5 tips for efficient new year

What to do when a friend unfollows you

what to do when friend unfollow unfriend you on social media

‘ve decided to make this as light hearted as possible because there may be some of you who are shaking out of furry, or your heart may be tender because you just found out someone unfollowed you. But not just anyone unfollowed you – maybe it was someone you know, kind of know, or your best friend’s mom. I’ve been unfollowed by friends moms, grandma’s, sisters, my own wedding photographer, friendors, and talented folks that suddenly felt like I was crouching in on their career space – a mix of old and long time friends.

I’m here to tell you that you can move past the emotions you may be feeling now.

There are a topics I want to go over to break this down so you don’t fall into self pity, become self-doubtful, and you can say hi when you run into those who unfollowed you, because it’s totally fine!

First, let me say that many years ago I once cleared out my feed (unfollowed some people) when Instagram was fairly new – there was no algorithm or ability to hide peoples feeds. Today I would never ever, intentionally unfollow someone I know personally – and we are both following each other even if it’s all babies, even if they’re _______. It doesn’t take much effort to scroll past their photo on a feed and avoid hurting a friend’s feelings – someone you personally KNOW. But, let’s remember not everyone feels this way.

The first time I realized a friend unfollowed me

My mouth dropped as I thought – Are you serious?  You follow 800 people, including Justin Timberlake but girl you just unfollowed ME?! I took you to a party as my date and we’ve gone to lunches! 

That would be my first initial angry thoughts from my first unfollow rejection. Since, I’ve learned how to handle an unfollow by a friend because hey it’s life, and unfortunately, it didn’t stop there and it won’t

The more we understand how to react (or not) the better we will be mentally and also the most IMPORTANT thing is for us to have a clear mind, heart because it doesn’t matter who follows or unfollows or comes in and our of our lives, it’s about our head space, heart, and how we live and feel every day. So let’s navigate through these feelings together.

What to do when your friend unfollows you

Let’s first set the ground rules of this follow/unfollow setting –

  • We don’t need to worry about people who unfollow us who we don’t know. 
  • If it’s an acquaintance like someone we don’t really see often or a friend of a friend, don’t worry.
  • This advice is for those who are friends, on our Christmas list, people we meet up for meals, real friends.

I once had an instance where a good, longtime girlfriend unfollowed me, and I considered her a forever friend so it really caught me off guard. When I noticed I had been unfollowed, I immediately picked up the phone and called her. We’re talking within a minute. I left a voice message –

“Hey (name), I noticed an unfollow, and I couldn’t help but want to just call and talk because I’m concerned I did something that may have hurt your feelings or offended you which was not my intention. You’ve been such a good friend in the past and I want to make sure we can continue our friendship into the future because you’re really important to me. So I’d love to talk, I’m not upset but I have a feeling you are, so please call or text me, whatever you feel most comfortable doing.”

I delivered the longer message a soft voice, because I was SO sad that I not only seemed to hurt a friend’s feelings unintentionally, but that I might be losing a friend. I elaborated over what I last posted which was strictly a business post, not to be taken as competition or disrespectful, though I was sorry if it was taken that way.

I received a text back a few days later, and her response didn’t leave me reassured we’d talk again in the future. I even asked friends, “Do I unfollow her back?” and every single one said, “No, because your heart isn’t in the right place and you would only be doing it to get back at her.” Thank God for good friends with wonderful hearts! 

That was quite a few years ago, I’m sad to say that I used to know her. I continued to follow her for over a year – but I did get a little sad because I didn’t know her anymore and eventually unfollowed just because time and distance made me realize I was looking at a stranger’s feed. I continually wish her well and I know my heart is in the right place. Who is to say that one day life sorts itself out? I have had many friends come back into my life unexpectedly.

You may not get a response or one that makes sense, but you reach out because your heart is concerned about the relationship, not the follow.

If a good friend unfollows you – pick up the phone, immediately. Or text, if that’s your kind of relationship with that person. But don’t get in contact for an answer, reach out because you genuinely care about your friend and you want to make sure s/he is OK. You are more than likely not going to get a response if any, that makes sense. But reach out because your heart is concerned about the relationship, not the follow. If you see them in person, don’t let it be awkward – you didn’t do anything. If anything, you were the bigger person and reached out so you have a good conscience.

