THE BLOG
09/28/2012 03:37 pm ET Updated Nov 28, 2012

Facebook: The Perils of Unfriending

Danny Rubin writes the blog News to Live By and can be followed on Twitter @NewsToLiveBy

One of these days you swear you're going to do it.You'll log into Facebook, head straight for your list of friends and start deleting people.You know, the girl you haven't talked to since middle school. The random dude you met at a party who you haven't spoken to in five years.The person you haven't seen in so long that you forgot how you met in the first place.

Recently, one blogger compared deleting people to a crash diet. He even called it a "Facebook cleanse."Getting your house in order is a great idea--except on social media.

The web has made us so interconnected and accessible that to delete people from your online world could harm you personally and professionally. Here’s why:

Every person you delete on Facebook is one less networking opportunity down the road. Life happens in funny ways. Out of nowhere, you could suddenly need a person you haven’t heard from in a decade.
For example, you’re in the job market and looking at accounting firms. You go to your list of Facebook friends, use the “search by workplace” option and find that Lauren, your old pal from 7th grade Social Studies, works at the company you had your eye on.

So, naturally, you send your long-lost friend a Facebook message, reconnect and hope she can put in a good word.
But what if you unfriended Lauren months ago during an impassioned “Facebook cleanse”? With Lauren gone from your list, there is almost no way you would know she works at the accounting firm.

That’s the power of social networks; they allow everyone to remain loosely connected without having to interact on a regular basis. Just being friends on Facebook keeps us tied together.

Of course, there are plenty of studies that say maintaining a huge list of people on Facebook is bad for us.
Like this one from Men’s Health:
Researchers asked a sample group of Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 65 to read some of their friends’ status updates. Afterward, those Facebook users rated their lives as much less satisfying than people who didn’t check their news feed first.

Sure. We probably don’t need to read everything about everyone all the time. But there’s no way to predict which Facebook friend could be the one to help you land a new job or even recommend a solid babysitter, plumber or painter.
Let’s say a buddy from high school—who lives across town but you haven’t seen in years—just bought a new house. You know that because he posted photos of the home on Facebook. You’re also in the market for a new house so you shoot him a message about mortgage rates and real estate agents.

Without being “friends” on Facebook, the conversation simply wouldn’t have happened.

We spend our entire lives amassing a network of people. Why cut them loose because they aren’t front and center in our world?
Just think: a person from way back in the day could hold the keys to your future dream job.

Aren’t you glad you didn’t hit “delete”?

This story originally appeared in Huffington, in the iTunes App store.