How to Pretend to Be Someone's Friend on Facebook

Most of the people you're friends with on Facebook aren't your friends—you know that. But decorum forces you to keep them in your virtual stable! Here's how to block them out of your life in a socially healthy way they'll never even know about.

Last fall, Facebook very quietly added one of its most important features in a long time: Acquaintances. A Facebook Acquaintance pretty much disappears from your News Feed. You can block them from your own posts with only a click.

You have acquaintances in real life—the guy you've met at a party a few times, your coworker's brother, your girlfriend's roommate. You don't actually care about these folks, you have pretty much zero interest in their life, and yet you're compelled to keep up with them. To fraternize with them. To include them. To not say what you really want to say: Please dissolve into ooze, you're meaningless to me.

On Facebook, all these extras just cheapen the kinship further. Using this function to call someone an Acquaintance, really, just sweeps them into your personal social Dumpster. And there's nothing wrong with that. So let's clean up.

Make the list

Think of this as a list of everyone you'd want at your birthday party and/or funeral. This is the opposite of that. It's a list of the unwanted, and Facebook made it very easy to build.

How to Pretend to Be Someone's Friend on Facebook

All you need to do is go to a given person's profile, click the 'Friends' button at the top, and then click Acquaintances, which will add him/her to that list instantly.

How to Pretend to Be Someone's Friend on Facebook

If you want to add to the list in bulk, that's also easy. On the front page sidebar, click "more" next to "friends." Then go to "Acquaintances."

How to Pretend to Be Someone's Friend on Facebook

Then click "manage list," and start entering names of the doomed. Congratulations—you've made your very own secret shit list.

Enforce the list

The immediate payoff with Facebook Acquaintances is not having to see their big stupid faces all over your feeds anymore. But the bonus perk is being able to block them from your Facebook activity, forever, without them ever knowing. Ever. You'll be living a big, safe, insulated lie online. And that's fine! We encourage it, because that's just what's demanded of us in this age of modern, false relations.

How to Pretend to Be Someone's Friend on Facebook

If you post a photo, update your status, share an article—anything—you can cut it off from your Acquaintances. They'll never see it. They'll never be able to write annoying, unwanted comments. They'll never have an inroad to your internet quasi-intimacy. They'll have nothing but your profile picture, basic info, and whatever scraps you choose to throw their way.

Who goes on this dark list?

Anyone! Everyone? We suggest the following:

  • Coworkers (if your job frowns upon binge-drinking and duck-facing)
  • Former teachers (creepy)
  • Former students (creepy)
  • Mom
  • Friends from freshman year (they were never cool)
  • Exes
  • One night stands
  • Your boyfriend/girlfriend (if you're having one night stands)
  • Anyone that requires over 30 seconds to recall how you know each other in the first place

If these people somehow earn their way out of the Acquaintance purgatory, of course, they can always be reclassified. They can be your real friends again—but only on Facebook.

Original photo: abbynormy


User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette. It appears as if by magic every Friday.