How do I delete a (very) attractive male friend off Facebook?
November 24, 2016 3:50 PM   Subscribe

An unusually good-looking male MA graduate classmate and I friended each other in RL + FB b/c we're in the same graduate class over the next year. We've worked on projects together, and have quite a bit in common. In the beginning - there was definitely attraction going on (esp for him). I felt he was very attracted to me b/c of my life experience, or that I don't pander to him like his younger female friends. He's also 22, I'm 38. In recent weeks, I've felt the age difference and his immaturity in certain issues show up, which I thought would be a good deterrent. The good news is I do not want to date him, nor do I see anything long-term if anything was to happen. But I'm struggling b/c I fear really hurting his feelings... yet I see him every week at school, so I don't know how to take him off?

I have other single male friends on my FB (even tho I'm not attracted to them), so it would be hard for me to justify TO him deleting him. (e.g: only having partnered or work colleague males) I think he will be very hurt if I take him off, as I do value his friendship - and am recognizing that this is MY problem that I'm attracted to him. At the same token... I'm also a recovering Sex/love addict - and I've seen my pattern that I do stalk his page occasionally as he easily gets friends + connections than myself (I'm shorter, older, heavier), AND he's constantly around women (or that they try to seduce him) which makes me jealous. But this is obviously ridiculous since we're not dating or an item. I honestly feel he's an unaware sex addict as well, and that his behaviors I see online triggers a lot for me, as they are behaviors I used to do and/or cannot do anymore.

This sounds like a real asinine question and I'm sure there are tons more problems in the world than what I'm posing, so I sincerely apologize ahead of time for this. If anyone has any suggestions on how to handle this situation, have had experience (or maybe shed awareness where I'm not seeing), I'd -really- appreciate it. Thank you.
posted by sam3cat to Human Relations (10 answers total)

You can 'unfollow' him without deleting him from your facebook friends list. This means that you won't see the content that he posts (unless you specifically check his profile). He won't know that you have done this.

To unfollow, click the cheveron in the top right hand corner of any of his posts. The second option down will allow you to unfollow.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:58 PM on November 24, 2016 [26 favorites]

Can you unfollow him so his stuff doesn't show up in your news feed, and he doesn't know about it? Unfriending him isn't going to prevent you from seeing him every week, or from stalking his online presence in other ways, but it may stir up unnecessary drama.
posted by grouse at 3:59 PM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

You don't owe anyone fb friendship and vice versa. I don't take unfriending personally and I will unfriend people for any reason I see fit.

If you unfriend him and he gets upset in person, this means he is a man baby, but there are any number of explanations you can use, and if the full or partial truth is a poor idea I do like the now socially acceptable "I decided to pare down my friends list to close friends only" reason.
posted by MillMan at 4:18 PM on November 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

Not asinine at all. I'm not on FB but have had something like that happen with one of my employees and we were exactly those ages. She was talking about me at home, I heard her end of some jealous phone calls with her husband, my SO actually asked me if I was sleeping with her and customers asked me if she was my wife. We definitely had some visible chemistry. We just really got each other.

We were closing up the store one night, she was counting out the drawer, space behind the counter was tight and my hand accidentally brushed her butt when I was changing the security tape and the smokey look she gave me started an involuntary reaction in my pants. I saw the full extent of the problem so I sat her down and said "Look, I feel it too, but this can't happen."

And poof, it was over. It was just limerence anyway. We stopped thinking about each other like that and she stayed on for three years and we still have an awesome friendship.

Have you tried just talking to him?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:26 PM on November 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

You don't need an excuse to unfriend someone on FB. If you want to cover bases you can just post something like "too many FB friends right now, too busy, trimming the list." And just delete him. How would he know? If he mentions it IRL, just say the same thing. I think unfollowing is good, but only if you won't stalk him (and it kind of sounds like you will). Plus even if you've unfollowed someone they can still like and comment on your posts. Not a clean break at all.
posted by clone boulevard at 4:42 PM on November 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Facebook doesn't have a "delete" option for friends. Do you mean block, unfriend, or unfollow? Those are three different things. Unfollow is the only one he has no way of finding out about. So it seems like unfollowing would do what you want to do, with no downside of awkwardness like unfriending or blocking.
posted by John Cohen at 4:43 PM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

You really don't know he's a sex addict because he is flirty. People flirt, it doesn't mean they want to go through with it and have sex. And as far as hurting his feelings, if he's a very good looking 22 year old at a university- he'll get over it pretty fast.

I'd unfollow him and just think of him as a friend from now on.
posted by fshgrl at 6:22 PM on November 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

[Several comments deleted. OP, AskMe's not a place to get into a back-and-forth with commenters. You've asked your question, people will try to give helpful constructive answers, and you can mark the ones you find most useful.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:36 PM on November 24, 2016

Since you're a recovering sex addict, it sounds like you're making excuses why you can't just unfriend him (his feelings will be hurt, etc) so that you can continue to look through his pictures. Are you in a 12 step group? Have you talked to your sponsor about this?

I hate to break it to you but he's a hot 22 year old, he will not give all that much thought to being unfriended by a 38 year old who is not a dating prospect or a close platonic friend. Like others said, just tell him you're pruning your friends list and move on. Your mental health and recovery are more important than this guy's feelings.
posted by AFABulous at 7:57 PM on November 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

when I wanted to stop people from seeing what I was up to, I moved them to a restricted list and unfollowed them. I'd post to friends (except restricted) and occasionally a post to everyone on the friends list with something totally innocuous, like a videoclip or a link or anything to make it look I'm still alive.

The facebook feed is so shitty, and with the way shares work (ie: the "content not available" that I've seen on my own stuff) I guess it would take ages before anyone notices.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:46 AM on November 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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