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The real-world social implications of Facebook make it difficult to deal with frustrating online situations. Here are five tips to help you keep your Facebook feed drama-free.

I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had recently where a friend has expressed their frustrations with Facebook. Certainly, many of these frustrations have to do with Facebook’s constantly-changing privacy settings, or their concerns about their account’s security. However, a surprising number of these conversations have actually dealt with frustrations centered around the human aspect of Facebook.

Let’s face it – checking Facebook for any reason can basically become the electronic equivalent of walking into a large room full of everyone you’ve ever had a conversation with in your life, all of whom are trying to get your attention at once.

While all you may want to do is check up on your best friend’s travel photos, once you sign in your timeline immediately inundates you with a tidal wave of (often pointless) information about every single one of your Facebook friends. This is definitely overwhelming, and can certainly become frustrating when you feel like you have no idea what is going on in your brother’s life, but know exactly what your ex-coworker eats for lunch every day.

FacebookFriends

Even worse, posting lunch photos is really one of the more innocent Facebook “crimes” a person can commit!

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What about the aunt that won’t stop sending you CandyCrush invitations? The distant relative that posts unrelated comments on every single one of your posts? Your best friend from college who posts multiple statuses every day complaining about perfectly ordinary situations? The colleague who goes on passionate rants about politics whenever possible? The uncle who won’t stop posting offensive memes?

Perhaps worst of all, what about your rival from high school who now seems to be accomplishing more than you every day and humble-bragging about it whenever possible?

The worst thing about these issues is that, unlike on any other website, you can’t respond to unsavoury or frustrating Facebook posts the way you may want to, because your actions will have real-life repercussions. If you are like most Facebook users, you don’t want to cause family drama, or end a friendship that is great off-line just because of a frustrating on-line experience, and so you do nothing and become increasingly frustrated over time.

FacebookFriendship

For many of my friends, their level of frustration has become so great that they have begun to consider quitting Facebook all together. Now, while there are certainly many arguments for leaving Facebook behind (whether they be privacy-related, or for the sake of productivity), in today’s hyper-connected world, quitting Facebook completely is a large step to take.

Now that Facebook has become nearly as ubiquitous as e-mail, shutting down your account has several consequences, including the loss of a primary method of communication with those you want to stay in contact with, a loss of information resources (many businesses now put a priority on providing key information channels like Facebook), a loss of awareness when it comes to events that are occurring in your social circle and/or geographic area, and a loss of access to some apps that require a Facebook account to log in.

So, before you begin the (admittedly complex) process of trying to close down your Facebook account in reaction to yet another horrible pun posted by Uncle Jerry or a collage of duck-face selfies, first consider using a few of Facebook’s features to decrease your annoyance level while still enjoying all of Facebook’s functionality. I do want to note that these suggestions are targeted at the social aspects of your Facebook use, not towards the best possible Facebook privacy settings The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide Time to lock your Facebook settings and private profile information. Facebook doesn't make this easy, however; features are constantly added and the default for each new one seems to favor transparency instead of privacy. Read More  or increasing your Facebook page’s popularity 10 Great Ways To Improve Your Facebook Page's Popularity 10 Great Ways To Improve Your Facebook Page's Popularity Facebook pages come in all manner of different shapes and sizes. Many are pretty lame, gaining very few likes and with hardly anyone talking about them. Obviously the subject of the page is the most... Read More . Here I’ve outlined five of the most effective features that prevent Facebook from becoming a source of stress in your life.

1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

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There is no reason that you should have to see posts from infuriating, annoying, or uninteresting people if you don’t want to! However, un-friending someone is often an action that can have significant social and practical repercussions.

Thankfully, Facebook has a feature that allows you to “unfollow” an individual’s posts, without notifying him or her that you have chosen this option. To do this, all you need to do is visit the individual’s profile, and click on the “following” button at the bottom right of their cover photo. Once you have done this, you will no longer see any of this person’s posts in your news feed.

The only possible consequence of this choice is that you might miss something important that this person posts online, and be asked about it in an off-line situation. You could make a point of checking in on their profile every once in a while, but I think the best way to handle this is just to mutter something about “those darn Facebook algorithms hiding important life events again” and ask them to tell you more about the event in person.

2. Choose Your Audience

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Just like you may not want to see certain people’s posts, there are also situations where you really want to post something on Facebook, but are worried about how it may come across to specific individuals. Certainly, you could take a “can’t please everyone” attitude and post it anyways, but if you want to be more socially sensitive there are other options available!

One of the best ways around this conundrum is to specify the audience for each of your posts. A general setting can be chosen for your default posts – a default as general as “friends” or as specific as “all close friends with the exception of Bob”.

