5 steps to remove yourself from close friends on Instagram

It’s no secret that social media has evolved in the past years.

In 2018, Instagram launched the Close Friends feature to create a safe space for its users. People finally took control of who gets to be in their inner circle.

But the catch is that it does not notify you whenever you’re added to someone’s list, nor does it gives you the power to remove yourself directly from it!

It’s a privilege that can quickly become a curse! So, what do you do when you don’t want to see their stories anymore?

Here are 5 steps that can help you remove yourself from close friends on Instagram.

1) Mute their stories

Let’s start with the most diplomatic way to deal with your dilemma.

Muting someone is perhaps the easiest way to avoid someone’s stories on your feed.

How can you do it? 

  • Press and hold on to the person’s story as it appears on your feed.
  • A mute option will appear when you do this.
  • Tap on mute, and you’re done!

Easy, right? If only there were a button like this in real life.

However, know that this option still means you follow their account. So you would still be able to view their profile and the non-vanishing posts on it, aka the permanent photo wall on their account.

Muting can be useful if you still want to keep tabs on someone without being directly involved in their life every waking moment of every day!

I’ve muted some accounts of people I follow on Instagram without remorse or regret.

It’s a great feature that helps me focus, and there’s really no hostility toward the people themselves. In fact, muting someone can have a variety of reasons.

Maybe you find their content inappropriate, but you still want the option to unmute them when you’re ready to accommodate their posts or if you have the emotional bandwidth to interact with them again.

Perhaps you also find their content repetitive or irrelevant to your interests, which is totally okay!

I have friends who mute other people’s stories because they find them too frequent or just don’t find them interesting at all!

Regardless, use this guilt-free option that you can always undo or redo, depending on your mood and needs.

2) Unfollow them

We all have a handful of people in our lives that we would rather not be around anymore.

Maybe it’s an ex, an estranged friend, or even a toxic relative.

But regardless of who it is, this is the option for you if muting isn’t enough.

When you unfollow an account, you’ll be removing them from your feed, so all of their posts, including their stories, will be gone!

This is also quite convenient because they wouldn’t be notified that you unfollowed them.

If you’ve made up your mind that this is the way to go: 

  • Open the profile of the person you wish to unfollow
  • Under their display picture, you will see Following
  • Click on it, then tap unfollow.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully unfollowed an account!

Much like muting someone, people do this for a variety of reasons.

I have a friend who unfollows people when their posts get too gimmicky or promotional or if there’s simply no connection anymore.

She says she does it because she wants to declutter her space. And if you have the same reason, then good for you!

When you unfollow somebody, you will no longer see what they’re up to and what they’re doing on the daily.

That means no more out-of-place biblical quotes or Starbucks #atm posts!

This feature is a sure way to cut you off from their “close friends” list because you won’t be able to see their stories anymore.

However, please take note that they can still see your posts because this is a one-way option. They can still interact with whatever you post!

Be careful though. If you change your mind and you follow them back, they will get notified!

3) Block the account

So you thought about it and realized you also don’t want them to see your content…

Blocking them would be your last but most efficient method.

Beware, this is considered an extreme move in the virtual space!

Blocking an account means you don’t want to see their posts and don’t want them to see yours either! This means the bridge would be burnt on both ends.

If you’ve settled on blocking someone, think twice!

But if you’ve accepted the consequences, then go ahead and follow these steps:

  • Open the profile of the person you want to block.
  • Check the upper right corner of their profile, and you will see a three-dotted line.
  • Tap on the line and choose the “block” option.

And that’s it. You’re done!

I get it. We all have our reasons why we would block an account.

Maybe you were fed up with abusive behavior or offensive content, or you simply just want to do it for the sake of privacy.

Blocking someone is not a malicious act, but it’s always best to think it through before taking such a drastic step.

You would know if you made the right decision if you feel safer because of it.

Unwanted contact or content that makes you uncomfortable are all valid reasons.

Be careful though, it’s hard to undo. So make sure that you’ve already considered the less harsh options of either muting or unfollowing them.

Fair warning, there’s a chance that your blocked accounts would find out you’ve restricted their access if they looked for you on the search bar!

4) Ask the account owner to remove you from their list

Personally, I think being on somebody’s close friends’ list is a privilege.

That green circle tells me that they trust me more than the general public.

