You’ve Got a Friend in Me

In the last month, I have received five Facebook friend requests from boys I knew in high school. “Knew” is a strong word in this case, because they have all been people that I knew of — we didn’t hang out in the same groups, we didn’t speak more than once or twice a semester and I can’t say I’ve given any of them much thought since graduating six years ago.

Maybe it’s been long enough that those facts have faded beneath an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for these guys. Maybe those four interactions we had stuck with them all this time and they felt like I would be a worthy addition to their Facebook feed. Maybe my shirts have been too low-cut in my profile pictures. Whatever the reason, they’re hitting the “send request” button and leaving me to stare at my computer screen in confusion.

I don’t know what to do because I can’t really justify not adding them, but I also know that if I’d wanted their virtual friendship, I would have sought it in 2008. I turned to the social media coordinator at my local university for help.

Yes, she seems like a woman I can trust.

Yes, she seems like a woman I can trust.

Facebook Etiquette Revisited

Question 1. What do I do with this friend request from a girl I knew in high school/a co-worker I don’t know very well/a total stranger/a dude I went on two bad dates with and haven’t seen in more than a year?

Answer: Your Facebook friendship standards are entirely up to you. I know I’ve developed my own set of weird rules for accepting new friends and I’m sure you have, too. Maybe you’re a friend conservative, hoarding your love for a select few. Maybe you’re liberal with your affection, friending everyone you’ve ever laid eyes on. You adopted that policy because you were comfortable with it, and I’d stick with it now. If thinking of this person shivering outside the warm halls of your Facebook timeline and heart will keep you up at night, bring them on in. If you, like me, get a sick sense of pleasure from it, then by all means let them rot out there.

Question 2. What do I do if one of my friends is being a real poop head?

Answer: You have options! Remember that your Facebook feed is its own little world and you are the dictator. If one of your friends is writing obnoxious comments on all your posts, sharing photos supporting Neo-Nazism that you just can’t get behind, or repeatedly bumming everyone out with sad sack statuses, unfriend them. If you’re afraid to unfriend them because they are a blood relative, blood brother or have blood on their hands, block them. That way their precious feelings aren’t hurt and you never have to read about those feelings again.

Question 3. My friend tagged me in an unflattering photo. Should I burn her house down?

Answer: Probably not, but you may put a curse on her if you would like. My go-to curse is wishing that the waistband of my nemesis’ jeans never fully dries after a wash, no matter how long they wait. It was mean of your frenemy to tag you in an ugly picture, but you should also lighten up. Untagging yourself in silly photos can make you look self involved and like I probably wouldn’t invite you to my next party.

For some of us, unflattering photos are all we have.

This one is actually so bad that I’m proud of it.

Question 4. This is insane, right? This new set of rules we live by so that we don’t offend anyone on social media, I mean. It’s crazy that we worry so much about this stuff.

Answer: It’s totally crazy pants, but human interaction is a tricky thing. Because of that, all methods of communication have an etiquette. We answer the phone a certain way, we write our work emails using a particular tone and we try to aim our smoke signals away from our companions’ eyes. Why start drama where there doesn’t need to be any?

English: Campfire smoke in forest, Marki, Pola...

Ugh. Stop talking about your dumb baby already.

Question 5. Can I Facebook stalk my partner’s ex?

Answer: I’m sure you can Facebook stalk your partner’s ex, but should you? (Yes. You should. Don’t you want to feel smug for no reason at all?)

Question 6. What about my ex’s partner?

Answer: Don’t do that. Nothing lies down that road but pain and unfortunate haircut decisions.

Question 7. How many cat pictures is too many?

Answer: Trick question. There are never enough.




  1. mynuttydubai

    You forgot to add “Can I Facebook stalk my potential partner?”
    No fine line with this one – yes you can, and you should (and maybe even his ex while you’re at it ;) )

  2. Frivolous Monsters

    These days I leave people in the “pending” tray. That way they can’t come back again with another friend request. Some people think facebook is for everyone they’ve ever met, ever. I don’t. Although low-cut shirt profile pictures may be the reason for your trouble… Never change.

  3. bardotbarbiturate

    My rule when it comes adding old school friends/acquaintances is no one from upper school and anyone from middle school, even if I didn’t know them very well. I started out adding people from upper school but I’d always get a message from them asking questions I didn’t really want to answer. I’ve declined a few friend requests from my former circle but it isn’t personal, I just don’t want to “reminisce” about a time I hated or have a reminder of it popping up on my newsfeed. I absolutely loved middle school, best time of my childhood so any and all are welcome. Some family members I’ve declined on the basis that they’re a pain in the ass but my family is so huuuge it’s unlikely they’ve noticed!

    There’s nothing wrong with the photo, you’re just being crazy pants but I have to admit to untagging more than a few of me. I have a phobia of photos of me after the age of around 12, something went horribly wrong after then.

    I concur, never too many photos of cats. I’d like to think the same about my gardening efforts but I’m fairly certain not everyone appreciates my love of crocosmias, ferns and heucheras.

  4. rixlibris

    So long as you can separate ‘friend” the noun from “friend” the verb, I suppose it really doesn’t make much difference. If you have a product to sell then open the floodgates to virtual “friendship”. If not, select those that have the potential amuse or edify and ignore the rest.

  5. Curlysblog

    Ugh! This is the dilemma i’m having with the demon Facebook. I have added people I have never even said a word to at school, but I know of them- and all because I don’t want to seem rude! Gosh darn you social protocol!
    I love your cat by the way- very cute!

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