Once you have a general setting that you think will be best for the majority of your posts, you can also fine-tune the privacy settings for an individual post’s audience. This can be set at the time that you are posting it, or can be changed after the fact by selecting the “who can see this” icon that follows the post’s date and time on your timeline.

This feature is a lifesaver — whether you just don’t have the time to get into a political debate with Bob today or you’re making a last minute announcement about his surprise party, being able to hide posts from specific groups or individuals can take a lot of anxiety out of your Facebook use.

3. Divide and Conquer

 

FriendsListFacebook

Learning how to create Facebook lists Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Is Facebook driving you crazy? Most people who use Facebook generally view the home feed in its unfiltered form, which means they're seeing updates from friends, acquaintances and pages all lumped in together and shown... Read More for your friends is a lifesaver. Creating lists serves a dual purpose – firstly, this greatly simplifies the process for selecting your audience for a post, as now you can select an entire list to include or not include in the audience. Also, friend lists give you an effective way to check up only on the groups of people that you want to.

Facebook automatically creates some lists for you (including lists for coworkers, family, close friends, and acquaintances), but creating your own allows for a much more intuitive organization system for your online life. This means that when you want to sign into Facebook specifically to check up on how your friends from high school are doing, you will be able to do so uninterrupted by posts from any other groups of people on your Timeline.

4. Silence Notifications

FacebookNotificationSettingsThere was seriously a point in my life where I was receiving every single Facebook notification I got through four (count ’em, four) different devices. While it’s good to be aware of what’s happening in your online life, receiving that many different forms of notifications can quickly increase your stress level and frustration with Facebook in general.

It’s best to limit your Facebook push notifications to a single mobile device, and maybe your primary computer. That way, you are aware of what’s going on if you want to be, but don’t feel like it’s impossible to disconnect.

It’s also possible to limit the kinds of notifications that you receive – Birthday notifications? Off. Friends’ Activity? Off. Life Events? Off. Group Activity? Only for groups that it’s absolutely essential for.

Unfortunately, you can’t unsubscribe from apps and games as a single category, but the moment you receive any kind of request from any kind of game that you don’t want to hear from again you can block the game and/or the sender from sending any more requests with a single click! Blocking Facebook notifications  Your Complete Guide to Blocking Facebook Invites Your Complete Guide to Blocking Facebook Invites But game invites can fill up your notifications. How do you stop them?! Hint: The answer does not involve posting a status update. Read More (or at least as many of them as is feasible for you) is one of the best ways to immediately lower the amount of stress you feel each time you sign in.

5. Declutter Your Timeline

FacebookTimelineReview

There are few things more frustrating than trying to find a photo or note someone posted on your Timeline and having to first go through what feels like hundreds of recipes, memes, and “inspirational” quotations that other people have tagged you in. The best way to avoid this problem is to enable “Timeline Review”.

Timeline Review allows you to see everything you are tagged in before it is posted to your timeline, and allows you to decide whether or not it should appear there. This feature keeps your timeline clear for only the kinds of posts that you value, but still allows you to see (and acknowledge) every post that your well-meaning friends tag you in.

What’s Your Biggest Facebook Pet Peeve?

Despite the widespread frustrations with Facebook, there are countless reasons people use Facebook 10 Reasons Why People Still Use Facebook [We Ask You Results] 10 Reasons Why People Still Use Facebook [We Ask You Results] The main reason people still use Facebook is because everyone else uses it. Go figure. Read More , and it’s become so ubiquitous that it’s unlikely it will become obsolete anytime soon. Not only that, but it’s become a part of our culture, and deleting your account permanently could lead to some significant personal and professional disadvantages.

So, the next time that someone starts spreading a Facebook myth Lies, Lies, And Status Updates: 4 Facebook Myths You Shouldn't Believe Lies, Lies, And Status Updates: 4 Facebook Myths You Shouldn't Believe Why are myths started? At least one definition of myth is "any invented story, idea, or concept." So why do such stories get invented? How do so many situations arise where people feel the need... Read More  you know to be false, posting views you don’t agree with, or sharing memes non-stop, take a deep breath and use the strategies above to get your frustration under control. It’s also probably worth setting down your electronics and going for a quick walk where none of your Facebook friends can bother you.

What is your biggest Facebook frustration? And do you have any other tips for modifying your Facebook experience to make it more positive?

Image Credits: frustated businessman Via Shutterstock

  1. singingjustice
    September 24, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Is it possible to temporarily deactivate an account for a couple of months. If so, can I still manage my profesdional page while during deactivation. Also, can I switch emails and accounts to associate with the page Imanaged. Will I loose information if I deactivate.
    Thank you for your assistance!

