Breaking Social Network Ties With Individuals

Breaking Social Network Ties With Individuals

Have you ever wanted to break a connection with someone on a social network and were reluctant to do so? Do you have connections that are causing problems in your network? Perhaps you have decided that you want to establish a smaller network. The issue is not the technical act of disconnecting, but how to do so responsibly. You have to decide whether you believe that reaching out to an individual is necessary.

Disconnecting from connections without notice

It is not bad form to simply disconnect without notice. Rarely, do individuals notify other individuals when they disconnect, and there is no social protocol that requires notification. In many networks, you can simply disconnect, and the affected individuals are not notified.

Think of disconnecting with someone as discontinuing your membership in a group. When you choose to leave a group, you probably do not notify the members before you take action. In theory, when you leave a group, you are disconnecting from the other members in that particular forum. When you disconnect from an individual in a social network, you are simply disconnecting from them in a larger forum.

Disconnecting from connections with notice

In some networks, individuals are notified when you disconnect. When you disconnect , your previous connection may be notified of your action in a very obvious manner or more discreetly. You may also decide that you want to notify your connection that you plan to disconnect.  Remember, that the very act of reaching out extends the length of time of your connection.

If you decide to provide notice you are under no obligation to provide the reason for your decision unless you choose to do so. You may be disconnecting because you are no longer in the same line of work, and continuing the connection will not be financially beneficial to either of you in the short-term. You may be simply paring down your number of connections. You may be concerned with the postings that your connection is making, etc.  Perhaps your connection is inundating you with requests to connect in many other forums, or perhaps he or she put you on an email blast list that you somehow cannot stop. You do not need a ‘good’ reason to disconnect. Connecting is your choice–disconnecting is also your choice.

If the individual is aware that you disconnected with him or her, and does not want to lose that connection, he or she will reach out to you and inquire why you disconnected in an attempt to re-establish the connection. You can then have a dialogue and decide if you want to reestablish the connection in that same venue, or in another manner, or not continue the relationship beyond that dialogue.

Whether you decide to provide notice or not, do not ponder for any length of time about the decision. Make it and move on.

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