Stop peeing on my friends!
July 31, 2014 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to hide all activity generated by another Facebook user without actually blocking that user? Details inside.

I don't want to see any of my mom's activity on Facebook. I know how to hide posts from the newsfeed, but her posts are not the problem. What I really want is to not see any of her "likes" or comments.

My mother and I have a difficult relationship. Basically, she has no boundaries.

She has friended all of my closest friends on Facebook, and she constantly "likes" their posts and makes comments on them. (There are other issues vis-a-vis boundaries, but my question chiefly concerns Facebook).

I've realized that I can't make her stop. I just don't want to see her activity on my friends' posts, because it upsets me almost every time.

I don't think blocking her is the solution. I understand that blocking would make it so that I don't see her activity, but I don't want to cause any drama. I'm fine if she sees my stuff; I just don't want to see her stuff.

Is there a way to hide all activity generated by a certain user without blocking them? Sort of a one-way block where I cannot see her at all but without alerting her to this fact? I have combed Google and Ask MeFi but I could not find an answer to this.

I'm in therapy to help me deal with my feelings about my relationship with my mom, but in the meantime I just wonder if there's a practical way to hide her Facebook activity so I can visit my friends' posts without getting upset.
posted by hand-knit sock to Human Relations (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think "unfollowing" would accomplish most but not all of this. Click on the downward facing arrow in the top right of one of her posts and click "unfollow". It should prevent any of her activity (incl her comments on other people's public posts) from appearing in your newsfeed. However, you would still be able to see her activity on your friend's posts, unless you unfollowed them too.

The only real solution to completely avoid seeing anything she does is to block her, or to ask your friends to change their privacy settings so that posts they make cannot be seen by her (which is easy to do, and does not require them to block her).
posted by modernnomad at 1:48 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you tried the unfollow option? I'm not sure if you'd have to unfollow her and the victim/friend to get it to work though.

I, personally, would use the block option and then blame any fallout on Facebook and the complexity of computers: Mom: "Did you block me!? GRARWR!" You: "No, of course not mother dearest! I've been having problems with Facebook, they keep changing the settings and how the news feed works, and for some reason some people are hidden but then they randomly show up and I have no idea what they are doing over there, there've been some articles on gawker and stuff about it, I can't figure it out....yadda yadda yadda.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:50 PM on July 31, 2014 [13 favorites]

Best answer: If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. If you block her, it's not like she's notified. Just block her and say nothing.

Or get off Facebook for awhile. Lots of people take vacations from it. "It's an awful lot for me right now, so I'm getting away from it for the time being."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

I usually don't advocate lying but playing "Facebook ignorant" where parents are involved is sometimes the only option.
posted by pearlybob at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd go ahead and block her, and as melissasaurus suggests you can blame facebook if there's any fallout.

I've blocked my brother-in-law; honestly, I don't think he's even noticed. I still see his comments on mutual 'friends' posts, but that's about it. (I once un-friended him, and that he did notice..... "oh gee golly, I have no idea how that could've happened; but heehee, you know how klutzy I am with computers! Here, let me re-friend you again right now." But he kept up --- heck, increased --- the behavior that was driving me nuts; it must be 2-3 years now since I blocked him, and not a peep of complaint.)
posted by easily confused at 1:58 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are your friends aware of your issues with her? If they are and are also sympathetic, you could ask them to set their posting settings so all their posts are hidden from your Mom. I had to reset my posting settings to exclude a friend who kept picking fights in the comments with other friends. Once the setting is in-place, it becomes the default for all posts unless you undo it.
posted by quince at 2:06 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Easily confused has unfollowed, but not blocked. Blocking means you won't see any evidence of the person's existence on FB, even on the threads of mutual friends.
posted by Brittanie at 2:06 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ask your friends to unfriend her or put her on a "restricted" list so that she can only see & comment on their public posts. Unfollowing her won't hide her comments or likes. It might make it so that Facebook doesn't specifically present those to you in your feed, but presumably you still want to see your friends' posts that she's commenting on, and those will be in your feed anyway.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:07 PM on July 31, 2014

Best answer: If you block someone, you should not be seeing their comments at all. I have one person blocked and I know when they have commented because a friend's status says 4 comments, but I open them and only see two. I don't know if they see the same thing when I comment, but it would be interesting to know.

If you unfollow someone, you will still see their comments on a mutual friend's posts. This is what the OP is asking to avoid.

Can you make a new account and friend only the people she has also befriended and then block her from that account? Then you could unfollow (not block) those close friends from your original account. You might want to keep up appearances by interacting with your close friends on your original account sometimes. If you did that, she may still see weird things like people commenting in reply to something you wrote that she can't see. If they call you by name in the reply, that would be even weirder.
posted by soelo at 2:13 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can reduce the number of postings that you see of someone by turning them into an acquaintance.

To do this, go to their timeline, click on the "Friends" button floating in their cover picture and select "Acquaintances". A tick-mark will appear next to the menu option.

It won't remove every single post (as Facebook will occasionally show you an update it thinks is important) but the never-ending deluge of likes, memes and pointless other status updates will be hidden from you.

I've got about 5 people set up this way and now I can go for weeks without seeing something they've done. Bliss!
posted by mr_silver at 2:32 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, to reiterate, the problem is not her posts in my newsfeed.

The problem is that she interacts with my friends -- a lot -- and so when I go to look at my friends' posts, 9 times out of 10 she has beat me to it.

When I see that she has commented on my friends updates before I've gotten a chance to -- which she does all the time -- I just feel incredibly deflated and sad. I don't want to feel like I'm in competition with my mom. I also don't want to be associated with her in peoples' minds at all, really, but what can I do? The most I can hope for is just to stop being constantly reminded of her existence.

