A recent article examined why people connect online with people they dislike. Social media offers features that allows users to solicit and establish a friendship with barely acquainted individuals. This allows users to gain information about their superficial connections with whom they may not otherwise connect offline. Results from a study comprised of college students (N = 305) indicated that most (61%) of the Facebook users were ‘Facebook friends’ with people they disliked. Additionally, majority of the participants (85%) actively read postings of their online ‘friends’, albeit finding their postings annoying. Gender, relational anxiety, and intensity of Facebook use all independently predicted friending disliked people and actively reading annoying postings online. Specifically, being a female, having a higher Facebook use, or experiencing higher general relational anxiety increased the odds of friending disliked people on Facebook and reading annoying posts. The reasons listed for friending disliked people online included monitoring (55%), downward social comparison (i.e., self-enhancement by observing others’ misfortunes; 17%), entertainment (16%), and personal utility (16%). Thus, it is common that people engage in non-intuitive behaviors such as friending disliked people and reading annoying posting for strategic purposes.
Vendemia, M. A., High, A. C., & DeAndrea, D. C. (2017). “Friend” or foe? Why people friend disliked others on Facebook. Communication Research Reports, 34, 29-36. doi:10.1080/08824096.2016.1227778