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DENVER - We often laugh off being unfriended on Facebook, but the palpable sense of rejection after such a social media loss is deeply felt, leaving us to wonder why.
Previous research into the psychology of Facebook finds that users are unfriended for racist and sexist remarks, religion, and politics. A study from University of Colorado Denver wanted to know the types of people who are most frequently unfriended. They came up with 15 Facebook archetypes like "romantic partner" and "neighbor", but determined that the three most unfriended Facebook users are "high-school friend", "friend-of-a-friend", and "work friend."
Research found that most of us become Facebook friends with high-school pals as a means of "social surveillance"; an other whom we can compare ourselves to. Americans unfriend these high-school acquaintances at a higher frequency than any other type, usually because of polarizing posts relating to politics and religion.
Work friends are the third-most unfriended on Facebook. The most-common cause of this unfriending: offline arguments in the workplace.