Online Dating: Is Unfriending part of ‘relationship drama’?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Online Dating

National Unfriend DayTechnology has created a whole new world of relationships. Online dating sites and mobile apps provide new opportunities to find the perfect partner—but also new ways to exhibit what a new Pew study calls “relationship drama.” Negative experiences occur the old-fashioned way and with the new media.

What negative experiences have you had?

Pew researchers asked about two different kinds of negative experiences. One has to do with misrepresentation—those who seriously misrepresent themselves in their online profiles. The other is being contacted by someone in a way that makes you feel awkward, uncomfortable, or even harassed.

Have you had these experiences? If so, you are not alone. Over half of online daters (54%) say that they have encountered people who seriously misrepresent themselves. Their profiles might indicate that they are younger, in better shape, or even better educated than they really are. And, almost three of ten (28%) say that they have been contacted in a way that makes them uncomfortable or even harassed.

Unfriending (a new term in the English language!) and blocking are ways that people manage negative experiences. Over one of four Internet users (27%) “have unfriended or blocked someone who was flirting in a way that made them feel uncomfortable,” Pew analysts say, “and 22% have unfriended or blocked someone that they were once in a relationship with.” Deleting or untagging photos are other options.

Coming soon—on November 17—is TV celebrity Jimmy Kimmel’s third annual National UnFriend Day. Kimmel encourages everyone to clean out less-than-friendly Facebook contacts once a year. If we all do it, he argues, then it removes at least some of the negative stigma—and the removal of marginal contacts can become an affirmation of the true friends who remain.

What negative experiences have you had?

Have you unfriended anyone?

What do you think of Jimmy Kimmel’s self-proclaimed annual holiday?

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