  2. Jack Davis
    February 5, 2016 at 12:16 am

    HAVING TROUBLE GETTING ON!! I KNOW MY USER NAME AND MY PASSWORD BUT THEY SEEM NOT TO WORK. I CHANGE THEM AND THEY STILL DON'T WORK. FB DOESN'T SEEM TO REMEMBER EITHER!! I AM SO FRUSTREDED THAT I AM READY TO CANCEL IT, IF I ONLY KNEW HOW? THERE ISN'T ANY COMMAND THAT TELLS ME HOW. IY HAS TURNED INTO A BUNCH OF CRAAP.

  3. Shawn Powell
    May 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Well where to begin.. :0)
    -Taking away auto posters to groups that you are NOT admins for..
    What a stupid thing to do.. But then Facebook is about a dollar. And wants you to pay them for doing it..
    - changing things without letting us know.. Who runs this Obama? And then get punished for it..
    At least warn us when something we are doing wrong or when something had been met to keep from over doing it..
    I mean doesn't that seem logical? It's like not having speed limits and yet getting people for speeding when they don't know the limits... There is no difference..
    For Something as powerful as Facebook, they do some stupid stupid stupid things that every one would think is common sense..

    • Briallyn Smith
      May 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Hahaha! Excellent list of frustrations, Shawn! I know I hate it when they change features (or even just the location of a single button) without a heads up – its crazy to see the number of huge changes Facebook has had even just in its interface over the last few years. And yet they've still got the monopoly on social media – so obviously they're doing something right :)

  4. Judith
    May 2, 2015 at 5:57 am

    I hate FB - I find it frustrating, cluttered, unattractive and poorly designed. Nonetheless I persist because it is where I get notices of events and, as a political junkie, interesting articles from "friends". My main frustration with FB is that the search engine that does not include a location. So, for instance, if you are looking for John Smith in Oshkosh you can only enter John Smith and you can imagine the length of the list that comes up. Another bad design: you cannot share to more than one group, person and your timeline at the same time - you have to go back to the posting and start the share process over for each one. How is it that ,by now, FB has not designed a better (and more user friendly) website?

    Highly recommended: http://socialfixer.com/ enhances FB and allows you to adjust some of its annoyances. One feature allows you to disappear a posting, which really helps scrolling through your "wall". There's also a great Social Fixer FB page with VERY helpful people.

    • Briallyn Smith
      May 31, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks so much for the suggestion Judith - I'll have to check socialfixer out! And your frustrations with Facebook as a tool definitely make a lot of sense – you would think that the search feature would work more effectively! (I wonder if some of the complications come from people choosing not to share their location?)

  5. john gallagher
    April 24, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I have joined 60 + groups , I never read my news feed , the groups that are interesting to me keep me busy

    • Briallyn
      April 28, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      That's such a great way of using Facebook to communicate only with the people you are interested in hearing from and avoiding any frustrations lurking on your home newsfeed. Thanks for sharing! :)

  6. jimvandamme
    April 21, 2015 at 2:19 am

    I need an alternative to Facebook. All I want is to see what my family and friends are up to.

    • Briallyn
      April 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      I understand that feeling, Jim!! Part of what's so frustrating about Facebook is that it's the only social media site that has the kind of presence it does – very few people don't have a Facebook account.
      If you made a friend list that only includes your close friends and family, and then only checked that feed when you signed in it might help you to see only the kind of updates that you want to!

  7. dragonmouth
    April 17, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    "Frustrated with Facebook? 5 Tips to Reclaim Your Sanity "
    Tip #1: Quit using Facebook. Once you quit, all your frustrations will go away and all other tips will be superfluous.

    • Briallyn
      April 21, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Ah, but where's the article in that? :)
      I think there's a lot of people out there (myself included!) who for various legitimate reasons can't walk away from Facebook completely – so we might as well make it as tolerable as possible!

  8. Donna
    April 16, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Biggest Facebook peeve?.....I'd have to say that it has replaced actually talking to another person

    • Briallyn
      April 17, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Fair enough, Donna! It can be really difficult to find that balance between convenience and honest connections with friends.

  9. James Korn
    April 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Anyone that still uses facebook knowing what that privacy stealing tracking monster does deserves to have their identity stolen.

    • kmacrox
      April 21, 2015 at 12:33 am

      Ah, yes. Just like anyone who uses a credit card deserves to have THEIR identity stolen.... NOT! Just because someone uses or does something, does not mean they deserve what happens to them. I bet you also think women who were raped deserved it for wearing "slutty" clothes.

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