Etiquette Questions, Answered: Social Situations
Is It Unkind to Ignore a Facebook Friend Request?
Q: How does one deal with unwanted Facebook traffic from old high school friends and―gulp―boyfriends without hurting their
Brooklyn, New York
A: “To be or not to be?” “Paper or plastic?” And now “Confirm or ignore?” This is the existential question of the 21st century. For those five other people in the universe who, like me, have resisted the cult of Facebook, “confirm or ignore” refers to the choice you’re presented with when someone wants to join your list of Facebook friends. Now, I would argue that the rules of social etiquette are pretty much the same online as they are off. If these are people you feel uncomfortable ignoring, then hit “confirm” and let the natural course of Facebook events unfold: You’ll have a few exchanges; talk about old times, what you’re up to now; and marvel at how, based on your respective pictures, neither of you has aged a bit. After that, according to Darwin (and he knew his social-networking theory), any rekindled relationships that aren’t meant to be will die a quick, painless death. That said, if they don’t and you’re getting repeated attention from people you have no interest in corresponding with, “unfriend” them and try not to worry about hurting their feelings. If this Facebook revolution has done anything, it has made clear that if you want to come to the party, you’ve got to build up a thick skin.
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