How (not) to add friends on Facebook

September 5, 2011

     I recently stopped accepting blind friend requests and started asking for more information about the sender before accepting such requests. I understand that FB makes suggestions and that sometimes it makes sense to follow along; however, when FB will allow it, I do try to send a short note of introduction AND my privacy settings are set such that almost anyone can see who I am, what I do for a living, and who my friends are.

I still believe that the onus should be on the sender to make an introduction rather than expect me to spend my valuable time trying to figure out who they are, where we met (if we met), and why we should be connected. It is analogous to walking into a networking event and throwing your business cards into the crowd and assuming that anyone will stop to pick up the card and, then try to find you in the room so they can introduce themselves to you.

I have started sharing a link provided by Nicole Bandes to ‘validate’ my inquiries. Mind you, I should not need to provide validation – I am completely within my rights to ask who someone is before opening my door …

A surprising number of people have taken offense to being asked for additional information – they have, in fact, been outright unprofessional and almost abusive. Here is the most recent exchange:

I received a ‘blind’ friend request from ‘Ms. G’. I clicked on her profile: she is a paralegal, living in LA (originally from Dallas), and we share 99 friends and 1 group.

I responded to her request:

I received your friend request, however, without a note of introduction, I am unable to accept at this time. Perhaps you could tell me how we are (or should be) connected.

Respectfully, Pamela Starr

Her response:

You were a page suggestion from one of my Facebook attorney friends. The request is herein withdrawn. Thank you for responding and I wish you well.


Perhaps you should reconsider your approach – a blind friend request is akin to grabbing someone on the street and summarily informing them that they are your new BFF or dropping your business card in someone’s lap and expecting them to call you …

All I was seeking was a return to common courtesy …

I also included the attached link: Get More Friends to Accept Your Facebook Friend Requests

Her response:

I find you grossly offensive and believe that you are not suitable to be associated with me on my Facebook page. And I repeat myself that the requet [sic] was withdrawn. Should [sic] like to banter with me further, I advise you, I have children your age and I am a pro.

Seriously? To quote Bugs Bunny, “It is to laugh.”

It is obvious to me that she has never even bothered to look at my profile. Had she, she would know that we are probably very close in age and, that like most redheads – ‘specially redheads from Texas’ – I am outspoken. Her argument that she has children my age would put her in her 70s – I am flattered that she thinks I am in my 20s.  And, to add to that that she is a pro … a ‘pro’ would have vetted me in the same way I attempted to vet her and would have welcomed the opportunity to exchange information, nay, pleasantries.

Well, it is no loss that she chooses not to be associated with me.

4 Responses to “How (not) to add friends on Facebook”

  1. Vicki Voisin

    Pamela…Many people set their privacy settings on Facebook so high that no information is available. When I receive a “Friend” request and can access no information, I’m hesitant to accept. There’s got to be a happy medium!

    Something else that drives me crazy is when someone sends me a “Friend” request and I accept, only to be told that the prospective friend will have to approve me!

  2. Pamela

    Consider this an addendum – posted on Facebook by Taryn Pisaneschi, President and Chief Visionary of Women Intelligently Networking (WIN!):

    When connecting on LinkedIn, DO NOT send a request to connect without a message-even to someone you met briefly or USED to know. It’s very impersonal and implies that you were simply too busy to take the time to write 2 sentences. It is the people who take the time to write a personal note who STAND out vs. FADE out. Who would you prefer to be?

  3. Ana

    Just thought I’d stop by to tell you that I always enjoy your articles. Always honest, to the point and even when dealing with really serious subjects such as this one, you always manage to make me laugh. You are an inspiration.


  4. Sabine Asser King

    It never ceases to amaze me the intimidation factor of the female professional. This could have been handled so differently. She could have said, “You are so right, let me introduce myself, your fabulous client X recommended that I get in touch with you and I happened to find you on facebook. I understand you have a booming paralegal business and I may need to call on your services from time to time”…. 🙂