  1. Pick up the phone and call – if it’s a real friend then you probably feel close enough to talk on the phone.
  2. Or text, if you think it might have been a mistake. I know one of my best friends accidentally unfollowed (I legit know she would NEVER) and she’s like, wait, that’s crazy thanks for telling me! I never had a doubt in my mind she would have ever done that intentionally so just speak up about it.

Remember that person who unfollowed might not really be your friend

So let’s talk a little about the people who you sorta did know and maybe called a friend.

My dad had to remind me that many people are acquaintances – including your best friend’s sister or mom – or former clients. I know we look at the people in our lives and their lives as extensions and we carry love onto them too, but we don’t have to keep in touch with everyone or follow, or like everyone’s stuff.

Is everyone your friend? I mean you just gotta really look at it for what it is, maybe they aren’t, or if they were, that’s kinda crappy right? But if you don’t feel close or strongly enough to ask them if it was by accident, or if you may have done something wrong then forget about it. It’s OK, maybe you’re still connected on Facebook or Twitter, or maybe you can just, let it go.

Remember we are human, we are strong and weak in certain areas

I had a friend ask me, “Haven’t you unfollowed someone because you saw their life and it made you jealous or sad?” I looked at her like she was crazy and said, “NOT PEOPLE I KNOW PERSONALLY!”

She agreed, and then pointed out we each struggle with something. Some people struggle with envy. Some are depressed. Some are having a hard time with life in general. Some are in a weak moment and can’t celebrate you, while others are able to. Just understand this and allow this to be a possible answer. And then read this article on how to not take it personally, even if they mean it personally.

I often lose followers when I’m traveling somewhere internationally. People get really weird about it, and I did lose followers who were acquaintances and a mutual follow. I think maybe they got sad seeing me happy, oh well. It also gave me permission to unfollow them back because honestly if we’re being sooooo real and honest right now, I didn’t really know them and cared to see their feed either so it gave me permission to unfollow them back. I felt relieved almost but I still wish them well!

Choose to celebrate others, it will keep your mind healthy.

Remember some view social media differently

If you use it for your business, it’s going to appeal to some people, but not all, including friends – they may want to be in touch to see your personal life but not every post of self-promotion is intriguing to them.

But my business is personal to me! And if my friends care about me, they would care about my business too! 

I have to say even with my real friends, I don’t want to see some of the things they post regularly with their business. It’s not my jam, but, maybe what I do isn’t always either so I get it. It doesn’t pain me to still cheer them on. Your real friends will stick around, your finicky followers will not, and that’s OK too. You need to know some will dig it, others won’t. There are people out there who do not like pizza, I mean, really. So you can’t please them all!

Remember it will only be as awkward as you allow it to be

A girlfriend’s sister unfollowed me on Instagram, twice! The first time she had just had a big life event when she had unfollowed so who knows what was going on in her life. Months later I saw her at a party and happily caught up with her. I’m not the one who made the move, so why should I avoid or be weird about it? Don’t. Be kind, say hello, it’s JUST social media.

The second time she followed me and I was thinking, oh she’s definitely going to unfollow me again I know I’m going to annoy her. And sure enough, a month or so later she did. No hard feelings, whatever! Again, I will say hi to her when I see her again she just views social media differently! And, we’re still connected on Facebook so she might find more peace on there.

Remember to allow the possibility of finding out that you may in fact, need to apologize

Please be open to hearing if you have hurt a friend’s feelings or done something you are unaware of. Enter the conversation humbly, be compassionate, but most of all know that a relationship is far more important than a follow and that’s why you are reaching out. And even if the unfollow doesn’t make sense, listen and accept it while still being able to love that person, off social media in whatever form that looks like.

Why I have/had an unfollow app (I no longer do)

I don’t want to leave out the fact that I do have an app that tells me who unfollows me, but I actually just check to see if anyone I personally follow have unfollowed me. While I don’t suggest you have this unless you have it for business purposes, I am going to explain WHY I do use it to this day.

