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5 Facebook Friends You Need to Lose

Updated on July 5, 2014

Can Social Media Fuel Mood Disorders?

Are Facebook depression and social media anxiety getting the best of you?

Social media related depression and anxiety can be the result of envy or overstimulation, but a crucial factor that is often overlooked is the negativity and pessimism that runs out of control on Facebook.

If you're a regular Facebook user, chances are you've experienced it: A friend (or "friend") posts an insensitive, angry, or all-around negative thought that can put a damper on your otherwise good mood.

If you're not careful, negative thoughts may stick and it simmer in your mind, sending you on the road to depression and frustration.


Why Facebook Depression?

They say Facebook affects your mood more than any other social media site.

Like any other social situation, online or in real life, it can have either a positive or negative influence.

It can be tempting to "vent" on social networks when you're having a bad day. I've certainly been guilty of writing purely negative rants that didn't support the mental health of my Facebook friends or myself in any way.

Now, I try my best to keep every post constructive, even if it's about something serious, like political issues or social injustices.

An Amazing Book for Anyone Who Struggles With Depression

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

Many of the simple lessons taught in this book have changed my life for the better.


Negative Thoughts Take Root and Grow Into Depression

Depression always begins with a negative thought . . . and those buggers multiply like rabbits. As Dr. David D. Burns says in his book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy,

". . . the negative thoughts that flood your mind are the actual cause of your self-defeating emotions. These thoughts are what keep you lethargic and make you feel inadequate. Your negative thoughts, or cognitions, are the most frequently overlooked symptoms of your depression. These cognitions contain the key to relief and are therefore your most important symptoms."

So when a friend posts a negative thought, they are quite literally increasing your risk of depression. Even though it's not intentional, they set you on a path to negativity and a poor frame of mind.

Great Books for Positive Thinking

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions
The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

Self-compassion is vital if you want to enjoy life and be kind to others. This book helps you to respond to negative thoughts in a constructive way.


Should You Keep Your Feelings Bottled Up?

This doesn't mean that you need to harbor your sad feelings. But if a person isn't part of the solution to your problem, then sharing it with them isn't going to help.

Making a vague announcement into cyberspace would be akin to walking outside and shouting your problems to everyone in the neighborhood.

And that would not be good, even if you are sober.

Chatting with or emailing a friend is a much more effective way to deal when you're feeling down in the dumps. A trusted friend will help you to work through your problems and give you the encouragement you need.

And if you feel you need a friend, first be a friend to others.

So who are these Negative Nellies in your Facebook feed?

You'll probably recognize them as one or more of the following:

(#1) The Nagging Narcissist

The Nagging Narcissist spends most of his time on Facebook doing two things: posting photos of himself and complaining that his life is crap (not that it's any fault of his own).

He is always poor, yet has plenty of money for tattoos, partying, and new clothes. Many of his posts end with the acronym "FML".

(#2) Vague Vanishers

Vague Vanishers always suffer from some mysterious issue. A Vague Vanisher causes a significant amount of stress by throwing a bone out there, then ignoring all pleas for further explanation.

"I don't know how much more I can take."

"I can't believe this has happened to me!"

"Please pray!"

Pray for what? A good night's sleep? A sick child? A benign tumor? You'll never know because she won't answer the list of commenters asking for an explanation.

Wisdom From the Young 'Uns

(#3) The Passive-Aggressive Pest

This is the friend who is always talking to some terrible individual that exists somewhere "out there".

Who is this terrible person who is ruining lives? Will he tell us?

We should be warned!

But no: the villain remains a mystery.

Posts always say something like, "I should have known better than to trust you, you took my heart and crushed it to pieces" or "Some people only want to use you, then throw you away like yesterday's garbage."

Passive-aggressive types don't want to confront people in real life, so they spew venom out into cyber-space for the rest of us to endure.

What do you think?

How do YOU deal with Facebook negativity?

See results

(#4) The Meme Maniac

Memes and e-cards are funny ways to display funny statements or positive quotations.

And who doesn't love LolCats?

But as a knife can be used to slice bread or kill a person, a meme can be used to give you a chuckle or tear you down.

A meme that says, "Say what you mean or shut the f*** up" (a gem I saw in my feed the other day) isn't uplifting or helpful to friends.

There's even a Facebook group that specializes in memes that stay in the "I don't care what you think" spirit (and there's an F-bomb in the title). The group doesn't care what anyone thinks of them, and they take time out of their schedules to create memes reminding everyone of this fact.

