Tuesday 20 February 2018

Wellbeing | Why Unfollowing Can Be Healthy

The power of the unfollow poster, iphone 8 with instagram, book, glasses and fresh flowers

In a modern world full of social media, where communication should be improving, I actually think it's going a little backwards. People don't engage or interact with each other as much these days and it's too easy to get lost in a world where follower count is king.

I realised recently that I'm friends/following a load of people on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram that I don't even really feel comfortable enough to wish them a happy birthday, even though I do. It feels awkward because we only ever exchange words twice a year. It sounds crazy but I actually feel more comfortable commenting on an influencers birthday post and wishing them a great day despite never having met them.

Types of Follower

There are different types of following out there which I don't think are particularly healthy but that we are all guilty of.

There is the love-to-hate follow. Where the person you're following winds you up or gets on your nerves but you love to follow them anyway.

There's the ex follow. When you follow ex-friends or boyfriend/girlfriends because you wanted to take the moral high road and insist you could still be friends but in reality you use the follow to see if you think you're doing better than them, or not. I know we are all guilty of this.

There's the obligatory follow. Where you only follow because you feel you have to.

I've followed people because I felt I had to, too many times. I used to follow someone who I didn't particularly get along with and who I knew was being bitchy and nasty behind my back, but I still followed like a good little sheep. Indirect posts would go up, which wouldn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out who they were about, and they made me feel shitty. Why was I following this? This wasn't healthy or good. In the end I cracked and actually confronted the person on what they were doing and promptly unfollowed  and it was such a relief and weight off my shoulders.

iphone 8 with RachelEmily__ instagram, glasses and the power of the unfollow poster in copper frame

Reasons why you should unfollow

You shouldn't be following people just to make them happy... if it's making you unhappy. Your unhappiness should be reason enough to click that unfollow button. Practice some self-love.

You should click that unfollow button if their content doesn't interest you anymore. Simple as that. Our interests change and that doesn't make you a bad person, it means your growing and recognise that.

Nobody wears jealousy or hate well. Nobody. If you're following someone's content and it's making you feel hateful or jealous, i'd go for the unfollow. There is enough media and marketing out there for us to fall into the comparison trap that we can't control. Why are we putting up with content that we can control?


I think we should all be following the people who we love and who inspire us. People who's content we adore and want to actively engage with. It should make our fingers itch to double-tap. Encourage us to hold down on facebook to 'haha' instead of just 'like'. We should be wanting to comment despite the shitty algorithms.

The Power of Unfollow poster in copper frame, fresh white roses and lilac stocks, glasses, ballet poster and iphone 8 with instagram open flaylay

The New Normal

I recently went on a bit of an unfollow spree. Before Christmas I looked at my following list and went through every single account. I wanted friends, family and accounts which represented inspiration and positivity to fill my feeds in 2018 and to banish negativity. My feeds are now full of the people that I want to be seeing, the news I want to read about and the down-right dreamy images that inspire my wardrobe, travel choices and beauty-buys. I now really enjoy my feeds. All of them.

To make sure I get what I want from social media, in particular Instagram, I've also turned on the notifications for my favourite influencers, family and friends so that I don't miss the posts I really want to see. 

Coincidentally during my spree, I found that there seemed to be a fair few instagram accounts in there who I hadn't chosen to follow and that some key people were missing including one of my closest friends. I've heard whispers that this has happened to others too, so it might be worth checking this too. It wasn't just the algorithm that stopped me seeing what I wanted to see.

I wont lie. I did get some backlash. Some people, a minority, decided that my unfollow made me a bad person. I got DM's asking why I'd done it and why I was being 'cruel'. Why was I 'betraying' them and why I was trying to unfollow but keep them following me. It made me a 'snake'.

In fact I simply unfollowed them not to be cruel or to slither around as a snake but to be kinder to me. If they unfollowed me because of it, well quite honestly, they weren't a genuine follower anyway. This whole follow-unfollow game is ridiculous.

You don't have to follow anyone. 

You don't have to allow anyone to follow you. 

I'd love to know if you've ever done a following cleanse, how did it make you feel? Do you follow people because you feel you have to, or because it's too awkward not to?

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