I’ve known about the “Purge” for a long time, but it wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago that I decided try it.
I’m talking about a social media purge, by the way.
I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a photo posted by a girl who attends NYU with me. I won’t get into specifics, but it was one of MANY times when this girl has posted a photo or status that was a self-indulgent, humble brag. A “Look at how great I am and look at how good I look while I’m doing it” kind of thing. There are a lot of people who do this, but this girl is the WORST case I’ve ever seen. I immediately went to a group chat I have with friends, and ranted on how annoying this girl was, AGAIN.
“I might as well delete her as a friend at this point,” I said.
One of my friends responded, “Well, why don’t you?”
I thought for a minute, and I realized–I could just delete her. I would never have to see another photo or status or humble-brag from her ever again. So I did it. I purged her from my Facebook friends.
I always thought deleting someone on Facebook was the most permanent way to remove someone from your life. It’s not as easy as unfollowing on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook means something else, although I’m not sure what it is. I think that’s why I am scared to delete people on Facebook, or even unfollow them on Instagram. Some of my friends agree, and some friends have no problem unfollowing another acquaintance if they don’t like their pictures. (Again, few people I know will delete someone on Facebook for simply not liking the content)
Before, if you didn’t want someone in your life anymore, you just stopped including them in your life. You stopped calling them, you stopped catching up, and you stopped caring. You hoped you didn’t see them in real life, and as long as you never ran into them, they were removed from your life forever.
Today, you can’t cut someone out so easily. Sure you can stop reaching out to them and hope you never see each other, but guess what? You’re still Facebook friends. You still follow each other on Instagram. You still watch their Snapchat stories. You are still in each other’s lives. Sure, one of you can unfollow or delete the other, but what happens when the other finds out?
Deleting or unfollowing someone is a tangible confirmation that you do not want someone to be in your life. It’s something that we never had before. Providing someone with that real confirmation– “I deleted you from my Facebook friends”– is something so real and so apparent. It’s something you can be confronted about. If that other person was never notified that you wanted them out of your life, they can and will ask: “Why did you unfollow me?” And in an age where we HATE confrontation and try to do everything behind our phone screens, that is just too much for us to handle.
But when it came to that girl who I have never talked to, and yet am constantly infuriated by, why should she be in my life? There is no reason!
And the other day, I realized that a guy I used to talk to my freshman year unfollowed me on Instagram. I was hurt for a second, but came to the same realization. Why should he be following me? We are in totally different places in our lives, and are not part of each other’s lives in ANY capacity. That final click on the “unfollow” button was the final goodbye, the final task we needed to complete in order to completely remove ourselves from one another. And I think that’s okay!
So I was inspired to do a purge. I actually have so many Facebook friends that this might take a while, but I started out with the obvious ones:
The girl I met in the NYU Facebook group when I was first accepted, who ended up choosing a different school to go to? Purge.
My friend of a friend of a friend who I never actually met but added me because the comment I posted on my friend’s picture was funny? Purge.
The girls who stopped being my friends halfway through freshman year for no apparent reason? Fuck you. Oh, also…Purge.
The boy who stopped talking to me, but STILL likes my Instagram pictures and once texted me “Hey” at 4 am? Purge.
All of the celebrities (Gigi, Bella, Kendall, etc.) who make me feel gross every time I see a picture of them? PURGE.
If you have no problem seeing pictures of people you hardly know, or no longer want to know, then that’s fine. But if being reminded of someone’s existence brings you an extreme amount of anger, insecurity, frustration, sadness, or just all-around negativity, I think it’s time that you started to think about the purge.
And also, can we please start thinking about forming a league of humble-brag police?