But I must admit, I don’t check everybody’s stories. Honestly, who has the time?

But if it really bothers you, and you don’t want to do anything behind their back, then talking to the person directly might be your best shot.

Think about it, there’s a reason you’re on that list.

This person considers you as part of his inner circle. They see you as a person who’s worthy of their trust!

So if they deem you relevant to share their intimate moments, then I think it’s only right to tell them about your genuine feelings too.

Asking someone to take you off their list is challenging, but there’s no point in sugarcoating it.

Be straightforward and sincere with your intentions while also showing respect for and awareness of their feelings.

You may begin by thanking them for their friendship, then explain your side.

You can say that you might feel that the relationship has gotten too close for your comfort, and there are things you don’t need to see, or you can say you want more privacy.

What is best for you and your relationship is ultimately up to you.

Your feed, your rules!

5) If all else fails, make a new account

Dreaming of a clean slate?

Well, you can always do away with all other options and start fresh!

Making a new account is top-tier self-care!

If you want a permanent break from someone’s posts on Instagram, making a new account can be a wonderful way to avoid their posts completely.

It will give you a feeling of newfound freedom and a much-awaited beginning while allowing you to interact with people who have similar interests or passions.

Creating a new community of followers by customizing your audience is also beneficial for your mental health.

The truth is, most of us never realize how toxic the world has become and how much power and potential lies within us to change it! 

We become bogged down by continuous conditioning from society, the media, our education system and more.

The result?

The reality we create becomes detached from the reality that lives within our consciousness. 

So, if you truly want to detox your life, why just stop with social media?

Why not go all the way?

I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé.

In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being. 

A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman. 

He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprout toxic positivity like so many other gurus do. 

Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works. 

Here’s a link to the free video again

The role of social media in friendships

Social psychology sees friendship as something voluntary or what other researchers call: “unrestrained interaction.” It’s where willing participants personally respond to one another and share each other’s lives.

Social media has an undeniable role in shaping the way we connect.

social media and relationships

It can help establish new relationships or keep up with old ones, no matter where they are.

But unfortunately for some, social media affects their friendships negatively.

Alas, it’s a double-edged sword!

It can burn just as much as it can bridge the gap.

Social media as a ‘double-edged sword’

It may put a strain on relationships since, sometimes, there can be a disconnect between someone’s virtual persona with who they are in real life.

I have a friend who’s so sweet and thoughtful in real life. When you talk to her about your problems, she sounds so empathetic and pure.

But her posts on social media tell another story. She posts ignorant, passive-aggressive rants, and sometimes, they are offensive!

Her stories have gotten out of hand, that most of the people in our group have either muted or unfollowed her.

Yes, social media allows people to have a glimpse of others’ lives in ways that weren’t possible, but it can also be detrimental since it can lead to feelings of comparison, competition, and even envy.

Using all these apps might also lead to anxiety and depression since users can feel the pressure of needing to post picture-perfect pictures to parade their ego and vanity.

I admit that I worry about how many likes I can get from a Facebook or Instagram post. I’ve also suffered from FOMO, or fear of missing out.

People can also become addicted to the validation from social media comments.

When they don’t receive the level of attention that they expect, it might lead to feelings of emptiness and low self-esteem.

Cyberbullying and trolling is also a major issue, causing people to feel unsafe and unloved online.

For better or worse?

I’ve been cyberbullied before.

When I was younger, before the era of Facebook and Instagram stories, I ran a blog where I thought I would be free to express my thoughts and experiences.

It was my safe space until my high school friends got a hold of it. People whom I’ve welcomed into my home and had sleepovers with – the ones whom I trusted and shared everything with – secretly gossiped about the contents of an online diary and ridiculed them for all of our peers to see.

Was it my fault for leaving my guard down?

Should I not have been vulnerable in a digital space?

Should I have known better?

The good news is that we’ve made up and matured. Some harsh words were said, but all is forgiven.

But the bad news? There are just some things that cannot be undone.

Since then, I’ve learned only to share what I’m only comfortable being out there.

You know what they say about the internet, right?

Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Ultimately, it’s crucial to remember that these apps are tools that should be used with caution.

Take a step back and look at how it’s impacting your relationships and whether it is making them better or worse.

If it is causing more harm than good, then it may be time to take a well-deserved break and reassess your relationship with social media.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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