  1. Business. I have had brands severe ties or vendors unfollow which shows me our business relationship might have changed. I want to know about this so I’m not investing too much any longer – this has absolutely helped and it’s more of an awareness rather than a spying incentive. I am also very aware that there is a PERSON on the other end of that social media channel and sometimes it’s a naive intern who got mad I was at a Justin Bieber concert (not making this up). So, you just gotta be like, okay then!
  2. Personal. Because it is good to know if I’ve hurt a friend’s feelings and not be caught off guard – to tackle the issue immediately. I also don’t want to spend any time absorbing content from someone who doesn’t want to invest in me and I can decide if I want to follow or if it grants me permission to not subscribe to their feed.

I hope this post helped a bit, there will be people you don’t know unfollowing you, that doesn’t matter. There are acquaintances who will unfollow, you decide if you let that actually hurt your feelings or if they were really friends anyway (you can unfollow them back!), but if a true real friend has unfollowed you just pick up the phone and ask if you’re cool! You might find it was accidental, or they explain how they are feeling or if you offended them and you an apologize. The best remedy for real friendships is communication. If you do your part, then you can move forward, and anyone who takes what you post on social media personally and can’t cheer for you, well that’s not a friend you want in your life anyway. xx

Heart-Related Reading:

Have a story to share? What are your thoughts? How have you handled when a friend unfollows?

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • PinkynthebrAIn

    I unfollow and refollow friends all the time. I know lots have done the same with me. It’s no big deal unless there was some big argument or drama IRL. We don’t all like everybody’s posts, and some our friends are really annoying online but cool IRL. It goes both ways.

    • Alaka

      One of my classmate have removed me and my friend from his account. He doesn’t follow us anymore. Idk why. I felt very bad cux he was such a close person in school as a classmate and after months he did this.

  • phoebe

    Hi Diana,

    I stumbled on this article while googling on similar issue. I wonder whether it is okay to ask for someone you know to follow you back? It is an old friend who seems to be a famous insta-blogger and I reckon she would have missed my following notice to follow me back. Although she did reply when I replied to her insta story, so I think she remembers me.

    Thank you in advance :)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Phoebe! I would first ask why it’s important for you to have her follow you back. I think it’s great that she replied to your comment on her instastory, maybe she didn’t know it was you though – if she’s insta famous blogger than she might just have a lot to respond to. You could also tell her, ps, not sure if you remember me, but…. and reintroduce yourself. It allows her to make that decision on her own without any awkwardness if she doesn’t want to. And I wouldn’t have feelings hurt if she doesn’t follow you back, some bloggers follow certain accounts to interact with for business and she might have a personal account you can connect with instead. Either way, you should follow her because you genuinely care and want to support her without any obligations on her end to reciprocate. xx

  • Polly

    Haha you really? There are people who put time and emotion in thinking who is following them? Wow.. I unfollowed 90% of my fb friends because they post crap and my time is too prescious to be wasted, and I don’t care about their babies , diet #1000, journey #2000, getting drunk on weekends or political views. But! I am amazed by that article and the amount of time and thinking put into such otherwise clear and unquestionable topic.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Polly, I understand the unfollow feed on Facebook to curate your overloaded feed. The example I’m using is unfriend on Facebook or unfollow on Instagram by a TRUE real friend you talk to regularly, see, and in this case would assume you’d like to see their feed of their life – babies, parties, journey and all. Acquaintances are different than friends – and I pointed out in this post to not take those unfollows personally. This post is one of my most popular so it does matter to many, and perhaps you landed here from your own Google search? If it matters to some, it matters to me to write about my experience to help others know it’s OK, and to handle any feelings of rejection in a positive way. I am here to put encouragement out into the world ♥ Thanks for being here.

