Top 10 Unfriendable Mistakes

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Many view their social media pages as a place where they can voice their opinions and show off pieces of their lives. However, there’s a fine line between being you and being annoying, especially on Facebook and Twitter, where it’s harder for someone to tell your tone. Plus, those who allow bosses, co-workers or family to see their social media pages should be extra careful. The slightest misdemeanor in social media etiquette could cause some to think poorly of you, or worse, defriend you. We talked to owner of The Protocol School of Texas Diane Gottsman, Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute, social media expert Mari Smith and The Protocol School of Palm Beach etiquette associate Jorie Scholnik to get the lowdown. Avoid these online behaviors to ensure that the number of your friends and followers doesn’t plummet.

Oversharing
Whether you’re simply posting a new status every hour or posting personal content that some may not want to hear (such as “Clipped my toenails and found a new wart” or “Dang, I look good today”), oversharing is a huge no-no. Modern etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas Diane Gottsman said, “Appearing self-impressed and self-absorbed is very easy when all you talk about is you, you and more of you.” Not only does oversharing make people think you’re narcissistic, unless they’re a very close friend or family member, most of your friends and followers may feel uncomfortable knowing intimate details about your life, such as a medical issue you’ve been dealing with or a play-by-play of what you did last night.
Being a Negative Nelly
Everyone has a bad day once in awhile, but hearing about it every day via social media is enough to click Unfriend. Smith warned against posting persistent negative, complaining posts, while Post said the volume of the “Negative Nelly” can be a major reason for online friends to back away from your relationship. It’s OK to discuss your bad day with friends in person or via the phone, but if you consistently do it via social media, friends are going to stop feeling bad for you and start getting plain annoyed. Think of it this way: Would you want to be friends with someone who’s constantly depressed and complaining?
Posting political or religious stances
It’s natural to want to champion your political and religious opinions. We have an innate need to find others with similar views, or perhaps convert others to our way of thinking. But there’s a reason you don’t talk politics or religion at a dinner party. Both are touchy subjects that people tend to get fired up about. Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute and author of “Manners in a Digital World,” advises people to steer away from what he calls “not table talk.” You could appear “preachy if you don’t approach those topics with care,” he said. Gottsman agreed: “Religion and politics should be kept private. Even those that agree with you are bored and irritated when all you do is use your social network as a forum to hear yourself talk.”
Oversuggesting
So, you discovered a fun new game on Facebook. That’s great, but that doesn’t mean you have to suggest that your entire list of friends plays it as well. The same goes for suggesting Pages or events. Social media expert Mari Smith recommended not to regularly invite all your friends to events that have zero relevance to them. Think about it this way: If your friends consistently take the time to check their notifications only to discover that it’s another irrelevant Page suggestion from you, they may click Unfriend to eliminate the clutter.
Posting sexist or racist updates
Face it: These posts make you look ignorant. Smith recommended avoiding posting anything highly opinionated or polarizing. Even if you’re making a joke, your tone and intentions don’t translate as easily through the Web. Jorie Scholnik, an etiquette associate at The Protocol School of Palm Beach, said, “It’s important to remember that people don’t always share the same sense of humor. Also, because there’s no face-to-face interaction, it’s hard for others to discern the intent.” Even linking to an outside site that contains sexist or racist content could get you in trouble, even if you’re noting how despicable the content is.
Too many personal photos
We get it. You love your cat. And you’re super excited about being a Dad. But there’s no need to post hourly photos of felines or babies. Post recommends you show discretion with photos, and that includes sharing too many that give insight to your personal life. Scholnik suggested asking yourself, “Is this too much information?” before posting. “Post only what you want to know about others,” she said. So yes, the occasional photos of your new car is appreciated by one and all, but an excessive amount of photos of what you ate that day is unnecessary. There's even a humorous plugin, Unbaby.me, that turns photos of babies into photos of cool stuff like bacon and puppies. Don't make your friends resort to using that plugin. Be conscious of how many personal photos you share.
Using foul language
Think about who your Facebook friends and Twitter followers are. You probably have at least a few family members, co-workers and professional contacts with whom you’d like to continue a professional relationship. Dropping a curse word casually on your social pages wipes all notions of professionalism from your reputation. Gottman puts it simply: “You should never post anything you wouldn’t want your boss or your children to see.” You don’t want to disappoint Grandma when she logs on and sees that you have a mouth like a sailor, do you?
Online feuding
People fight. It’s a fact of life. But those fights don’t need to make it into the online social sphere. That’s just a way for outsiders to get involved or potentially feel uncomfortable. Gottsman is frank: “Disagreements should be handled person to person.” Even a passive-aggressive comment can escalate into a fight, so avoid those as well. For example, Scholnik said, a comment like, “I’m glad I found out who my true friends were last night” should never be handled online, but rather by picking up the phone and having a private conversation. Plus, when the dispute is settled, you don’t want evidence of it lingering. Post advised to remember that everything on social media is public and permanent. “Don’t be seduced by the illusion of privacy,” he said.
Asking for handouts
Falling on hard times has lead to a recent and disturbing social trend of asking for help, whether it be physically, emotionally or financially. Avoid this. Post referred to the personal tier of conversation, regarding family or finances, and noted to never discuss these subjects via social media. If you’re going through a financially hard time, brief your close friends and family on it in person. That way, if they can help, they can let you know offline. There’s no reason to make your social media friends feel awkward if they can’t help at the time, or if they’re frankly not close enough to you to want to know about your financial woes.
Stalking
Just because you’re friends with someone via social media doesn’t mean you should comment on their every online move. Commenting on photos or statuses every once in awhile is nice to show someone you’re interested in their life, but writing something about everything can just get creepy. Smith said that liking or commenting on a friend’s every post and activity comes off as stalker-ish, and Post advised against relentlessly following the same person. This advice goes double for parents interacting with their children online. You may come off as the overeager mom who wants to be involved in her kid’s life, but who just ends up embarrassing them.

