Dear stranger who just accepted my friend request on Facebook

I am on Facebook with a fake name. I call it my pen name. I use it to promote my writing and to make friends with fellow writers. I meet them through groups and once I have seen their names pop up several times, I friend them.  Everyone I request usually accepts straight away. And for me this is fine as I am anonymous anyway. But I am always surprised that those who use their real names accept strangers so readily.
I do have another Facebook account with my real name though. On there I question every single friend request I get. You get accepted if you’re someone I know in real life. If I have never seen your name before, I either ignore your request or send you a message asking who the hell you are (in nicer language usually) and why you friend requested me. Even if you give me a good explanation, I usually deny the request because since I don’t know you, I’m not sure you need to know details of my personal life. You might get a chance if we have developed some kind of relationship in a Facebook group for example. I know that when you participate in one of the Facebook groups (like autism support groups) you can and do develop real and meaningful relationships with people who get you. I have accepted those and have actually become close friends with some of them. I probably feel close enough to you to share some of my personal struggles with you.

I joined quite a few writers groups on Facebook to get to know more people and to get more exposure for my blog. In order to do that I had to make new connections. So I started to friend request complete strangers (some of them I have never spoken to before) from the groups. All of them accepted my friend requests immediately. And these are all profiles with real names.They post statuses with pictures from their kids and families and sometimes post personal stuff. I don’t mind to be a bit more personal on my fake account since no one knows who I am anyway but if I would use my real name you can bet I would not accept strangers friend requests or if I do, I wouldn’t post any pictures or very personal statuses. Why should a stranger know if you’re having suicidal thoughts or that your kid has bipolar disorder or other such very personal information?

I actually do not have a problem with it. I am just baffled and trying to understand as to why someone would accept a request from a stranger who has never spoken to them before. Why give me access to your personal pictures and personal information? Some of you even have your mobile phone listed! What do you know about me? How do you know I’m trustworthy? I might be a serial killer for all you know. (now, now, no need to unfriend me all of you, I swear I’m just a nice Jewish woman from somewhere in Europe; that was just to make a point) Do you feel more safe because it’s online? Is it because we are in the same groups so that makes me trustworthy? Or do you accept all friend requests that come your way? I would at least expect a PM asking me why I want to friend you and how you found me. I would then explain my reasoning to you and then it’s up to you to decide if I sound trustworthy. I know social media has blurred the lines of boundaries a bit but I keep on hearing so many horror stories of bad people befriending innocent people and gaining their trust and then do horrible things so I wonder. Why are so many people so trusting of strangers on Facebook. Why do so many of you accept friend requests of strangers without checking them out or to PM them before adding them. It is just a bit of common sense.

That’s not to say that some people don’t have legitimate reasons of adding people they don’t know. Some may, like me, try and find more connections for their businesses or blogs.  But why use your personal profile? Why not create a new one with your business name (which should sound like a real name because we all know how Facebook LOVES to close accounts that don’t sound like a regular name) and then use this account for blog or business related stuff.

We have to be careful in this day and age. People on Facebook do not always have the best intentions. I have always been too trusting and unless proven otherwise most people were good in my eyes. But as an admin of several Facebook groups I have sadly learned otherwise. No, not everyone is good. Not everyone can be trusted and not everyone wants to be kind to you. Some creeps are solely on Facebook to do bad things to good people. So I always appreciate a private message when I friend a stranger on Facebook. This shows good judgement.

Stranger on Facebook! The next time you get a friend request from someone you have never heard of before, private message them, ask them who the hell they are and what their business is with you (and yes, you should ask that politely) and hopefully this will slightly reduce the incidents of bad guys stealing your kids pictures or worse things. And I say reduce slightly because we all know there are those who can be very convincing and turn out to be creeps anyway.  

