I like Facebook. It’s a fun way of keeping up and connecting with family and friends – especially friends from over the years that I no longer see: schoolmates and college chums, people from former churches that I’ve attended and served at, former co-workers from 3 different careers, kids that I used to teach in Sunday School who now have families of their own, even homeschooler friends of my kids that I may have the pleasure of working with someday.
I see their posts and pray for them as troubles are revealed, as well as just praying for them as they post of successes and ordinary things (like a good meal or a family get-together). No longer do I marvel at the realization that I haven’t thought about, let alone prayed for someone I haven’t seen in decades, for I DO see them, and pray for them, through Facebook.
Yet it always catches me by surprise when I realize a familiar face on FB is longer there, and when I go to look, I see the “Add Friend” option on a page that used to come to me all by itself. Of course, the worst is when I go to that friend’s page and find that it no longer exists for my viewing, and I realize that I have been blocked as well.
There have only been a few times when I have unfriended someone: each time was after the realization that I had dual or multiple links. So I check each one, and drop the one(s) that didn’t post last. And I’ll admit to blocking a couple who have unfriended me. I’m hurt and sore about it, but I just didn’t want prying eyes to continue to look for my faults in what I post.
So after becoming separated, I realized my new reality would include those who would feel the need to choose sides. I remember trying an app that worked with FB to track the unfriending, but I’m sure Facebook put the kibosh on it, as the app never worked. But it got me thinking. If I had a current list of friends that I could compare to future lists of friends, it would show who and when the unfriending occurred.
Step 1) Go to your friends tab on your personal Facebook and see all friends listed. You’ll have to keep scrolling down while it loads until all friends are listed. Click on a blank space on your last friend and hold while scrolling back to top. Release when all are highlighted in blue. Hit Ctrl-C to copy entire list.
Step 2) In Microsoft Word, hit Ctrl-V to paste your list. Then hit the “Sort” button (it’s an icon with an A over a Z with an arrow pointing down beside it). You can delete all the Carriage Returns and friend counts at the beginning of the new document. Then delete the Italicized types of friends (Acquaintance Friends, Close Friends, Friends). Just delete everything that isn’t names of your friends.
Step 3) Next hit Ctrl-A to highlight entire list, then hit Ctrl-C to copy it.
Step 4) Open Microsoft Excel. In a new file, click on A2 and hit Ctrl-V to paste your list. Column A will fill with the names you’ve copied from Facebook. On A1, type today’s date and the number of friends you have on Facebook. You can play around with column width and font, but this file is your baseline friend’s list.
At some point in the future, after you have added or lost friends, you can repeat the process, up to Step 4, where you open your previous file and paste it on B2. You can right click to add or delete lines so your friend names line up in the rows.
FB friends Jul15 vs Jun16
This is my file of friends. The first couple columns are where I deleted by hand (in Step 2) all the carriage returns and links, but left their friend tally. It took quite awhile to do it this way, so I sped it up for the last column by following my Step 2. The gaps in the left columns are where I added friends later, and gaps in the columns to the right are where I have been unfriended. The dates show where I have made updates to the list.
So there you have it. That’s how I know who comes & goes and when.