To Unfriend Or Not to Unfriend
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Politics and Activism

To Unfriend Or Not to Unfriend

What do you do when someone passes away?

To Unfriend Or Not to Unfriend

Facebook is a wonderful thing. Everyone shares details of their lives in varying degrees, commenting on someone’s baby pictures, liking what a co-worker had for lunch, traveling vicariously when a cousin jets off to an exotic location, it’s a fantastic way to keep up on people’s lives. Look beyond all of these positive qualities, and a darker shade starts to surface.

How do you deal with friends and death?

I’ve had two people in my life pass away who also maintained Facebook profiles: a former co-worker who died of cancer and a cousin who succumbed to lupus at a painfully young age. Both women maintained Facebook profiles. As for the co-worker, her profile turned into something of a moment frozen in time. Her profile picture is still there from when she was battling cancer, and every once in a while, I’ll go visit it to see if anyone has left a comment and remind me that human beings are still kind people who care about each other. I did post a comment at one point as a way of communicating with her but realistically speaking, my words are falling on deaf ears as she is no longer physically here. But then again, her profile still remains, so is she entirely “gone”?

As for the cousin, I wasn’t too close to her but I still continued to be “friends” with her on Facebook, at least until I started receiving creepy game requests from her from beyond the grave which I hope was simply a result of someone using her account. Since it was a tad creepy and she had passed away anyway, I chose to unfriend her...but I felt guilty.

I know people tend to place different levels of magnitude towards being unfriended. On a serious note, what does it mean when you choose to sever electronic ties with someone who has passed but you kept at least somewhat in touch with for years via social media? With the cousin, it felt a little unpleasant, as though I was forgetting about her. With the co-worker, I can’t bring myself to do it because it almost feels as if I’m forgetting about her, even though I have nothing but wonderful memories of her.

On the one hand, the person is no longer here, so what's the point of keeping them around, right? It's best to allow them to rest in peace and simply dwell on the positive experiences shared with them. On the other hand, they are still a part of your life and perhaps remaining “friends” with them is a way of holding onto your relationship and honoring their memory.

I know that Facebook has some sort of feature where the profiles of late friends and family are turned into a memorial page, but the thought of being potentially shown ads on a page that's supposed to be about cherishing the memory of someone seems downright despicable.

So I'm curious to know dear readers: how do you feel about unfriending late friends or family on Facebook?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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