Social Media

9 Ways To Answer, “Dude, Why Did You Unfollow Me?”

If you don’t have the energy to get deep about it, enjoy these one-liners.

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Sometimes you unfollow someone in a calculated cull of your feed. Other times, you rage quit someone’s account the same way you'd slam down the controller after losing at Sonic the Hedgehog. Chances are good that the person won’t notice, or even if they do, wouldn’t confront you about it. But the chance is not zero. “Why did you unfollow me?” can come in the form of a direct question, or just a plain “Dude, what the heck?” Finding believable excuses for unfollowing someone on social media can be helpful no matter how (or why) you find yourself pressing that game-changing button.

“It's amazing what an ‘intentional feed’ can do for a person,” says psychotherapist Lillyana Morales, LMHC. “If you find yourself feeling worse when you put your phone down after an hour of Instagram scrolling, that might be a hint that your feed isn't serving you well.” But though you may have an abundance of reasons to unfollow someone on social — ranging from preserving your mental health to being straight-up irritated by their constant vacation pics — you don’t always have to exert the mental and emotional energy to explain yourself.

Morales advises checking in with yourself before tapping that tempting button. If you don’t feel a need to have a conversation or set an explicit boundary (you just want those perfect sunset photos off your feed), you may want to just mute or restrict the person, especially if unfollowing will invite a whole convo. But, she says, if unfollowing feels better and necessary for you, you still might not need to have an actual Unfollowing Talk. “Consider if this person is someone you are close with or not — will they actually realize that you've unfollowed them, or is having a conversation a necessity?”

If you’ve been approached about why you unfollowed someone and you don’t have the energy to get all that deep about it, consider keeping these nine believable excuses for unfollowing in your back pocket.

1

"I'm Moving My Account In A Different Direction."

We’ve all got that friend who won’t stop posting about how perfect their quarantine life is. Their sourdough bread? Fluffy yet crisp. Their daytime pajamas? Cozy yet fabulous. You can mute them, sure, but if you wind up rage quitting their account and don’t want to go through the hassle of re-following, just tell ‘em you’re catering your feed to news. Or something, anything, other than their perfect home office.

2

"New Year, New Feed."

Did you actually do a social media cleanse in the new year to recommit to cultivate and focus on actual interactions with people who are in your life daily? Possibly not. But your old high school Science Olympiad teammate that you haven’t actually spoken to in five years probably doesn’t know that.

3

"I Tried Deleting My Account & It Must Have Deleted You Instead."

Technical difficulties, you don’t have to bother standing by.

4

"I No Longer Believe In Networking."

For that human you met once at a conference and exchanged precisely one, “Oh my God it was so great meeting you we should totally keep in touch” DM with, hitting unfollow might seem harmless… until they call you on it. Keeping your professional network separate from your constant puppy photo uploads is a totally acceptable (and believable) unfollow explanation. Consider sending them a consolation LinkedIn invite instead.

5

"Fiddlesticks, I Just Mass Unfollowed Everyone."

It happens — no, it really does. You know how you accidentally deleted that entire quarterly report when you were just about to press submit last month? Well… the same can happen on social, OK? Right? (Just note that if your page isn't private, anyone can see who you're still following.)

6

"Mercury Must Be In Retrograde."

If your friend isn’t into astrology, they won’t know whether Mercury’s in retrograde or not. And if they do, well, Mercury's getting blamed for all technological mishaps anyway.

7

"I Spilled Coffee On My IG Account."

OK, maybe you can’t specifically spill coffee on your account itself — but weird stuff happens with phones all the time, right? Double tap on your favorite mug to activate this excuse.

8

"Alexa Did It."

Alexa can make a decent social media scapegoat when you’re not trying to get into it with your Aunt Betty about why you didn’t want to see more of her adventures in crocheting (500 times a day). Because “Alexa, turn on Grizzy and the Lemmings on Netflix” definitely sounds like “Alexa, please unfollow Aunt Betty, for the love of everything holy.”

9

"I'm Only Following People Pre-approved By My Therapist."

Does your therapist love when you follow your ex that you’re still trying to be friends with but really their feed just hurts? Probably not. And realistically, you probably don’t love it, either. Feel free to hit unfollow, and remember that therapist-approved boundaries truly are a magical thing.

Expert:

Lillyana Morales, L.M.H.C., MA in Mental Health Counseling, psychotherapist