Unfollowing her, or demoting her to Acquaintance, does nothing to hide her comments on my friends' posts. She has especially chosen my closest friends to comment on all the time, more than she comments on my posts, even.

The only way I know of to avoid seeing her likes/comments, would be to block her entirely.

The suggestion to have my friends hide their activity from her would theoretically work, but I don't feel comfortable asking that of my friends.
posted by hand-knit sock at 2:50 PM on July 31, 2014

Best answer: I don't think that it's unreasonable to ask your friends to put her on a restricted list. If one of my friends came to me with that request and I wasn't close to the other person, I would have no problems putting them onto a restricted list. Believe me, your emotional well-being is important to your friends! It's not out of line to make a simple request that will just take a few seconds of their time.
posted by Ostara at 3:26 PM on July 31, 2014 [9 favorites]

Best answer: One thing you might want to consider: do your friends like her commenting on their stuff? They might find her behavior weird and irksome, too, but also feel like they have to be polite and avoid blocking her for your sake. They might appreciate being told that you're totally cool with them taking steps to block her.

I mean, would you want some mother-of-a-friend you didn't really know commenting on all your posts?
posted by meese at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2014 [23 favorites]

Best answer: I would bet that many of your friends are FB friends with her as a [misguided] courtesy to you. I'm friends with the parents of some of my friends and it's not because we have a great friendship for the ages, it's because I accepted friend requests from them out of deference to my friend. I wouldn't hesitate to unfriend or block the parent if my friend were to tell me that it's a problem for them due to unhealthy boundaries. I'm sure your friends have noticed that she's very overinvolved in their FB lives.
posted by quince at 4:59 PM on July 31, 2014 [21 favorites]

I realize you have a difficult relationship with your mom, but me and my siblings have told my mom to cool it with commenting on our friends' stuff. Not in a mean way or a "we need to talk" way. We just kind of tease her and joke around that she doesn't really understand Facebook and she shouldn't comment on everything single thing we do or our friends do. We've asked her to please stick to communicating with us through email and on the phone since Facebook is a very public medium. She's gotten the message and it's not a big deal. Sometimes she'll check with us to ask if she can share something or tag us, which we really appreciate since she doesn't "get" the boundaries all the time. She is the type of person who isn't worried about posting her whole social life, which is fine for her, but she now understands that's not what we want.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:39 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

What you want to do is block the user, and I don't see that Facebook is going to give you a way to do this beyond blocking them - which is, after all, exactly what you want to do. You want to avoid drama, but you are going through a lot of drama now. Block her. If she complains, make noises about fucking Facebook and what the hell is wrong with their stupid privacy system it's so confusing and tech support is no help blah blah blah.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:37 AM on August 1, 2014

Can you just go facebook free for a bit? The alternatives are that you block your mom or ask your friends to limit her access/unfriend her... Blocking her means you will face either a confrontation or an inquisition, or be put in a position to lie. Asking your friends to limit her access makes her a part of your conversation with your friends, which gives your mom even more attention. It seems like an awful lot of work to deal with something that you really can't control, ultimately.

If facebook is just something you look at to keep tabs on people and post occasionally, you should consider deactivating your account.
posted by hippychick at 2:07 PM on August 1, 2014

Does your mom have Facebook friends of her own? Lately the sorting algorithm has been serving up "recently contacted" people quite aggressively, and I've found it all too easy to accidentally be a bit over-involved with certain "friends" simply because they show up so much on the main page (which then turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy of Facebook deciding we must just adore one another since we interact so much). While I agree that your friends would probably be perfectly happy to take a minute and just block her, quietly encouraging her to cultivate new Facebook "relationships" may also help.
posted by teremala at 2:30 PM on August 1, 2014

I post comments on my FB page a lot, mostly to articles that come in through the news feed. Those comments, I suppose, go out to anyone who has "friended" me - I guess that's how it works since I get comments sent to others who are on my "friends" list. The thing is, though, many of these "friends" I didn't invite or initiate contact with - most of them are friends of my son's or my granddaughter's who, possibly just out of courtesy, thought they had to friend me. The comments I post on my news feed are liberal and then some - I have no hesitation about calling Michelle Bachmann an idiot, for instance - and so some of these "friends" may be offended by what I say.

So - should I watch my comments and try harder to be nice? I don't think so. If anyone is offended by my comments, all they have to do is block or unfriend me - honestly, that will be fine and won't hurt my feelings at all since I know it's my political leanings that are responsible - it's not that I've been rude or hurtful to anyone in particular. In fact, I had to block a very dear young friend because she and her husband have joined the pro-big-gun/Obama's gonna call in the Muslims and destroy all the patriotic Americans bunch. I just couldn't handle that diatribe coming into my FB every 15 minutes, so I blocked her. Now I go to her page maybe twice a week and check to be sure she's okay and happy and then I go back home to my page and peace - and the left.

If your friends are getting your Mom's comments and don't want them, all they have to do is quietly block her - she won't know and therefore she won't be hurt. You can do the same thing - just block her comments and then pop into her FB once a day or so (or once a week/month if you want) and check on her from a welfare standpoint. You shouldn't have to be irritated by her comments, but she should be free to say what she's thinking, too - so the answer's pretty easy - just block her. If I were you I'd send out a little note to my friends on their e-mail or someplace other than FB and mention that IF they'd prefer to do without the incoming from your Mom they should feel free to block her - no worries.

Seems like the easiest solution to me.
posted by aryma at 12:50 AM on August 2, 2014

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