TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – From time to time, people find they have to unfriend people on their Facebook pages.
For most of us, it’s no big deal.
However, for some people, ending that online friendship can have some negative effects.
Facebook certainly is changing the way a lot of us interact with each other.
Some of the simplicity of Facebook could actually be causing problems for some people.
Unfriending sounds kind of mean, but a lot of people say it’s really no big deal.
Actually, it all depends on your personality.
Here are just a few responses we got when we went on the University of Arizona campus and asked students what they thought about unfriending someone.
Freshman Kaela Ward told us, “I don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean I don’t really feel anything’s wrong with it.”
What about being unfriended?
“You know what, it’s kind of a relief actually. So it doesn’t bother me. No,” said junior Liz Ivanov.
Freshman Roman Roberts said, “I don’t have a Facebook, so it does not affect me at all.”
Facebook says it has more than 800 million active users all over the world, and the average user has 130 friends.
We found sophomore Nicole Suerez and her classmate, Macy Orlowski, sitting together, using a laptop.
Nicole said, “I guess I would spend the majority of my time on Facebook. In class, at home. Now.”
Some experts say it’s clear. Facebook and other social media affect our interactions, bringing us closer, such as catching up with old friends…and yet pushing us farther apart.
University of Arizona Psychology Professor, Dr. David Sbarra says,”We spend more time communicating on Facebook now than we do in person. We’re less likely to call someone and have deeper, more in depth conversations.”‘
He says that can be a problem, especially when it’s so easy to break up with a real friend.
“These are new ways in which we can be shunned and spurned and that’s just part of life today,” Sbarra says.
That involves social rejection and, Sbarra says, some people are particular sensitive to it.
“Social rejection has a definite neurophysiology. It’s tried to the same brain regions that are associated with the detection of physical pain,” he says.
Some folks just move on.
“I would like they’re going on a different direction in life and that’s okay,” said junior Alex Sternheim.
Freshman Ria Joseph said, “I don’t know. It’s just a virtual thing. Like just because you’re friends with someone on Facebook doesn’t mean you’re actually friends with them.”
Dr. Sbarra says Facebook is changing the language.
“So it redefines what we think of as a friend and it may be we develop new language for thinking about friends on Facebook and real, deeper friends. ‘This is my friend, and this is my close friend.'”
Dr. Sbarra adds that dumping a friend who really is only an acquaintance can be a non-issue.
But when it comes to a real friend?
“If you’re really trying to dump a friend–someone you’re close with–it probably makes sense to have an offline discussion too, if it’s really someone you’re concerned about what’s going on in your relationship,” Sbarra said.
Something to think about.
Back to Nicole and Macy working on the laptop.
“If Macy unfriended…I would be angry at Macy if she unfriended me. I have class with her every single day, so it would be really really awkward,” said Nicole.
“I would never. I would never unfriend you,” Macy answered.
Dr. Sbarra says we no longer distinguish between the real world and social media now.
He says social media is the real world, and we need to think about it that way, especially when it comes to our relationships.
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