Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Is it Time for a Friendectomy?

Is it Time for a Friendectomy?

[NOTE TO READER: Every so often I feel compelled to rant. Today is one of those times. And since I was sitting down to write today's blog post, I felt it might be a very good time to let loose. So while this is lightly connected to my normal blogging style, I will feel much better after I get this off my chest. I hope you do too.]

Can you really have 500 friends? REALLY?

I'm not sure about you, but the last time I checked the number of people I would actually recognize if I met them on the street was nowhere near 500.

Then why do I think that I could possibly have 500 close contacts in my LinkedIn, beBee or Facebook account? Especially if I'm in the tech industry.

ff163db3.pngWe come from an industry where people like Sheldon of Big Bang Theory can exist and pass for normal, in a strange kind of way. While bright and brilliant, we didn't get to be so good at programming, or troubleshooting networks, or building systems by being party animals. Let's face it. There were likely kids in school who were WAY more social than we were.

If you were like me, you had a close group of friends, that shared common interests, like standing with your back to the wall at the school dance (I'M JOKING!!!), but more likely was the group who knew about, and ran every bit of available technology at your high school.

So I find it interesting how Social Media has removed the barrier for those of us who kept close to a small group in school, are now suddenly compelled to link up with everyone who wants to be our friend on Facebook or LinkedIn? Are we secretly trying to make up for all those times that [insert rejection event here]?

Today's Social Media pundits would tell you that more is better. We are hoarding friends to the point of ridiculous. And we let this behaviour spill over into our professional lives.

Let's make a key differentiation here... There is a difference in having a great network of professional contacts - people you have done business with, and making connections with anyone and everyone. How in the world do you possibly keep up with the updates?

I say it's time for a Friendectomy. Go through your contact list in LinkedIn and Facebook (and even beBee) and delete those who are only mere acquaintances. Keep those with whom you are in regular contact with, and who's updates will mean something to you - for example, they are friends of friends, in a similar role, or are genuinely interesting people.

You can't maintain a genuine relationship with 500 people. Don't accept invitations from anyone you don't know. Respectfully decline. There are other ways to connect with you.

If Social Media is about relationships, then make them genuine relationships.

When I see people on LinkedIn with over 500 connections, it could mean they will accept anybody's request for a connection, and thereby lose all the personal and professional value that Social Media can provide. It also sends a message to me that they are not really concerned with me, but rather that I am the means to increase their friend count, or IMO a prospect to immediately pitch a product or service.

Disclaimer - I now have over 500 LinkedIn connections, but as I go through them, they fit my critera above.  In actuality, many of them are followers who seem to like my postings.

You can still connect with acquaintances, but use more appropriate tools, like Twitter, or a blog.

For genuine engagement, I've found the affinity aspect of beBee useful to develop more than a 👍 type of relationship.  I've developed a cadre of curmudgeons and thinkers who like to engage around ideas, and spin wonderful tales of their worlds.


I feel better.

You may not agree with me, but that's ok.

That's what the comment section is for.


About the Author:

26282a6b.jpgI’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology. I'm also a beBee Brand Ambassador.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at 

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Louise Smith

4 years ago #37

According to the Attentional Economic Theory, people cannot enlarge their friendship networks forever because - people must pay attention to maintain friends - people’s attention is limited. There appear to be two kinds of friendships in a personal friendship network: 1. active friendships and 2.inactive friendships. If people inactivate some of their old friends, they would save time for their new friends and would have time to make new friends. Thorngate, W. (1988). On Paying Attention. In n W. Baker, L. Mos, H. Van Rappard, & H. Stam (Eds.), Recent trends in theoretical psychology (pp. 247-264). New York: Springer-Verlag. You also might like to consider that we may need to detach from frenemies who use emotional manipulation to cause us distress.

Sara Jacobovici

4 years ago #36

Thanks for once again writing a great post and provoking a great discussion Kevin Pashuk. I don't think I smile as much reading and learning from a post and the comments as I do on yours. As far as whether I get the cut or not, I won't even ask. I'll just share an anecdote about my dad (of blessed memory - tonight is the anniversary of his passing). My dad never liked the "social games" of his circle of "friends". He was a very social fellow, an extrovert and storyteller, but he put up with the society stuff because my mom enjoyed the involvement. So, when there would be a holiday or event dinner at our home and we needed to schedule two concurrent nights to accommodate all the friends, my dad used to welcome the group and say, "We are very lucky to have the number of friends we do and to be able to share with everyone, we had to divide you into two groups; the "sympatic" (Romanian version of "sympatico") and those who are not." Then he would stop and carry on about something else, never telling the group present, which one they were....and no one asked!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #35

I agree. Just say when, Kevin Pashuk!

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #34

Thanks for sharing Christine. We do treat each platform differently.