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Molly Klinefelter, LAPTOP Assistant Editor
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42 comments
  • Sandy@kidsaversnetwork Says:

    That photograph of "Oversharing" is gold! Thanks:)

  • Yvette Says:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite certain I'll learn many new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the next!

  • ernie Says:

    Over and over pictures of babies and your kids. food recipes. God this and god that.... I will go to church if I want to hear all that... just saying

  • DevilsAdvoc8 Says:

    Maybe it's just me but what I read in this article was "Top 10 reasons people might start unfriending you" Sure, we're all guilty of doing these sorts of things at one point or another. The writer didn't say "If you do all of these things people WILL unfriend you!!" She was just listing things that most people would unfriend you over. I agree with some of her points even thought I, myself, have been guilty of a couple things. Sure, there are some documented facts but at the end of the day, we shouldn't take the internet so seriously. Social media sites were created to be... well... social and everyone has a right to their own opinion on what they feel is creative, funny, political, etc. If you don't like it, don't read it. If it annoys you to the point that you need to unfriend someone, so be it. These were just meant to give a heads up on what can be annoying to some people. Jumping on the writer of this article doesn't do anyone any good however, you are all entitled to your own opinions. This is the circle of virtual life.

  • lkk Says:

    Oh Jeez - should have said "their" not "there"...grammar police alert...insert siren sound as we round the bend for the next list of things "not to do" on social media, forgetting about all of the smartphone flaws. Forgive me, I've sinned in the social media world by inserting the wrong spelling :(

  • lkk Says:

    LOL...LMBO - cliche enough? Now we must abide by "the rules" of social media. For crying out loud, social smart people have two pages and the point is, it is there page. These "what to do, wear, not do, not wear" posts are getting on my last nerve and I should know by now..duh..It's a social media page reflecting the person, what's next, brain implants to make what people do (non criminal of course) socially palatable for everyone else? SMH...I'll go stalk someone now..

  • ben Says:

    What a bunch of crap! Follow these rules and turn FB into another bland, milktoast, politically correct and totally boring place. Now children, let's all get in line and make sure no one colors outside of the lines...