  • Theresa

    OMG THIS happened to me tonight. The wife of a LONGTIME friend, like decades old friend. We were literally in the middle of planning a lunch date through instagram. My IG is set up for business and I follow less than 50 people there – it’s an influencer marketing thing – she must have realized midway through our convo that I don’t follow her back on instagram so when I came online to check that our lunch time suited her I realized not only did she block me on instagram, but FACEBOOK too. We WERE facebook friends until this same moment in time. I realize, since I don’t even have her number in my phone, it just isn’t that important to me after all, and it is kind of petty someone would go to the lengths of blocking a human being over being unfollowed on instagram. I did message her back like “Hey not sure what happened, did you block me, anyway 2PM on Thursday is great!” just in case she made a mistake or somehow can see my response, and that, is kind of funny.

    • Theresa

      I should note – I was the one that unfollowed – but it wasn’t malicious. I just have my instagram set up so that I follow the least amount of people possible. I don’t even follow cousins, family members or best buddies there on instagram. I gradually have been unfollowing everyone on Insta- kinda like Oprah does. (Oprah follows no one on instagram) I have had a few people bristle but I message them on Facebook (where I still have everyone) or via text right away and I let them know the deal – It’s not a personal thing, it’s just I use my IG for business and influencer marketing purposes. This case, was different. The woman took it so badly that not only did she block me on IG (amid our lunch date planning) but she also blocked me on Facebook so I had no way of contacting her. If we were close enough that I had her number, I would have just called her up, but not having her physical phone number made me realize that this situation just doesn’t matter and I should chalk it up to her being offended that I unfollowed her on Instagram. There was literally no reason I unfollowed her other than it’s for influencer marketing/business reasons.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Yikes, well if you didn’t have her phone number then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. You could reach out to your longtime friend and tell him so you can communicate it to her, but I would have assumed if she saw your number following drop that she would know what was happening. I personally don’t block people/friends/acquaintances who unfollow me it seems a bit petty and so over the top to do that! But, everyone handles their emotions differently. If you run into her just let her know what happened and be the bigger person, this all sounds like a big misunderstanding. Wish you could clear it up but it sounds like she’s really hurt right now, it might be best to give it time. xx

  • Kazia

    Hi, this morning I just found out that a girl I kinda talked to back in middle school unfollowed me. And I KNOW it was personal because she unfollowed my backup too. I was so annoyed, so I unfollowed her back. It makes me feel bad but then again I never liked her pictures but she never liked mine either. I just wanna know why is this happening? I feel like something is spreading about me or something? or people just don’t like me anymore? My self esteem went so low from this.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Kazia, they say if it won’t matter in 5 years don’t spend more than 5 minutes on it. This won’t matter in 5 years. Just unfollow her and move on, it still happens even when you’re an adult. Self worth isn’t defined by others and you said you kinda talked to in middle school and you haven’t liked her photos and she hasn’t liked yours, why put so much emphasis on it. Trust me this won’t matter. :) Keep your head up xx

  • J

    Actually, I didn’t Google anything.

    And really, all you have is a flippant remark? Must have hit a nerve.

    My point was it’s not necessary to do so much analysis about why someone unfollowed you. Just unfollow them back, and move on with your life. It’s just social media, right?

    • Diana Elizabeth

      No nerve hit. Just wondering how you landed here if it didn’t seem like you needed this post. :)

      This post is written for situations where a real-life friend unfollows. Acquaintances aren’t a big deal, had many of those unfollow me. I believe a phone call is necessary when a forever friend unfollows, a call is a kind gesture I don’t think it’s needy if you are calling out of a true concern. Unfortunately I have heard of friendships ending because of unfollows on social – it’s crazy but it happens.

      Women and men think differently – sometimes I wish I could think like a man. My husband would agree with you.

  • J

    When someone unfollows, unfollow back and move on. The phone call suggestion and example is bad advice. It just makes you seem needy and is likely the reason the person left.

