Here's Why I No Longer Let My Friends Follow Me On Find My Friends

Find My Friends is quite the interesting app.

Unique to Apple products, it basically allows you to know your friends' exact location at all times. All you have to do is request to follow them, wait for your request to be approved and you're good to go. You can also choose to follow people for a day, an hour or an indefinite amount of time.

For whatever reason, Find My Friends has become really popular. I blame social media for our desire to know what our friends are up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but that's beside the point. Lots of people have taken to following their closest pals on Find My Friends, eliminating the need to send "where are you?" texts, ask about ETA's or even communicate at all if you can already see your pal is busy.

The girls of Pretty Little Liars all looking at their phones after receiving a message from A

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)

Originally, I didn't mind Find My Friends all that much—that is, until one particular music festival, where my close friends and I decided to share our locations. It made perfect sense since service was shoddy and we couldn't rely on our texts to find each other.

After the weekend was over, I didn't think to stop sharing my location, and they didn't either. It wasn't an app I thought to check very often, but if I knew I was supposed to meet up with a friend or if they weren't answering my text messages, I would click into the app and get an immediate answer about what they're doing. As far as I knew, none of my friends really cared about checking my location either… except one.

Mia* and I were fairly close friends during my college years.  We weren't in the same group, but we would always make an effort to hang out with each other. From the very beginning, Mia was always more interested in Find My Friends than I was. Whenever we would meet up, she'd make small comments about places I'd been, asking what I'd been doing at the library earlier or why I hadn't gone to my first class. It was a little weird, but I can see the appeal of keeping track of people you care about, so it didn't really bother me.

Over time, however, her stalking became more intrusive. I would get texts while I was out asking what I was doing or who I was with, why I was on such and such side of town, etc. It was invasive, for sure, but it was also just plain annoying. Suddenly, I felt like I was a high school junior fresh off the high of getting my license, when I was forced to text my mom my whereabouts at all hours of the day. I didn't enjoy feeling like I had to explain myself to someone, especially when it wasn't really any of her business.

Woman with painted nails and a watch holding a phone

(via Unsplash)

After we graduated college, Mia and I started to grow apart. Our lives were taking different directions, and we just didn't have that much in common anymore to keep us bonded together. That's when the Find My Friends stalking got really bad.

Mia would ask to hang out and I would come up with a random excuse, mostly because I had no interest in sitting on her couch and watching her cuddle with her boyfriend. However, if other plans would come up, I had no reason to say no, which then lead to confrontational texts from Mia about why I said I was staying home when she could see I was out with friends.

You're probably wondering, why didn't I just turn it off? Well, I did. On more than one occasion I stopped sharing my location. Unfortunately, that only made the situation worse. Instead of accepting that I didn't want to be available 24 hours a day for her, Mia would ask why I was being so shady, often making me feel bad for creating boundaries in our relationship. And it worked. Instead of standing up for myself, I would let my guilt take over. We were friends, so I felt bad about lying to her about my real plans for the evening. I'd always apologize and turn it back on, starting our irritating cycle all over again.

Riverdale: Veronica looks at her phone with Betty behind her

(Riverdale via The CW)

In truth, the Find My Friends fiasco wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. Mia and I had other issues in our relationship that eventually led to the end of our friendship, and the weird Find My Friends stalking was just one in a line of behaviors that I shouldn't have accepted from a friend. However, it did turn me off from Find My Friends forever.

As I said above, I think there are positives to the app. I've still shared my location with BFFs while I'm on a date or during a music festival, which creates a cozy net of safety that allows me to feel like someone's watching out for me. However, I also think giving someone constant access to your life can easily become unhealthy.

As much as we want to believe we can all be 100% honest with our friends, boundaries are still important. We have our own lives to lead and our own things going on, and keeping those moments to ourselves isn't shady or rude—it's human. Not only does it feel inherently intrusive to have someone watching your every move, it can also lead to very creepy, co-dependent behaviors.

I've learned my lesson when it comes to Find My Friends: to be smarter with who I allow to follow me, but also to draw boundaries in my relationships. People should only have as much access to you as you're comfortable with, so it's perfectly fine to create distance between you and your friends if you feel like it's necessary.

 

Whether you follow each other's location or not, some friendships are better than others. If you're trying to figure out who you can rely on, click HERE for how to know if someone is a true friend.