Friendships Cut Short on Social Media, Survey Shows

Has Social Media Caused You to Cut Friendships Short?

Businesswoman crying at her desk
(Image: Thinkstock)
Businesswoman crying at her desk
(Image: Thinkstock)

Social media is causing online BFFs (best friends forever) to become frenemies, or, even worse, full-blown rivals.

A recent online survey conducted by corporate training firm VitalSmarts shows nearly 20% of people block, unsubscribe or “unfriend” someone over an online argument. Not to mention, of the 2,698 people surveyed, 78% reported a boost in rudeness online–not one individual having an issue with being less courteous virtually than face-to-face.

It seems like school yard behavior, but the we’re-friends-now-we’re-not friends’ exchange of our teenage years is conducted by today’s adults.  With 67% of online adults in the United States using social networking sites, according to Pew Research Center figures, it’s not too hard to believe. (For verification, just check your Twitter stream or Facebook newsfeed for a taste of uncouth, in-your-face screen behavior.)

What happened to settling conflicts in person? Unfortunately, with technology, an increasing number of people are less personable, using their screen as a buffer or veil when it comes to instigating confrontation or settling tension.

“The world has changed and a significant proportion of relationships happen online but manners haven’t caught up with technology,” Joseph Grenny, co-chairman at VitalSmarts, told Reuters on the release of the survey.

#SoundOff: Have you ever been in a Twitter beef or Facebook confrontation with a friend, colleague or anonymous person? How did technology affect the way you communicated the issue? Let us know what you think in the comments section.