    Honestly, I don’t know why people analyze these situations to death. It’s a better use of time to cultivate real-life friendships, and then social media doesn’t matter so much.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Interesting J, considering you must have googled “what to do when a friend unfollows you” to make you land on this post? :)

  • Layla

    I had just transferred into a new school and I had a couple of people from my old school following me. But when I transferred into my new school, 2 people have unfollowed me. They never really spoke to me in person, but they have dmed me before and liked one or two of my pictures. When one of them just recently unfollowed me, I disabled my account. I’ve been losing followers everyday. I feel like part of it is because I haven’t posted and kept the photo there instead of archiving it since last summer. But that’s simply because I can’t get a good photo! And when I have tried posting, it wouldn’t get any likes or 20 likes or lower in an hour and it was embarrassing because I have a lot of people that know certain people following me. I don’t know if that’s why people I know have been following me, or I thought it was because they don’t like me. It really hurt my feelings.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Layla, thanks for your comment. I’m going to assume you are fairly young, so I want to give you some wisdom as an elder who has already gone through school and the pressures of being liked :) You don’t need to worry about followers or likes – or how many you have or get. And you don’t need to worry about what others think, no one cares and that’s not what you should focus on anyway. And anyone who does care about other’s social media needs to get off it and play outside, find some other hobbies and forget about social :) Don’t let unfollowers discourage you. I get like 15 unfollows a day. Whatever! I’d rather have people follow me who care than those who don’t, as the saying goes, Bye Felicia! And with the IG algorithm now, IG shows to a few people at a time, it takes a photo 2, sometimes 3 days to be visible in people’s feeds. And you need to post for YOU not for other people. If you are finding that your feelings are getting hurt, it might be best to disable social media and focus on your new school, new friends, summer time, and the life you are living off social media. I think it will be good for you and I also promise this stuff won’t matter in 1, 5, 10 years from now. Don’t let your expectations of how people should treat you get you down. The world is full of people who won’t do what you wish they would do, but also just know that people on social media aren’t true friends, they are acquaintances or peers. Your real friends won’t do that. Have a wonderful summer. xx

  • Julie Doud

    I have been unfollowed (obviously) and I also have intentionally unfollowed friends I decided to end my relationship with. Social Media is another realm where humans connect but without filters and etiquettes. We are left defenseless when shit is thrown at us and at times we are misunderstood because context or tone was lost in text or simply because that person is having a bad season and couldn’t handle your kitten post or simply they’re just selfish and entitled and feel that your posts should cater to her feelings and interest. Some of us think it’s okay to express opinions when clearly in your face, they can’t. Bottom line… if you have the app, delete it.

  • Tanya

    Thank you so much for this post! I had just recently taken up a position leading a community organization and as a kind gesture, I followed all our new recruits. This was in part out of genuine want to be friends, and in part because one of our goals for this year is having a close and tightknit team. One of the recruits followed my co-leader back but not me, and I couldn’t help but feel some kind of sting and a little bit of rejection. I was considering unfollowing but knew as the year commenced we would get to know each other, and it’d only be another thing hanging in the air and would not set a good tone for the year. I was quite about to let those feelings of rejection get the best of me but what you shared from your friends’ advice really spoke to me. I will continue to follow her just to keep up a good morale, and if she does not choose to follow me a year from now I can assume she was only interested in a colleague-like relationship. Thank you for helping bring about this moment of clarity!

  • CM

    I’m the guilty party in unfollowing someone. I unfollowed someone I knew casually because this person didn’t follow me or have any Instagram posts and they never interacted with me on Instagram or Facebook even though I supported and interacted with them.

    Immediately after I unfollowed them, they blocked me. At first I was confused because I didn’t understand why they would block me from an empty account but then I realized that I probably hurt their feelings.

    I didn’t intend to hurt their feelings but I’m not going to continually support someone who has never done the same for me and I’m certainly not going to be a number to make someone else’s account look good.

    So in the end I didn’t let it stress me out and kept on moving. Oddly enough this person is still on my Facebook friends list although they never so much as liked any of my posts either

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi CM! To me that seems like a warranted reason to unfollow someone, sometimes people take IG more seriously than FB. I can tell you some who have unfollowed me on IG are still connected on FB too, maybe it’s because they can unfollow but still stay connected but you can’t on IG? It’s just a bit crazy but I wouldn’t take it personally or feel bad either. If it’s not a mutual follow I’m not sure the other party can justify being upset, but that’s just me. Thanks for sharing your story. xx

  • Kim

    It’s wasnt an accident . My so-called good friend to my why I was unfollowed. But the question still remains, why not just unfriend me altogether, it’s the same thing. I believe it’s a form of manipulation

