A Brief Word on Friend Requests

I’ve been dropping the ball with keeping this blog going. Fortunately, orientation with my new job starts tomorrow and I will not only have a generic name for it but a slue of new content before too long. In the meantime, there’s something I’ve been meaning to write about in light of the most recent friend request on my Facebook, this is as good a time as any.

The people on my Facebook fall into two categories: Family I want to stay in touch with and non-family acquaintances with whom I share a common interest or goal.

Over the years I have added and deleted people from both categories for a number of reasons. Maybe certain aspects of their personality, represented by what they post, became too irksome. Or perhaps I got tired of one too many passive aggressive, “I hate it when people post this thing that you clearly posted, but I don’t have the balls to tell you outright that I don’t like it” posts. Whatever the reason(s), the main thing to remember is that if I’ve removed you from my Facebook there’s no getting back in. This is the one sweeping gesture in my arsenal that no one can misconstrue or twist around to serve their own ends. Like my aunt and cousins have learned, once I’ve blocked you from Facebook, I’ve blocked you from my life. And if I do delete someone, sometimes it’s never out of malice. It’s just that at that time I have decided that knowing you no longer fulfills the need that drove me to adding you in the first place. There have been people that it seriously pained me to remove from my list, but it had to be done.

This brings me to friend requests. When I see someone I don’t know personally that I would like to add to my Facebook, I do something that literally no one has ever done for me in the time since I got my account. I send a short but detailed message explaining (or reminding them) who I am, how I found their profile, and why I would like to make a friends request.

Facebook may be slightly safer than Myspace, but you still have to protect yourself. For that reason, if I get a friend request from someone I do not personal know and there’s isn’t a message to go with it, I will reject it. I don’t care if it says “Friends with” whoever on my Facebook. Just because my brother knows him or because we went to school together (in many case, especially if we went to school together) that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. And what if I piss him off? How do I know what’s going to set that person off and ruin their relationship with my actual friend.

There are rare exceptions to this. Some of the friends on my Facebook were not previously known to me but maybe they watched a television show I liked, or they shared some other obscure interest of mine. For the most part, I haven’t regretted having these people to my friends list and I hope they haven’t regretted adding me.

When it comes to kids I don’t know, there is no exception. If you’re under eighteen and we don’t share even a strand of hereditary DNA, then don’t even bother adding me. It’s nothing personal, but there are risks to having some strange kid I don’t know posting on my wall. The most annoying of which is to have my wall flooded with crap. The least annoying but just as inconvenient is the possibility that your parents will see some 30 year-old guy on your Facebook that they don’t know, and suddenly I have FBI kicking down the door with Chris Hansen close behind.

Overall it’s a simple rule. Did you and I go to the first grade together? Are we half an hour older than one another? Do we both love seeing  Hugh Jackman shirtless and buff? Then send me a message with your friend request telling me so and that will better inform my decision to accept or reject your offer.

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