Why It's Okay to Not Follow Back

We've all been there. Whether it be on twitter, instagram, tumblr, or some other social network...it happens daily. The U word: UNFOLLOW. Or, in some cases, you may have never been followed back at all. Crazy, right? We'll see.

Or maybe you're that terrible person (cue the trumpets) that doesn't follow everyone back. Maybe after a while, you unfollow certain people simply because you feel no need to have them on your feed anymore. How dare you, why would you ever do that?! Okay, let's keep talking.

Regardless, does it really matter? Is there anything wrong with unfollowing or not following back? Are there valid reasons to this? Let's discuss this more.

When somebody follows me and I don't follow back, that doesn't mean I don't like them or don't respect them. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the follow. Usually, it just means I can only follow so many people.

Sometimes, people I kind of "know in real life" follow me on instagram. And I think, "Aw, how nice. Hope they're doing well." I really respect that they want to keep up with me, and if I want to keep up with them, or if I feel we might connect again in the future, I'll follow them. However, most of the time, I don't follow back, considering 95% of the people I've never really even talked to. Quite frankly, there's no reason for me to keep up with their life. It's no hard feelings, I just don't want to be following thousands of people because I once had a 2 minute conversation with them a few years back.

In middle school and high school we might've had the urge to follow everyone we go to school with, even if we've only seen them walking in the hallway. But the real world is not like that, and social media is starting to become not only apart of our identities, but our careers.

So, yes, in some cases, we won't get followed back. It can hurt not being followed back sometimes, but why follow someone in the first place if your only concern is to get a follow back? Follow people who you genuinely want to keep up with. Friends, family, celebrities, bloggers, artists, photographers, whatever. Don't worry about the follow back! Live your life. If it really bothers you, you can click the unfollow button in less than a second.

There are certain people I will never unfollow. My brother, my mom, my boyfriend, my childhood best friends. The list goes on. I don't care if they become unactive or they spam my feed. Those are people I need to follow. However, not everyone gets that "get out of jail free" pass. If there's no benefit to me following you, I may need to respectfully click the unfollow button. Know your power on social media and don't abuse it!

I've been the victim of not being followed back before too. Sometimes, it can be quite confusing. You think, "What? They're not following me back? After all we've been through? But, I have more followers! But, I thought they liked me! But, I post better things than them!" This is where our silly little egos get in the way. It doesn't really matter how many followers you have or how pretty your feed is, some people aren't interested in following you and that's 100% okay.

On the other hand, accounts with more followers will follow me and unfollow when I don't follow back. This is another case where the 'online ego' get's in the way. Honestly, I don't care how many followers you have - I just wanna see business, inspiration, and close friends and family on my feed. Sorry not sorry, I guess?

Taylor Swift and Beyonce have MILLIONS of followers on all of their social media. They love and appreciate all their fans but they don't have the time to follow us all back. I know none of us have millions of active followers, but, hey! We don't have the time to dedicate our whole lives to this. It's okay not to follow somebody back. It's okay to get unfollowed. Think of it with no hard feelings, and if there's a special case that does have hard feelings - talk to the person about it. Getting confronted about this stuff can be super awkward sometimes, but it's what we have to deal with.

When it comes down to it, it's okay to unfollow or not follow someone back. If we followed everyone back, our feeds would be clogged with posts and we would never really get to see the posts we really want to see.

Listen to this and listen closely. Don't get caught up in this stuff. If you don't wanna follow somebody, don't sweat it. Be confident in your decision, and remember...IT'S JUST SOCIAL NETWORKING!

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind. Whether you are the follower or the unfollower, read on!

1. Don't let your 'online ego' get in the way. It doesn't matter how many followers and likes you have. It doesn't matter how "quality" the content you post is. Don't follow somebody and automatically expect them to follow you back.

2. Realize it's just social networking. This is the most important tip I can give you. I would much rather go out to coffee and talk to someone then have them follow me on social networking. Although technology is growing, it doesn't define who we are and our feelings. Don't sweat it.

3. Maybe they didn't notice you followed them. This happens a lot, and it's okay. Don't whine about it, get over it. If it bothers you, let them know. Sometimes you see someone everyday and it can be weird if they're not following you. Regardless, don't let it own your thoughts!

4. Sometimes, we accidentally unfollow/follow. It happens. I've accidentally unfollowed somebody before and didn't follow them back because I thought it would be too awkward. And I know twitter is constantly updating their website so it's even easier to accidentally follow/unfollow, favorite, or retweet. Oops!

5. Sometimes, they don't know you. Yes, some accounts don't care about your online presence. They just wanna follow close friends and family. I'll be honest here, I've been followed by people who I know of in real life, but didn't follow them back because I've never really talked to them. No point in me following. That doesn't mean I don't like or respect them - I just don't need to see their family photos and pictures of their dinner. Moving on.

6. Talk to them. If you're really concerned about it, just let them know and they'll tell you! In a lot of cases, they will be cowardly and awkward about it - making things up because they know they did wrong. In some, they'll be straight up and tell you like it is. And a whole lot of the time, it's an accident. Regardless of the outcome, it's usually never that bad. Tell them.

Don't get caught up in this stuff. It's okay to not be followed back. It's okay to not follow back. Breathe in, breathe out.