Clear Cut(ting) Patterns and Analogies from the Political World

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

With this process now having entered its 33rd day, the emergence of discernible patterns in my cuts have grown clear. In what is ultimately nothing less than a self-commentary on my conscience, this post is about what I’ve noticed (and includes a bunch of cuts toward the bottom). Take the post with a grain of salt and honestly challenge yourself to make the claim that you would employ more ethical tactics when making cuts. I bet 99 percent of you can’t and at least 1 of you will use this as an excuse to create a false morality play about your own lack of narcissism and altruistic friending patterns.

For me anyway, people who often manage to avoid the axe generally can be grouped into one of the following categories:

-I genuinely like them and maintain a legitimate friendship with them at this point in my life.
-I harbor a certain sense of nostalgia for them (we might have been legitimately close at one point in our lives and there’s no reason to cut them now).
-I feel sympathy for them for any number of reasons.
– I fear they will think I cut them because they possessed a trait that would make one feel bad for them.
-I admittedly fear that they never liked me in the first place and that they would use their cut as a means to galvanize public opinion in their current social orbits against me.
-I find their status updates interesting.
-They are an unmarried female whose pictures I find attractive.
-They are an FBT.
-They are in a branch of the armed forces.
-They have expressed an appreciation for or even just an awareness of the blog in one form or another.
-They are related to my girlfriend

Predictably, people who get cut very often fit into one of the above category’s logical opposites. It’s also not uncommon for an individual to be cut, however, who fits into one of the non-cut categories, but doesn’t fit into another. For instance, tonight I cut my freshman year roommate, who I like and still talk to. I cut him, however, because he essentially doesn’t ever post on facebook, nor does he post photos or potentially relevant contact information. Thus, he serves no function for me on the site and since our relationship is not at all facebook-oriented, I’ll continue to call him. And won’t feel bad about cutting him.

The downside of all this is that a whole lot of perfectly decent folks get cut who, very loosely (and unfairly) can be classified as matching one or more of the following descriptors: emotionally secure, professionally unspectacular, average looking, not power hungry/dangerous, quiet, or part of an industry that I’ll never get into (LOTS of engineers have been getting the axe of late). I suppose a political scientist might view these cuts as being part of the vast and often forgotten “facebook middle.”

The political observer in me speculates that in my attempt to make myself feel better about my sense of self/maintain a conscience, I keep around a lot of people who I (admittedly rather arrogantly) feel “need me,” as if my facebook identity is akin to some paternalistic social media safety net for the struggling, ugly, or unable. Meanwhile, I don’t quite have the balls to drop a lot of the power players either. So even though they might be lending their skills toward the creation of exotic financial instruments that bankrupt the taxpayer, I’m standing idly by as their political pal and this is akin to providing them with massive bailouts under the fear that if I didn’t, they’d run a hard-line shill against me in the next election and use the blog’s words in a distorted way to make me look like a cruel proponent of de-friending.

And while I have moments of self-doubt about being embroiled in the seedy underworld of de-friending, I also realize, like all politicians, that this is the arena I’ve entered and I’m going to have to deal with the consequences, some of which will lead to the creation of both enemies and alliances with various special interests. Sometimes, altruism or principled leadership will come into play (and like politicians, I’ll be sure to roll out an epic p.r. campaign to make what is probably a fairly token form of boldness appear transformative), but at the end of the day, most decisions are tactical and play to the mood of your constituents. And with that, I present you with a handful of the perfectly decent folks who I had to cut over the few days. Just like America’s middle class, these good people got screwed.

A former star guard on my high school’s girls basketball team, a super chill printmaking major who I spent an enjoyable car ride with on the way to a Jewish sorority’s annual Valentine’s Day bash at a bowling alley three years ago and haven’t really spoken to since, the bar that everyone went to on Tuesday night’s in college (yup, it had a facebook profile), a childhood acquaintance’s mom who’s a prominent realtor in my hometown, a teacher with a strange last name, only one of a pair of twins from childhood, one of the greatest high school football stars I’ve ever seen (also an essentially non-existent facebook profile), a middle school buddy who could have been a great high school football star if he weren’t hobbled by injuries, and a really unique girl who I did the carnival play with in college and who worked at a sex shop throughout college.

Goodbye, gang.

Somehow I still have 256 people left to cut. And, by my original timeline, only 17 days to do it. Keep following on twitter @500fewerfriends, leaving your comments, and spreading the word.

  1. frogger says:

    I’m definitely falling into that 99%.

    It sounds like the shorthand for the people you are NOT cutting would be “people who might care.” In that sense, it’s primarily aversion to social, economic, or personal retribution that is driving the cuts, right? More or less? I don’t blame you, in fact, that is why I fall into that 99% you mentioned.

    On the other hand, the most interesting posts thus far have been the ones with feedback (like the fake fraternity brother comment). I’m sure you’re well aware of this, since it’s a common theme in your posts.

    So, here’s my bit of unsolicited advice — start cutting randomly. Purely random cuts (Use a random number generator, if you like). See who actually cares and writes back, and see who you thought would care but truly doesn’t mind bit. The feedback will make for good material; if you really are friends with a cut, they will re-friend you (or vice versa) and they won’t mind too much.

    Give it a shot for one round and see what happens.

    Lastly, keep up the posts — loving it.

  2. darrell johnson says:


    love this post. it takes balls to not only admit how shallow you are, but also to call out 99% of the blog’s readers for being equally shallow, yet in denial about it.

    i have also come to the realization – via both knowing you personally and reading the blog – that you should become familiar with the “single-serving friend”, and why he doesn’t belong on your news feed. this blog and your defriending crusade are attacking the symptom, not the disease. but you will learn soon enough. til then, keep up the good work.

    – mr. johnson

  3. 05dml says:

    I think you should cut your gf’s family. Who cares?

  4. anonymous stumble uponer says:

    You’re great. Your writing style is great. This idea is great. Your angle is great. Thank you for being bold, honest, hilarious, fluid … and human.

  5. A friend posted that she didn’t take up FB suggestion that she friend her therapist’s husband. I said I hadn’t friended my former therapist, but had her children. For how long? My husband lobbed back… Time will tell.

    We’ll still have the blog either way.

    That is, until you finish cutting.

    Terrific post.

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