I'm sure I've been unfriended on Facebook, I just haven't paid enough attention to realize it. Lots of other people, apparently, take the friend-purging act very personally.
A study conducted by Christopher Sibona, a doctoral student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School, shows the practice of unfriending a Facebook buddy can have some very real consequences in the physical world.
Sibona conducted a survey of 582 people over Twitter. He found that 40 percent of the respondents said they would avoid in real life anyone who unfriended them on Facebook. Women were more likely to use avoidance tactics than men.
The study found a handful of factors that lead to the real-life avoidance. These include if the emotional response to the unfriending was extremely negative, if the unfriended person believed it had something to do with offline behavior, and if the relationship trouble was discussed before the unfriending took place.
As Chris Matyszczyk writes on CNET News, there's a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg question cropping up here. Was the relationship already beyond salvaging when the unfriending occurred, or was the unfriending event the final nail that put an end to real-world contact as well? There may never be an easy answer to that.
How personally do you take a Facebook unfriending? Is it enough to avoid that person out in the physical world? Vote in our poll and discuss your reaction in the comments.