  • christi Says:

    If you adhere to these rules, your content would be so boring I wouldn't follow you anyway.

  • Al in SoCal Says:

    Love love love the "asking for handouts" pic. It's from "Coming to America" but really a shout-out to Trading Places from the 80's.

    The quote is "Randolph, we're back in business!!" as Don Ameche tells his brother and business partner Ralph Bellamie (both unfortunately have since passed away) after Eddie Murphy donates his pocket cash of about $10K to them on the park bench.

  • anon Says:

    Facebook is fair game. Whatever you post in there, people can comment on it anytime even if you don't like what they said.

    I added someone on FB that I really want to unfriend now, but instead, I just hid that person's updates from my timeline and secured my profile so that person can't see my posts. Said person already has an "X" from me and also like that offline: major douchebag.

  • Lisa Says:

    I think these types of social medias are part of the decline of American Society today. I recently got a Facebook account just to see what heppens. I get former classmates who friend me &amp; then don't talk to me at all In chat. And some who tell me they consider their former classmates only "aquaintances" &amp; just use Facebook to see what everyone Is doing. My question is why even friend me on Facebook If you don't consider us friends? They don't want to even talk, they just say go see my facebook page. I don't want to just go over &amp; read their page, I want to talk to them &amp; actually see how they are doing. The whole Facebook forum, IMHO Is narcissistic. People do OVER SHARE by posting loads of pics of themselves just about everyday doing YOU NAME IT. BUT at the same time they don't want anything to do with you personally. I find it rather sad &amp; disappointing &amp; won't be keeping my Facebook account either. It's all just very shallow to me &amp; people just post there to say, "Look at me."

  • Jason Says:

    I don't get this. These aren't faux pas, these are just different personality types. If someone does one of these, then they are just being themselves. If someone is going to unfriend them over it, then good riddens. Let them have friends who like them just the way they are. Is this article supposed to teach people how to act like someone else to get more friends? Very strange.

  • mpele Says:

    When someone unfriends me, I take it as a sign that that's not the type of person I want to associate with anyway. Who would want a "friend" who would ditch you over something so stupid? Life's too short.

  • Jennifer Says:

    Social abilities in this Country have gotten to be abolute. Stop pointing fingers and blame on women for your problems. race , gender and alptitude of social graces are no longer. Whom do we blame.

    OURSELVES .... point the finger back at you and don't expect someone whom is being discriminated against or being judged by gang like mentality ppl or popular people by society to clean up ur crap. Be productive work together then avoid the burden of strife and love one another as intended.

    discrimination and hatred comes in many forms as well as social parallels. We are supposed to act accordingly with obedience to your own emotional safety and dignity.

    too much anger in this Country.

  • eiaboca Says:

    This whole thing is ridiculous. Behavior police are the worst. Be yourself on your own social networking page. I'm on it to connect with my friends and family and coworkers (sometimes, but there are other places for professional contact), not to get a job or... I don't know, interview for new friendships. If I want to post pictures of my baby or my dog, I'm going to. If someone is posting something I don't like, I just don't read it! If something is hateful, violent, or misogynistic, yes I will unfriend someone---and I'm glad to know it about them. But if they are posting what they want to on their page, their political opinions or religious affiliation, so what? Nothing is ever going to change in society if you don't talk about real issues. Man, this article is infuriating.It seems like the the authors want a world with nothing but blandness.

  • Dusty Daisy Says:

    Facebook is a lot of fun for me. I don't mind if people un friend me because I broke one of their rules. I love posting pictures, and yakking about all manner of things. I try to connect with decent people. Closed groups are more flexible with the occasional cuss word. I hate the "neener neener" mentality when it shows up. I'm there for a good time, and that's about it.

  • Angel Says:

    THANK YOU Snipe...! Finally! If you don't like what I have to say, or my posting pics of my son and dog irritate you, then UN-FRIEND ME! You aren't a "real friend" anyway! And if you are so bold as to feel you can tell people how to live THEIR lives and and tell them what they should or shouldn't on THEIR own fb page, then at least be grammatically correct when you do it!

