How to hang onto your Facebook friends

Posted by Emma Woollacott

If you're wondering why someone's unfriended you on Facebook, it's probably because you've posted something that's upset them.

NM Incite asked 1,895 adults who use social media about why they added or removed friends, and found that offensive comments are a factor in 55 percent of friend deletions.

Not knowing someone well accounts for 41 percent, and 39 percent of people say they've become fed up with somebody for trying to sell them something.

People trying to stay on the right side of their Facebook friends should also avoid posting depressing or political posts and make sure they interact - although updating their profile too often was also a factor for six percent.

The reasons for friending someone in the first place are clearer - in eight out of ten cases it's because they know one another in real life.

Mutual friends account for six out of ten, business networks 11 percent - and physical attractiveness eight percent. Seven percent - mostly men - confessed they were just trying to increase their friend count.

There were clear differences between men and women, in the study, with men more likely to friend people because of mutual friends and unfriend them because of sales pitches; maybe they get more of these than women, because they're also more likely to friend people to expand their business contacts.

"Research indicates that men are more likely to use social media for careers/networking and dating – while women use social media for a creative outlet, to get coupons/promos or to give positive feedback," says NM Incite.

"More men add friends based on business networks or physical attractiveness, and women are more likely to friend based on knowing someone in real life or remove them due to offensive comments."