I have been socially weeded - thank you

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What is social weeding? I heard the term many years ago and now I have made it an ongoing ritual. Always once a year, in January usually, but also during the year as required.

Social weeding is about “weeding my social garden”. In other words, de-cluttering and deleting from my networks both online and off line.

My process is simple. Each year I take the time to go through all my social network connections and I ask myself two questions:

1.      Am I adding value to this person?

2.      Are they adding value to me?

If the answer to both of these questions is “No” then the next step is to “defriend” and weed.

We all know that time is precious, and as I move through my 50’s time becomes even more precious. I often feel that I do not have enough time for the people I love and the things I really want to do so it is important for me to use my time wisely. I want to engage with a smaller number of truly connected people rather than a large number of people who I don’t really know.

It is not a brutal or nasty process. Realistically I don’t think people even know when they have been de-friended. After all, if I wasn’t adding value to them I am sure I won’t be missed. 

Admittedly anonymously de-friending is quite an easy thing to do. But I also do this is in real life. We all have friends, colleagues or associates who we know and see who no longer add value to our lives and we don’t add value to theirs. Even worse, some of these relationships can be negative and destructive.   That friend who is angry about life and makes you feel angry, the friend that has that subtle way of making  you feel that you are doing the wrong thing or heading in the wrong direction or maybe they are an old dear colleague who you have known for years and you just don’t have anything in common any more but you see them out of habit and nostalgia.  After seeing these people, you feel upset, angry, drained, sad or just plain bored.   That is 1, 2 or 3 hours of your life you are never going to get back. Is that how you really want to spend you precious time?

Again, weeding does not need to be a nasty process. When there is an event that you are invited to or the classic “we need to catch up” line is said, simply answer “Maybe” or “we should do that”. It is usually forgotten, no follow up happens and you both continue on with your lives. Weeding complete!!!

But when you start this process you will become aware that it may also happen to you. Recently I realised that I had been weeded out of someone’s garden. I remembered that the line “we should do that” had been used on me and that I actually hadn’t seen this person for over 18 months. My first reaction was to feel rejected and then indignant – after all we all like to be the weeder not the weeded. After I got over my own ego I understood that this was the right decision. We were no longer adding value to each other’s lives. We had both taken different directions. It was time. To that person and to all the others who have weeded me in the past – thank you, it was great whilst it lasted and I wish you all the best.

Now are you brave enough to weed your social garden online and offline to make the time and the space for the people and passions that are really important to you and deserve your precious time?