(#5) The Political Patronizer

These status updates usually begin with "Ummm" followed by remarks containing the words "idiots," "liberals," "tea-baggers" and the like. There's no call to action, no desire for change, just a rant that says they're smarter than everyone else because of their political beliefs.

Don't feed the trolls!
Don't feed the trolls! | Source

Have a Negative Facebook Friend? Be Proactive

If you find that a Facebook friend consistently brings you down, either (a) hide their status updates or (b) unfriend them. There is no need to keep negativity in your life.

If you don't want to hurt the friend's feelings or cause any unnecessary drama in your life, simply hide their updates and you never need to read their rants again. Simply hover your arrow over the upper-right corner of their status update and click the arrow that appears. Choose "hide" from the drop down menu, then click "Hide all stories from {friend's name}".

But if you don't do either of these things, remember to stay positive and keep a proper perspective as you scroll through their negativity. And whatever you do, don't feed the trolls!

Strike Back: Neutralize the Negative

Regular status updates that uplift and inspire may not get a lot of attention, but they will send positive messages to your Facebook friends and help improve the overall climate. You never know: you might just share a message that someone needs in order to protect them from Facebook depression.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      I didn't know you could hide status updates - useful tool. I recently unfriended someone who has been bringing me down for a long time, and I feel great about it! Great Hub, voted up.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Hezekiah, a clean-up is always helpful. I have very few Facebook "friends" compared to most people. I like to clear a few out every now and then. Thanks for your comment!

      LOL, shin_rocka! "FML I forgot my umbrella!" That drives me crazy. It's true we all complain now and then, but I think the ways in which we word things makes a big difference. You can make people laugh or think, or you can send out a "negativity virus" that will bring everybody down. Thanks for stopping by!

      Right on, suzettenaples, ignore or unfriend. It's great that most of your Fb friends are positive people--that says a lot about you! Thanks for your comment :)

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Brett. I closed my account for about seven or eight months a while back, but it's such an easy way for me to share photos of my little one that I was sucked back into the vortex. LOL

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Good hub! I enjoyed reading this. I take what I see on Facebook with a grain of salt and I ignore the negative or the opinions I disagree with. I think it is important in who you choose as your friends on Facebook. Mine are usually upbeat and positive. Just a suggestion: Get rid of or unfriend the negative ones.

    • shin_rocka04 profile image

      shin_rocka04 4 years ago from Maryland

      Yes! Love this post. A lot of the time if it's someone too negative I just use the hide news feed feature. I don't have to clean my list. I'll do that in an extreme case. There's nothing worse to look at constant status updates saying "FML..I lost a comb...FML I forgot my umbrella." Nothing wrong with complaining every now and again. But if it's trivial stuff (first world problems on a regular basis), that says a lot about your character. In the grand scheme of things, there are people out there that wish they can have the "problems" you talk about. Great hub! Definitely sharing, voting up, and pinning.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Far two negativity within my Facebook friends. I have never even met many, just friends of friends. I need to have a spring clean up.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      A very interesting take on Facebook. You are right, it causes strong emotions. For me, it irritated the hell out of me lol. Hence the account closure. I can definitely see where you are coming from and your suggestions are good ones. People do like to vent online and with texts ... kinda odd to me, but I guess it gets it out.

      Shared, pinned, up, useful and tweeted.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Ugh. The political stuff drives me crazy! It's one thing if you're sharing something that educates and inspires people, but random rants just bring everyone down and encourage arguments. Thanks for your comment, Stephanie :)

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      During this last election, I deleted quite a few people. I'm with you, I can't stand the negativity on Facebook. If I can't delete them, I hide them. Vague posts bothers me, if you don't want to tell people what is wrong in your life then don't post anything at all. Great hub! :)

    • Vista15 profile image

      Tiana Dreymor 4 years ago from Columbus, OH

      Well, I KNEW what the F was, but I just could not put that together with MY life... It's too good! Haha... Thanks.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Well, I'll tell you the ML stands for "my life" and the F? I'll let you put the pieces together. Hahah!

      Ignoring is usually the best thing to do when you're on Facebook. Skimming is a must, and so is deleting!

      Thanks for stopping by, Vista!

    • Vista15 profile image

      Tiana Dreymor 4 years ago from Columbus, OH

      What is FML...? head in sand, here.

      I have some I simply ignore... others I delete. I delete SHADOWS (or don't friend them) because, after all, this is FACE book...

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      And I with you, my dear :) PIPO and xoxo to you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PIPO to you, Lizzy!

      I give them a few chances but eventually they are gone from my site if the negativity persists. Life is way too short for me to waste my time on dark clouds and gloom. :)

      That's why I hang with you, Sunshine!