently I have two hundred seventy-seven friends, which is down about thirty from earlier this year. At the height of my friend-getting I think that I had around five or six hundred. There was a point several years ago where having a lot of friends on Facebook seemed like something of an accomplishment or, at the very least, something to be aspired to.

Over the years I’ve been battered down by conspiracy theories, begging for attention, and strange political views that I’ve come to realize less is more on Facebook. All of those people who complain about what the site has become don’t realize that’s in part to the people and likes on their Facebook list. Those things decide what Facebook is for you.

About a year and a half ago a friend of mine hid most of the people on his friends list from actually appearing on his wall unless they mentioned him and the results were astounding. He was interacting with people he actually wanted to interact with–Facebook has become a lot like the Game of Thrones for some of us: we’re forced to keep up these relationships for the sake of appearances, etiquette, satisfying old debts, or because of family ties. I don’t think I know anyone with a Facebook friends list that’s one hundred percent what they want it to be.

We can trim parts off, but a lot of it is inconsequential. There’s always that uncle that you really can’t get rid of without catching flack from family. Or that ex-co-worker who seems to magically post on your wall every time you come home looking to delete them. Or that girl who posts crazy stuff, but that will often times post a really cute picture…

I bit the bullet and deleted some people right before the election. Not just because of differing opinions, but because I didn’t like the idea of someone threatening shooting sprees if their candidate lost or that was really enthused about “pussy grabbin'”. Since two of these people in particular have tried to add me back, but what is it you really want? We don’t actually talk, that’s why the decision to get rid of you was extra easy, and we aren’t particularly friends either.

Look, I’m not saying that you have to agree with your friends about everything, but I am saying that no one should be forced to be friends that’s past the age of, like, five. We can like who we like and not deal with others. That goes for family too. And if you live your life without subjecting yourself to people who you really don’t want to, maybe things will be a little better for all of us.

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