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Is this the right way to request a Facebook friend?

on May 31, 2010

I recently received a friend request on Facebook with no introduction. There’s nothing odd about that. I receive them all the time, but it’s usually from someone I know or I met and can’t remember. Facebook has that convenient feature that lets you invite your entire address book.

For a while our address book was the easiest way to discover people to invite to Facebook. But since Facebook started behaving like our mother and suggesting people for us to be friends with, I’ve started to receive a lot more friend requests.

That’s perfectly fine although most of these friend requests don’t come with a message of introduction. That’s OK as well. When I receive a blank Facebook friend request I just send the friend requester a small polite message to build an introduction and see if I actually know the person, yet don’t remember. I actually wrote about this in a previous article and discovered that “One quarter of all people who friend me on Facebook don’t respond to personal messages.”

Just a couple days ago I just received a friend request from a woman I didn’t know. I sent my generic personal response, and what resulted was a very odd email exchange. I honestly don’t know what to make of it and I ask you readers to explain what exactly happened.

Below is the email exchange. No changes have been made. All poor punctuation and misspellings remain. All I’ve done is remove the woman’s name and icon. I’m calling her Vanessa and I’ve replaced her icon with that of Miss Belgian Beauty 2006.

Hey Vanessa:

I saw your friend request. Thanks. Excuse me for my ignorance, but have we met before?



“The silence ,has more dignity than the words”
Well, Facebook isn’t based on silence. Have we met before?

I’m sure you’re a nice person but I don’t have time for games. I’m more than happy to friend you if you just tell me why you reached out. Thanks. :)


I don’t have time for games to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My apologizes,by. . .

And then she retracted her Facebook invite.

What the hell just happened?

Can someone explain it to me?

Photo credits: Creative Commons e3000, enda_001

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

dgadino May 31, 2010 at 4:53 pm

up until now, David, i've had nothing but respect for Miss Belgian Beauty 2006. and now, because of you're insensitive decision to use her image to represent that of this Facebook moron, i will never be able to disassociate the two. this is a dark day for the online community. and Belgium.

cathybrooks May 31, 2010 at 4:58 pm

David, if I had a nickel for every odd, bizarre and otherwise whacked interaction like this related to Facebook friend invites … I'd buy you a nice lunch at a more than moderately priced San Francisco eatery … including a good bottle of wine; because we'd probably want to drink and bemoan the utter lack of social grace that social media continues to foster. I also get the invites without any form of intro … in cases where it's someone who I actually KNOW it's not a big deal … in cases where it's someone I've never met before I do what you do … More often than not people don't response, in which case I just “ignore” the invite. I'm happy to say that in *most* cases of those who do respond, I get a nice clarification or at least some sort of explainer that helps me decide yay or nay on the request. But in at least a dozen cases my question of “pardon me, but do I know you?” is met by something just north of wingnut crazy.

David Spark May 31, 2010 at 6:59 pm

How many more of these crazies would you need to get to pump up the “moderately priced” lunch to an “expensive” lunch? :)

As a friend of mine Eric used to say about crazy people, “Don't engage.” It's always best to stay your distance. Don't make eye contact and don't get them riled up.

BTW, “wingnut” is hands down my favorite word to describe a crazy person. Nothing else in the hardware store describes a crazy person better, except maybe plumber's putty.

David Spark May 31, 2010 at 7:02 pm

You're completely correct dgadino, but I've had it out for Miss Belgian Beauty 2006 for the past four years. I've been working on a way to get back to her for snubbing me at the pageant. It took a while, but I finally feel vindicated.

andrewmueller May 31, 2010 at 7:07 pm

David, I too don't have time for games and don't want to flood my newstream with innane comment form people I don't know or don't add any value. For these reasons, if I don't remember someone and they send and invite without a personal message, I just ignore it. If I get a personal message, I will respond but this nearly never happens.

I think the reason we get so many of these requests is that people think that increasing friend numbers increases the value of there network. This is incorrect thinking. The value of ones network is directly related to the value of the interactions that take place and the expansion of the network to people who do not contribute value dilutes the value of their network.

Just some quick thoughts :)

Iva June 1, 2010 at 1:00 am

As a person who only gets such friend invites from horny Arabic men whose photos turn out to be soft core porn, I don't think I have ever experienced a Vanessa. I got the impression that she could be a poor speaker of English who ignored the note to set the FB language to her native one and that she doesn't even know what she did when she requested your friendship? Just a guess, of course.

Cindyk June 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Is her real name Eliza? As in Eliza Chat Bot? Sounds like a Bot to me.

MinnieRunner June 2, 2010 at 1:58 am

Well as for me, I just click on the Ignore button if someone adds me and I don't know him :)

David Spark June 4, 2010 at 4:40 am

Well, you're probably doing that a lot ever since Facebook introduced that feature that suggests people you to friend.

David Spark June 4, 2010 at 4:42 am

It's not Cindy. And I thought for a moment that it might be a chatbot, but there are a few signs that show it's not. The person is responding somewhat loosely, but even more telling that it's not a chatbot is that she ENDED the conversation and then REMOVED her friend request. A chatbot wouldn't do that. They'd see how long they could keep on chatting.

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