  • Kim

    I was unfollowed by a very good friend and I believe if a person can go to great lengths to unfollow a person, just go all out and unfriend them. That would seem much easier. It’s not fair that you have full access to peek into thier living room on your news feed but they’ve chosen to restrict themselves from your living room, ultimately leaving them as bystanders on thier behalf.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Kim, I get it, but sometimes I wonder if it’s an accident? If it’s a good friend do you ask them? I do ask for really good close friends, which has been twice. For the other times, casual friends or friend’s sisters, I don’t even bother. xx

    • Kim

      It wasn’t an accident . My so-called good friend to me why I was unfollowed. But the question still remains, why not just unfriend me altogether, it’s the same thing. I believe it’s a form of manipulation

  • Jonathan

    Brilliant post! Not always easy to take these things with grace but it’s usually not on us to carry it. The person who unfollowed is going through thoughts or feelings we just don’t know. Move on. They have. :)

  • Blackcat

    Great post.
    I’ve been unfollowed on IG by friend with whom I had intense relationship in last few years. We spent every weekend together, doing stuff we both enjoyed, published lot of photos where we were together etc. But life sometimes changes and gradually I couldn’t do much more of that activity in last few months. I personally have 2 profiles – one private and one for my business. ANd I realised she unfollowed me on my private profile. I was sad and insulted by that because I’m using mostly IG to share my moments and keep in touch and I would NEVER unfollow people I know & love, no matter how their posts look like. So I confronted her, and she said that she wants to use that account for business and that there’s nothing personal.. maybe I would expect that but my content there was 1.very relatable to the stuff she’s doing 2.says a lot about my life, more than FB or any other social network. I couldn’t accept that explanation because I can’t understand that she can’t have any interest in life of the person which she considers a friend, especially because we spent lot of time together posting on IG, I was promoting her and her work all thr time, was proud for her and supportive. But she just decided to delete me from her system and I really don’t know why.. her explanation was really lame. So we’re not in contact any more. I was sad in the start but now I’m fine and trying to spend more time with ppl who seem to care more about me and my life, although we’re not seeing each othet that often.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Blackcat, I am so sorry to hear your story and how frustrating and hurtful that is. I just went through another unfollow by a very close and longtime friend and had to pretty much reach out and make the call. The answer didn’t (and never) makes much sense but it still showed I cared nonetheless. I think you’re right – time heals all wounds and it’s best to see someone’s character and how they feel about you and it allows you to give your time to those who you really care about you and support you. xo

  • Mellie

    I have unfollowed true friends, not because I didn’t care about them any longer, but because the majority of their posts were political and I don’t follow politics because it stresses me out. The point of that story is that it may not be about you, personally.

    • Meredith

      I think a friend who deeply cares for you will choose to block a post rather than unfollow you completely. Sometimes we use social media to reach out for help and if you unfollow this good friend you may not hear their cries. Good friends deserve forgiveness and should feel free to be authentic.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Meredith, I think the same. You can choose to not see an image any longer, but if we unfollow we miss out on being a friend, and severing a friendship should be the last thing we think about regarding social media, no matter what they post.

    • Avinash

      True. U said well.

  • Don

    I give up, what’s Instagram?


  • Angela Kim

    A great topic. I used an app for my IG which I consider part personal/part business and when I didn’t know how to use it properly, I accidentally unfollowed a close friend. She later called and asked why and I told her I’m so sorry, it wasn’t intentional and it was a honest mistake done by a third party app. I felt really bad I may have hurt her feelings but also know where my heart is. I don’t know if that friendship truly recovered from that – and I’m now seeing a lot of real life friendships being affected by social media being used for business. Then I think about opening a personal account but then its too time-consuming, you know? I wish there was an easier way to blend the two, especially for us bloggers. Either way I believe true friendships won’t be affected by social media.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Thanks for sharing your story Angela! That’s really hard and unfortunate you felt like the relationship never recovered. Hopefully one day she’ll realize it was an accident and it’s just social media and your heart and actions will show it wasn’t on purpose. xx


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