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #33

Yes, exactly. Sort of like that who wants to be a millionaire game show. Kinda irritating.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #32

Thanks Harvey... I know that being a Raging Introvert affects my perspective of such things as relationships... Didn't Susan Cain say that introverts have fewer relationships, but those they have are deeper? I'm not sure that 'friendectomy' will hit the DSM 5, but Aaron Skogen's 'connectectomy' might, since it sounds more scientific and is hard to pronounce.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #31

I wonder Wayne, if a button was labelled 'ZAP!', whether anyone would ever push it. In the old days when I used to program... we always built in a "Are You Sure?" message for the terminator function. In one case I even followed the "Are You Sure?" with a "Are You REALLY Sure??" message. ... but I suppose that it is better to have LI'd and lost, than to never have LI'd at all.

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #30

Enjoying many of your posts and commentary you have let the cat out of the bag. You have posted and commented on your introvert status and i share that same title. This generally means the word "relationship" has a much deeper meaning than our extroverted cousins. A thicker criteria we could say. We tend to sense a obligation in a connection most other don't. I enjoyed this post as always, friendectomy is new condition/procedure we can count on hitting the DSM 5 in a few years.

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #29

Brian McKenzie -- LI has a "delete account" button. It's pretty drastic and once it is clicked - zap - everything is gone. I know at least one person who did that accidentally. Now he has to start all over. I am not ready to do that (yet). . .

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #28

Thanks Aaron. I did try to say 'connectectomy' three times quickly... it didn't work.

don kerr

4 years ago #27

Sure. If I survive the cut! Kevin Pashuk

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #26

Hey Brian! Thanks for commenting. I've heard it said that Social Media is like putting your hand in a bucket of water. Things are moving when your hand is in the bucket, but pull it out and see what kind of impression you left... It's amazing how much the interaction drops when you are away from social media for any time. It's a very much 'in the moment' world. Sad is the person who's only friends are online. I guess that's another one of the points I was trying to make.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #25

Even with your broad criteria for following, you are right Sir Ken that there is still lots of activity. Like you, I am more ruthless, mainly because it's too easy to cross over to the point where you should be doing other important things... like work, or family, or out taking pictures.... And thanks for the ear worm (he said somewhat sarcastically, given that I work in education, but I am a PF fan)... We don't need no education We don't need no thought control No dark sarcasm in the classroom Teachers leave them kids alone! Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all it's just another brick in the wall. All in all you're just another brick in the wall. (Pink Floyd - Another brick in the wall)

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #24

I'm with you, Kev. I now only 'follow' and respond to 'follow requests' from those with whom I've had some on-line interaction and with whom I have some apparent affinity. Sounds very 'friendectomous' but the Wall's getting way too busy and we all need ways to control what we see in our feed. I'm now more ruthless about deleting posts and muting those with whom I have no affinity. So many posts, so little time! As for Titanics like LI, I took to the lifeboats a long time ago, instead of constantly bitching about how far it's leaning over and trying to shuffle the deck chairs on the iced-up sun deck. So snip away my friend and enjoy your time in the sun! 😊

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #23

I must have spent too long in the 'bush' Nichole... I've never heard of a 'harem guy' before. I think the point I'm trying to make is that the process of collecting 'friends' isn't what social media is for, but to find *friends* to engage with. Thanks for commenting.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #22

The 'Only' friend Paul? If I were you, I'd broaden my horizons. I'm sure that living in Bali would create a whole bunch of 'friends', especially in the Canadian winter months, just like owning a pickup truck gets you all kinds of 'friends' at the end of the month when people are moving.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #21

Thanks Franci. You are one of the anchors here on the English side of beBee. You hit the nail on the head with the word 'engagement'.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #20

#11 Phil and Pascal... I have to admit that I looked for a photo with the biggest pair of scissors... I'm a bit cruel like that.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #19

Don't worry Renée... I won't leave... and you've just shown the power of beBee. How would you know all those things about me if you only saw one facet (personal or business) that the other social networks provide? I do think it's time for another meeting of the Kerr Street Cafe Coffee Klatch Club... Right Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr?

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #18

Great observations Wayne. You could create a new post based on your comments. I personally find that LI has primarily generated product and service solicitations more than it has provided great engagement. I'm not writing it (or FB) off any time soon. I do find that the professional and personal relationships I've developed on beBee through affinity are stronger than anything EVER generated on LI or FB.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #17

Thanks Javier! If social media is about developing relationships, then having dozens of *friends* doesn't help. As many have pointed out in the comments here, having a broad audience is also important if you are a blogger and a writer. beBee actually lets you have both - friends and a broad audience.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #16

Trust me Pascal, I'm a professional. It won't hurt (me).

