A Dirty Little Secret of Facebook Friends

If you unfriend someone on Facebook, beware! You could lose that person's real-life friendship, too.

Researchers from the University of Colorado discovered that fully 40 percent of those surveyed say they would avoid real-life contact with someone who unfriended them on Facebook, reports HealthDay News. And women are more likely than men to avoid those who unfriend them.

"People think social networks are just for fun, but ... what you do on those sites can have real-world consequences," says study author Christopher Sibona, who arrived at his conclusions after receiving 600 responses to a survey he posted on Twitter.

Specifically, six factors predicted whether people would avoid a person who unfriended them:

    1. If the person who did the unfriending discussed the event later.

    2. If the unfriended person had an extremely negative emotional response.

    3. If the unfriended person believed the action was because of their offline behavior.

    4. If relationship trouble was discussed prior to the unfriending.

    5. How strong the person valued the relationship before the unfriending.

    6. The geographical distance between the two.

"The No. 1 predictor was whether the person who said the relationship was over talked about it to someone else," Sibona said. "Talking to someone is a public declaration that the friendship is over."

--From the Editors at Netscape

News, Photo and Web Search