Proper Facebook Etiquette

#722 A presumptuous Friend Request

Wednesday 11th March, 2009

Sharing URL

I recently joined Facebook, after chatting with an old friend on the — gasp — phone and being asked once again, ‘Are you on Facebook?’

The first person Facebook suggested that ‘I May Know’ is the person I spent much of my earlier years envying… She was the smart, pretty AND popular girl I wished I was, but with whom I was not actually friends.

I admit to being very curious about what she’s up to now; I’ve heard a bit about her through the grapevine, but I’d certainly be interested in reading her Profile Page. We have one mutual friend on Facebook.

Would it be presumptuous to send her a friend request?

Presumptuous? Most certainly not. Nay a social necessity! Your curisority (and mine) demands that you send a Friend Request immediately and then sit (smugly) back to take in what it is that she is now up to and how you compare with her status.

We are nothing if not curious and social creatures. Being ‘friends’ on Facebook is recognition of this type of curiosity. On the one hand we are quick to want to weave a network of ‘close’ friends, at the same time this may include those that we were (or are) not so close to, but were once familiar with and held a connection or association.

A really casual (non-stalker/psycho) approach to establish a re-connection, and access that all important Profile Page, would be to send a Friend Request with an attached message. Something like, that you are a ‘newbie’ to Facebook and the first person Facebook suggested you should be friends with is her. This is a chatty and informal approach and should appeal to a personal vanity. Also it suggests that it is all ‘Facebook’s fault’ for the Request. There is not a lot of room for a lengthier message of re-acquaintance. This can follow if she accepts your Request.

Do not worry if she fails to acknowledge your message. She may be ‘busy’ or very private about who she shares her network with. Also if you were only known by association in the past then she can be forgiven for not remembering who you are. This is by no means a slight on who you are now or how important you are.

Similarly I had the highest regard and admiration of a friend from my school days. I grew up with a ‘little sister complex’ feeling forever in her shadow as she was older and therefore ‘cooler’ than myself. We lived in the same street and I thought she ‘had it ‘all’ – established by her inevitably more astute knowledge of the universe compared to mine. We lost touch for a few years as I moved away and we went to separate secondary schools, colleges and then universities. Recently (about three years ago) we got back in touch and now via Facebook and yes the phone *shocker* we are re-established as friends and I even was a bridesmaid at her wedding last year. A status I still take very much to my heart.

I suspect (unless she is reading this, ‘hi there Miss B’!) that she does not know how much I looked up to her when I was younger. To me she is still the same person I much admired, but now I look up to her in a different – and much more equal – way. I can see with retrospect that our friendship has been redefined, mostly because of circumstance change (we, sadly, do not live in the same street anymore) but also because as you get older you gain a better sense of self and the relationships you hold most dear.

Your dilemma hints at all those human insecurities that we all foster and carry around with us. First we have a perfectly natural curiosity to know what everyone else is up to – Facebook highlights this for us via the Newsfeed! Then there is our ‘need’ to judge others and ourselves as to the outcome of our relationships. Brilliant, a veritable daily soap-sud operatic situating. Not quite Days of Our Lives, but enough to sustain our attention, our assessment of others and ourselves.

For a short answer to your dilemma, Yes send a Friend Request – keep things open and friendly and include a message. Then you can scope out her Profile Page and see where the social land lies. Her reply to you should also provide some hints as to how she determines your relationship in the ‘now’ compared to the past ‘when we were at school’ days. She may really appreciate your getting in touch.

If the above is too ‘in your (and her) face’, you could mention to your shared friend on Facebook that you are thinking of sending a Request and from their response have an opportunity to scope out how this would be received. You do not want to come across as ‘needy’, ‘sneaky’ or worse ‘boastful’ about what you are doing now, or for your motivation for getting in touch.

It is really nice to have someone to look up to – especially when you are growing up. My friend (the quotes ‘sister I never had’) I much admired and I thought was going to be the ‘queen of the world’ before I realised such status was all in my imagination, along with the ability of flight the, is still someone I hold in high regard. I still dream of flight too.

In response to your Request she may be as curious about you, as you are of her. Do not be disappointed if she can’t fly though.

4 Responses to “#722 A presumptuous Friend Request”

  1. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ Anon One,

    great comment you’re the ‘subject’ of the next FB blog…


  2. Anonymous says:

    We like the photo

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m getting stressed about all the – what I’m doing in the vac – traffic on Facebook. It is all competitive I’m better than you stuff.

    Me I’m working in the family store – so no points there. Should I fib but then my close friends and fam will spot it? If I don’t I feel out of the swim.

Leave a Reply