DEAR MISS MANNERS: I guess I did a novel thing: I decided my friends on social media should be my actual friends.
So I unfriended that guy from high school that I don’t even remember sharing a class with; the woman I was barely acquainted with when I worked at that one company I left 20 years ago; the local real estate agent who sold a house to me, like, 17 years ago, etc. Basically, I’m only friends with people I know and would enjoy having a cup of coffee with now.
Well, I ran into the real estate woman at the hardware store yesterday, and the first thing she said to me was, “I don’t see you online anymore -- did you unfriend me?!?”
And I stammered that I didn’t think so, and then changed the subject. Later, when I was home, I saw that she was trying to friend me again, which so far I’m ignoring. She’s perfectly pleasant and I’m happy to make small talk the next time I run into her, but when that happens and she asks again about “unfriending,” what do I say?
GENTLE READER: That is the problem with public declarations of acquaintanceship disguised as friendship. Miss Manners suggests that you say, “I am afraid that my social media use was getting out of control ...” and not finish that sentence, leaving it up to the listener to infer whether you discontinued it altogether or only in regards to them.