  • Greg Says:

    Kaleb, I respectfully disagree with you, at least in part. While you do have a right to drop the F-Bomb as an adverb or adjective, a noun-modifier - using it as a verb followed by "you" should actually result in banning permanently from whatever page it's used on. To say nothing of the fact that it is very revealing about the person using it as a way to end discussion on an intelligent level.

  • Kaylee Says:

    People taking the time to argue on-line about Facebook? Way too much time on your hands. No one changes anyone's thoughts.

  • Jenny Says:

    Posting things that are racist or sexist doesn't make you look ignorant. Ignorant means you don't know any better. Posting that stuff makes you look stupid. Which means you know better and you do it anyway. There is nothing wrong with ignorance other than the fact that people who actually need to learn a few things. People who are stupid need to shut up. I think that's really what you meant with the Mel Gibson picture.

  • Bethany Says:

    I think most people missed the point of this article. Yes, Facebook is a social media site with very few limitations, but that does not mean that we should not have a social media code of conduct. This article was simply stating that these actions in excess can be very annoying for your Facebook friends and make you look bad. Also since potential employers are more likely to scope out your Facebook page it is better to put your best face forwar and sidestep any social media blunders. Notice how the author commented that many of the actions are perfectly acceptable among close friends. Besides this article is called 10 Unfriendable mistakes. Lighten up people!

  • Digrpat Says:

    I'm guilty of just one, posting numerous pictures of my kids. Consider it content creation which is bundled into albums rather than individual assaults on the newsfeed.

  • John Says:

    Though technically I have a Facebook account, I don't use it, and have told friends/acquaintances; "I don't do Facebook."
    They try to convince me of its value, showing me pics of their kids who just did "the cutest thing," Shirt-tale relative at a family reunion; reposted "quote of the day," all of which serve to further entrench my resistance and distaste for social media.... Facebook in particular.

  • Dan Says:

    @Michele....You spelled "avalanche" incorrectly. LOL.

  • Christopher Chance Says:

    Facebook is a blight on Society. Most of the posts are from self centereed ego centric individuals with too much time on their hands. However, this is America and we do have the right to express ourseleves as we see fit. If you don't like it just don't create a page. On the more positive side it does give people with OCD/ADHD something to do.

  • Don Beck Says:

    Wait... Please wait... The Protocol School of Texas????? My head hurts.

  • Mick S Says:

    I've been unfriended exactlyonce, by a guy who couldn't really answer a political question I asked in a comment on his post. He said his grossly inadequate &amp; not well thought out piece, then quickly defriended me before I could reply. Since my politics are centrist, I normally get along with even the hardline right or left. Of course, I don't post pix of what I eat or if I have a perfect BM. lol

  • Katie Says:

    ...and these reasons are why I quit facebook. I got tired of political rants ( both left and right ) and I really got tired of the racist and sexist updates ... I think people will say things on facebook that they wouldn't say otherwise because they like to provoke, and feel that facebook offers some sort of safety. Iinstead of defriending some people, I defriended everyone and left. I couldn't be happier, now if someone wants me to know something they have to email me, call me etc ... the contact is friendlier and far more meaningful and it's with real honest to god friends, not the meaningless stuff you get on facebook. Let's be honest, not everyone you friend on facebook is really your friend.

  • Michele Says:

    of scolding That's mean &amp; not friendly

  • Michele Says:

    It didn't seem to me that the writer was simply listing her own personal views. She had quotes from reputable sources; a social media expert, an etiquette expert, etc. The title was Top Ten Unfriendable Mistakes. I took this to mean that these are the behaviors that are most likely to cause your friends to unfriend you. I actually have heard in conversation these very objections articulated as causes for unfriending. They are not just personal opinions &amp; complaints of some lone battle-axe bitch. They are true. People do, indeed, unfriend &amp; then later, tell people why they have done this. Many people other than the writer share these objections. However, had I been writing the article,I might have commented on the Top Twelve. I might have mentioned "The Editor", the one who has nothing to say about anything, their sole purpose being to point out all errors of spelling, grammar, punctuation &amp; typos.Sometimes it seems to me that the internet is absolutely crawling with the type of anal-retentive English teachers we all hated in grade school. Another type missed : "The Abuser", someone who is there to launch a barrage of personal attacks &amp; an avalache

  • DaddyR Says:

    This just makes me want to check my facebook..