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #15

Thanks Jim. I do agree that having a big audience for your writing is important. Isn't that why we moved to beBee... to avoid the algorithm? But 'collecting' friends doesn't do much more than create a huge time sinkhole and lets you be distracted from important things. Thanks for the kind words... if you want I could always throw some Canadian cursing such as "mon Dieu, tabernac!" or "Jesus Murphy!" into the rant next time.

Paul Walters

4 years ago #14

Kevin Pashuk Kevin !!! Put those bloody scissors are the only friend I have !!!!!!

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #13

Wasn't that covered in a Seinfeld episode?

Dear John - whoops I mean Kevin. Please don't leave me - sniff. I agree some connections are fair-weather connections BUT I feel that some are around for a reason and that is to help them connect with others. It's camaraderie in a lot of cases. With that said, to have connections to show quantity doesn't impress me - it's the quality. My WordPress connections are overwhelming and I had to make some rules for me, myself and I. If they are not active in engaging with my posts, I can turn off the receipt of their email, but I am still following them. It works well. So here's to ya - 🍺🍺

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #11

just reading this makes me uncomfortable ...ouch I am going to bed now :-)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #10

#2 Just for the record, most Jewish men I know have an ingrained phobia of scissors and clipping. :-)

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #9

Nicely said, Jim.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #8

Don't leave me, Kevin, please!!! I have very few real friends (mostly by design), but I like you, and you live nearby and you take really cool pictures, and you play the guitar and you are really smart, and you write really well, too. I'll probably never have an IT question that needs to be answered, and I am sure you don't give a flying fig about PR or marketing communications, but I like you just the same. :)

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #7

Part 2 .... affinity aspect we have here on beBee. Second is the precautionary thing -- I mention this post in my workshops. It's about being careful about accepting anybody and everybody by my friend Bruce Johnston -- BUT - here is "the thing" and I think we agree on this part: Having a great big network is good only if you interact with them - otherwise it is just a "badge" of non-significance, it just means your profile is a database of useless information. All the data is no good until it is used for - something. One of my LinkedIn mentors often randomly calls a connection while driving to work. Nothing special, it's his way of staying in touch with the people in his network. Although my fellow Bees are small in number, I feel much closer to all of my beBee connections than just about anyone on LinkedIn - and that is saying a lot. Now I have to look into that can of nuts . . . .

Wayne Yoshida

4 years ago #6

Thanks for sharing your frustrations, Kevin Pashuk. The timing is great, because I was thinking about the same thing last week when one of my LinkedIn workshop participants asked the question about "quantity vs quality" in a network. Having so many connections/friends/contacts or whatever - means there has to be some non-friends mixed in. Sort of like a can of Mixed Nuts vs a can of Cashews. I ask why or what is the big deal about how many connections one has. And there are two maybe three things in my mind. First, what is the purpose of connecting with someone? On LinkedIn, more connections are good because of the way things work inside the clunky website/database we call LinkedIn. A wide network is good because of the people you know may have other friends that may be helpful - the second and third degree connections. (Kevin Bacon Game). As we all know, this is changing, and people are seeing this. Knowing someone or someone that knows someone **can** be a good way to "break into" a company, to get an inside view or get work/career-related advice. But it does lack an "affinity" aspect we have. Oops. Need a Part 2.

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #5

"Friends"... I think about FB.... " Business Contacts".... I think about LI ...... "Deeper professional relationships".... I think about BB When I see a scissors I wonder why FB & LI cut your reach LOL

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #4

This is an expression of good, common sense, from Kevin Pashuk. I tend to think the larger "personal" networks work when the people involved are profession- or industry-specific contacts and part of watching notices about them is about keeping up with what's going on in your business sector. But we should not delude ourselves into thinking that one can have a thousand real friends, or even five hundred, for that matter.

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #3

Kevin Pashuk this is a good advise ! "Keep those with whom you are in regular contact with, and who's updates will mean something to you".

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #2

does a Friendectomy hurt ? :-)

Jim Murray

4 years ago #1

Hey...I get the first comment. That wasn't such a rant as it was a truth telling, Kev. But I agree. About 18 months ago, I had more than 3000 'friends' on Facebook. Turns out a lot of them were assholes. So I basically closed my account for 5 days then opened another one under JJ Murray, and cherry picked from the list that FB sent me when I closed my account. I now have 111 friends (probably more than I should), zero assholes, and the ability to actually scroll through everybody's posts in a relatively short span of time. All in all, a much more gratifying SM experience. On LinkedIn, I accept anybody and everybody, because the more people who follow me there the bigger my blog audience is. It's not about being all up close and personal with them. It's about being the alternative to the BS of posting anything on LI Pulse. And you know what? works. Good post Kevin Pashuk. You dragged a long comment out of me, so you should be very pleased with yourself. really was the most civilized rant I may have ever read. And that's a tribute to the real human being who is you, my friend.

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