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Saskatchewan man breaking up with over 500 Facebook friends via phone calls
Photo by Burak Kostak from Pexels.

Saskatchewan man breaking up with over 500 Facebook friends via phone calls

James Avramenko is breaking up with his Facebook friends—all 550 of them.

As reported by CBC, the Saskatoon man’s online purge has so far consisted of a former boss, a groomsman and a classmate from elementary school who he has “dumped” over the phone.

“People kind of have a little bit of a freak out, at first, because they think that means I don’t like them or I don’t want to be friends,” he told the CBC.

After coming to the conclusion that his online friendships were superficial, largely based on liking and scrolling through filtered moments in cyberspace, the 32-year-old decided he would leave the social network behind him and attempt to work on his relationships in the real world.

“I say, tongue in cheek, that I’m trying to lose all my friends, but I’m actually trying to get them back in a more mindful way.”

Avramenko said during his phone calls with the Facebook friends he makes an effort to have a one-hour conversation with each person. Together they reflect on the past, present and determine the future direction of their friendship outside of Facebook.

Using the recordings of his one-hour phone calls, he also decided he would start a podcast he’s dubbed Friendless.

Avramenko has already removed 30 friends off his profile and has 527 to go.

Alec Couros, a professor at University of Regina who teaches about information and communication technologies told the CBC that like Avramenko, many people are attempting to be more thoughtful about the way they use social media platforms.

He said it’s been a trend to fight against platforms, designed to be addictive and institute a sort of societal pressure to be constantly connected online.

But Couros said research by Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist, has suggested humans are only able to maintain up to 150 meaningful relationships at a time – in cyberspace or real life.

Recent work by Dunbar looks at Facebook relationships specifically and found that the average Facebook user has only 14 “close” friends out of all their connections and only four they can depend on in a time of crisis.

While Avramenko said he will delete some people from his friend list without a break-up call if he doesn’t remember them, he has vowed to have a one hour conversation with a friend at least once a week.

The friendships may continue offline, but Avramenko said only time will tell.