Facebook is the place all of us meet online everyday to share viral videos, waste time at work or actually meet new people. But regardless of if your network is big or small, we all have the same thing: those annoying Facebook friends who are troublemakers. They start fights every day, either by posting hot topics or by commenting on posts to create drama online. They’re annoying at best and bullying at worst. So why do we have these people on our friends lists if they create so much tension for us online?
Turns out that most of us are keeping these cyber brats around for one reason: to avoid offline conflict with friends and family. Sarah Buglass, a PhD student in the UK, did a broad study and found that overwhelmingly, and across all age ranges and genders, people tend not to unfriend those who create drama or start fights for fear of the offline repercussions with family or workmates. In her study of over 5,000 people, those who created the most online drama were also the most popular or well known offline, so simply deleting them or reporting their posts could create real-world problems for you. She also found that women were more likely to report abusive or bullying behavior on Facebook, and men generally were more likely to use bullying language.
Her findings aren’t that far off, either. In a study in 2012, it was reported that teens who got into Facebook fights had those carry over into real life 25 percent of the time, and of those, 8 percent lead to actual physical fights. So much for leaving the drama online.
While we understand why people keep these digital troublemakers around, we highly recommend putting them on limited profile and unfollowing them so that you can save that drama for a llama.
How do you deal with online fights? Tell us @BritandCo!
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