  • SatiristMessiah Says:

    snipenekid is right, this article and susan are tools and know nothing of being a good "friend" Its a social website and your telling people not to be social or leading people to think something is wrong for them if they done these things. Grow up and come back when your brain is fully grown if ever at all.

  • smithy Says:

    why should anyone care what anyone from this shitty web site thinks? what is it that we're supposed to post online? pics of the burrito we're about to devour. if i don't like someone's post, i either ignore it or comment. if someone doesn't like mine they're free to do the same, or unfriend me. i don't give a sh*t.

  • Kaleb Says:

    What do you mean you can't curse? Don't Facebook friend someone who can't take you being you. If you want to drop the "F-bomb," drop it. If you don't want grandma to see it, don't have your grandma as a Facebook friend!

  • Tonym Says:

    Snipenekid, while I agree with you, you come off as preachy and bitchy, lol.

  • sillyxander Says:

    Nope sorry Susan, snipenekidd is right. The author of this post is wrong. While Snipenekidd took the time explain why they felt the article was wrong all you did was personally attack him. That is annoying if you don't like what they said then try to act like a grown up and argue like they did.

    Snipenekidd you are completely right.

  • susan Says:

    Snipenekkid, you are very annoying.

  • snipenekkid Says:

    And the NUMBER ONE UN-FRIENDABLE GAFF....run around the web passing of self egrandizing tripe telling others how to act and that expressing normal human emotions and instincts will cause their exclusion from your clubhouse branding them a social pariah. That's right play upon the basic fears all people have to one degree or another. Us fear to position yourself as "a helper". I mean talk about the height of arrogance who the heck are you to tell others how to conduct themselves among their social peers and groups? Should those groups not be self regulating? Should people who are indeed friends accept anyone for who they are not who they demand the be? I guess fair &amp; balanced is no longer a mantra in today's media or what passes as news.

    People like the author of this article are what is WRONG with this PC world...do everything in a milquetoast-esque manner, express nothing beyind banal platitudes and never, ever...ever...say anything true or real.

    I mean good gawd woman, using your own measuring stick for online conduct, you are the height of moving the immature high school "Mean Girl" mob mentality to the web. Get off your cotton pony, pop a fist full of Midol plus whatever "Happy Pills" you get from your doc to render you emotionally impotent and grow the heck up.

    Feel free to unfriend me...based on your article you are nobody's true friend to begin with as you consider yourself aas sitting in judgement of your fellow man for acting in a fashion which makes you uncomfortable and perhaps causes you to question your own inner demons and insecurities. Allow others the freedom to be human and lean on those who claim friendship in whatever fashion they can to express emotions and to help them feel safe in trusting those friends with those emotions. True friends listen and help each other through the rough patches and don't converse via those insincere platitudes devoid of real meaning or substance which is what you are advocating in your article. Many next time consider addressing the true issue here and encourage each of us to be more understanding and considerate of those we call friends when they are in need of our support in whatever way we can provide it. Life is too short to conduct ourselves otherwise.

  • Dawn Says:

    I don't get it! What is the purpose of Facebook then? =P

  • Janelle Says:

    Apparently my on-line friends are extremely tolerant, cuz I consistently do enough of these things to be annoying. ;) Then again, a lot of my Facebook friends are guilty as well, so maybe that has something to do with me not being de-friended by everyone I know!

  • Chris Says:

    I now have 10 new ways to piss people off?! WOO HOO!

  • Kate Says:

    You wrote: "Falling on hard times has lead to a recent and disturbing social trend of asking for help, whether it be physically, emotionally or financially."

    You have misused the word: "lead" should be "led".