Grieving an Unfollow
That may sound a tad overdramatic, but if you’ve ever logged onto one of your social media accounts and have seen even just one fewer follower, you likely have had a million questions begin running through your head:
Who was it?
Was it because of a recent post?
Was it because they were annoyed with my entire account?
Should I also unfollow them?
Are other people going to unfollow me too?
These questions are completely natural to have. But for those who have symptoms of social anxiety, these questions can feel that much more daunting and can even be debilitating as they question not just why one person stopped following them, but if others will too. This kind of snowball thinking can have them question if they need to change their content, if they should post more or less, and so on.
Even those who find themselves overanalyzing and getting caught up in an unfollow may feel that this seems a little silly. But in an age where social media is an incredibly common form of communication and way to connect with others, it’s okay to feel upset, and even worried that this is some sort of marker for your relationship with someone. Many platforms have ways to track your followers too, which doesn’t help with these anxieties.
Obviously not all unfollows are treated the same either. If you do choose to find out who unfollowed you, and it’s someone you either don’t know or barely know, it shouldn’t be an unfollow worth missing. This person’s opinion shouldn’t matter to you, because you don’t have any sort of significant relationship with them. If they’re someone you wouldn’t want to have a long conversation with online or offline, pay them no mind. If it’s someone you consider yourself closer with however, it’s really up to you to question why they might have done so. Depending on the relationship, you might feel comfortable just bluntly asking them, but you might have to be prepared to have a conversation about the content you post or about your relationship as a whole. On the other hand, it might not even be that significant and may have even been a mistake!
Navigating relationships is always difficult and stressful, and social media adds a whole new layer to it. Overall, unfollowing, “breaking the mutual,” and a decrease in statistics should have little to no impact on you and how you view yourself, but social anxiety can make it seem much more important than it actually is. Unfollows from people you do care about can understandably make you upset, but it can lead to a conversation that may need to be had about where you two stand with each other and can come out stronger. In the end however, social media is not real life and should not define your relationships with someone, as easy as it is to believe that it is.
Have you ever unfollowed someone you’re close to? Do you keep track of your followers? Why do you think we place a huge emphasis on numbers on social media?