When a friendly person gets 'unfriended'

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I'm 60 and consider myself computer literate and socially mature, but I find myself stymied by a recent Facebook incident. I'm a mentor to group of 20- and 30-somethings at my church. We socialize several times a month. We are all on Facebook. Recently, one member "unfriended" three of us. She has explained this by saying she was just uncluttering her page and getting rid of contacts she had no contact with. However, the three of us see her, have exchanged gifts and have had her in our homes. I've sent two emails and left a phone message to ask if I had inadvertently offended her, offering to meet for coffee to resolve this. I also sent a new "friend" request. All have been ignored. Any more overtures would feel like stalking. When I've run into her with a group, she has hugged me but has made no other contact. I know it's just Facebook, but it feels very awkward. How do others handle unfriending?Left Behind

DEAR LEFT BEHIND: I posted a version of this question on my own Facebook page, and the response was almost unanimous. One person wrote: "If I am 'unfriended,' I do nothing. If I talk to this person on a regular basis, then I assume they find my updates and pictures of my kids boring. If I don't really talk to this person and don't really see them in real life, then it's no big deal. It's only Facebook."

You have an explanation from this person that is completely plausible. For some people, following the ongoing timelines of dozens (or hundreds) of people doesn't feel like "friendship" -- but more like being an audience member.

Unfriending doesn't mean she doesn't like you but that she doesn't want to interact with you in this way. Your unwillingness to accept this provides a window onto the dynamic. Your response -- to double up with more contact -- is disrespectful. Step away from the keyboard, and accept this change in status gracefully.