Rant: When Is It Time To Say Goodbye On Facebook?

Just a moment ago, I excitedly clicked on my Facebook page to see that I’d gotten a message in my inbox. I clicked on it, and was annoyed to see yet another invite to J’s band’s show. Great. There’s another thing I won’t be doing Friday night. J., you see, was a guy I dated for a month about two and a half years ago — and I haven’t seen him, in person anyway, since. But he still regularly sends me invites to band gigs. Because we’re Facebook friends.
I deleted J.’s invite (again), and noticed that my inbox was littered with similar requests. Invites from ex flings to DJ nights and band gigs (OK, so I’ve dated a lot of musically inclined dudes), parties and art shows from guys I used to hang out with, and have remained on friendly terms.

And I know I’m not the only one. My Facebook friends list is littered with guys I’ve gone on one or two or five dates with and then ditched. For whatever reason, we didn’t work out, but the ghost of our failed dalliance remains in my Facebook friends roster. We might say hello to each other on the street, but we’re not going to hang out with each other anytime soon, either.

It’s the same with acquaintances I’ve randomly met at a party or night out. We hung out and chatted for 30 seconds at a crowded bar. Now we’re Facebook friends and I know all about what you wore to your cousin’s wedding. These people are nice people, but they are not people I necessarily need updates on every 30 seconds. Facebook is now an annoying cache for everyone you ever met, dated or shook hands with — even once.

Yes, I know I can say no to “friend request.” And yes, I can technically “hide” these people from my Facebook stream. But wouldn’t a better solution be to stop with the pretense that everyone in the world needs to be friends in Facebook’s virtual universe?

Tell us: How do you handle the Facebook ghosts of past acquaintances and dates?