Researchers review psychological effects of unfriending

While this might not be the most groundbreaking news you've ever heard, it does shine a light to the state of our online relationships. Mostly the fact that we consider them relationships. Turns out, the more you use Facebook, the more likely you are to ruminate and become depressed when someone unfriends you.

Researchers at Chapman University published a study in Computers in Human Behavior in which they looked at the psychological reactions to unfriending on social networks.

Again, most of this isn't shocking stuff: the closer you are (in real life — sorry: IRL) to the person who unfriended you matters, as does knowing who unfriended you (rather than just noticing you have fewer friends). And, the big one: it matters who sent the friend request in the first place.

"Intense Facebook usage may mean that users are particularly invested in their relationships with their Facebook friends and thus may respond with greater rumination and negative emotion when they lose one of these friends, which compromises how they are presenting themselves and being perceived by others online," the researchers concluded.

Weirdly, people experienced worse emotional pain when the reason they were unfriended was because of something that happened on Facebook, rather than in the offline world. There isn't an explanation given for this, and I honestly can't think of one myself. Simply put, I suppose, some people are investing more time into online relationships than real, offline ones.

Again, none of this is particularly shocking. But that doesn't make it easier to swallow.

Via ReadWriteWeb

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