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41 thoughts on “Dear stranger who just accepted my friend request on Facebook”

  1. Great advice! This happens to me a lot and I usually delete the requests, but every so often I will accept them.. Quite often I end up blocking the person shortly after because I get spammed, or hit on but I do always monitor the person for a while, just to see that they are legit. If I accept, it’s usually because I just feel this person may be new to FB and are trying to find new friends. I do believe people should be way more careful with who they choose to accept requests from!

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  2. I don’t accept friend requests unless I either know this person in real life or have interacted with them in a group for awhile. I also try not to publish specific details of my life online.

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  3. Reblogged on Riddle from the Middle. This perspective seems so logical to me — I’ve never understood people who have 450 friends on Facebook. I don’t have that many friends in my real life, why on earth would I generate an electronic group of them? Great piece!

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  4. Yes! I’m super paranoid about who I accept and screen my friend requests carefully. The only way I’ll add someone I haven’t met in real life is if we’ve become blog friends and I feel like they’re legit.

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  5. Oh my gosh, I totally agree with you! I have a few “non real world friends” on Facebook, but they are all people I had developed a friendship with in a Facebook group for awhile first. And I am super cautious with even the things I share on my personal page, no kids’ names, never post when I’m on vacation, very selective about pictures of my kids… I know I have some friends and family who think I’m nuts and paranoid, but luckily my husband is with me 100%. There are crazy people out there unfortunately and you need to protect yourself and your family!

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  6. I have a FB page for my blog (where I connect and promote) and a personal FB. I accept friend requests from friends of groups and real life connections, but have a public profile so even if I deny a request, they can still “follow” me for updates, and if I do happen to post something I do not want the whole world to know, I just change the settings of that post to friends only. That way, I dont have to manage multiple accounts 🙂

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  7. I HATE when I get friend requests from people I don’t know. Or even people I may have gone to school with years ago and we weren’t even in the same grade and may have possibly had a couple mutual friends- I DON’T KNOW YOU! I’m always leery of how they found me and why they are friending me.
    Even on my personal page with my close friends and families, I don’t even list my city, let alone my phone number. I figure if you know me that well, you know that kind of thing and I don’t need to publish it online.

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  8. I always put people in “limbo” who I don’t know who send me friend requests. My personal profile is super private though, so not everyone can even friend me. I have had actual friends tell me that they weren’t able to friend me. I like it that way. I like to keep my blog stuff and personal stuff separate.

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  9. This is so true! I use my personal account and get a lot of friend requests from other bloggers. Even if I recognize the name from a blogger group, unless I have a personal relationship with them, I don’t accept. Because I do post personal pics. Great article, thanks for sharing and linking up at Favorite things Friday!

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  10. I have a small friends list on my personal account. Complete stranger requests are creepy. If someone has a lot of friends in common I’ll consider adding a stranger, but I check them out first. As soon as I approve the request I look closely at the posts I couldn’t see when we weren’t “friends” and make a final decision. They then go to “acquaintance” status so they see only public posts for a while. There are days I miss having only real friends on my personal account so that I can post freely, and keep a “besties” list of people who get to see everything.

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  11. Ha! You mean we have to ask ‘nicely’?! 😉 Too funny. I have this exact reaction when I get random friend requests (which happens often). I just ignore them b/c the whole thing baffles me. Maybe others are different but I don’t accept people that I don’t either know in real life, or have some sort of connection to. There are a few exceptions, but it’s rare. Great post! Thanks for sharing & for linking up to Favorite things Friday with Simply Rachel & Hip Homeschooling! Hope to see you back again next week! =)

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  12. Loved this! It was very well written and some great advice. Unfortunately all some people care about is getting that number of “friends” as high as they can to improve their social media standing. They just don’t understand the dangers that come in the online world!

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  13. My settings on FB are such that if I accept a friend request, that person does not see everything on my page, and has to specifically request personal info. I really get to know people before allowing them that access:)

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  14. I also have a personal (with my name) and non-personal account. I don’t feel comfortable sharing with strangers and am very careful what I even share on my personal account. I admire people who feel they can share, but I just feel like I want some privacy for my personal life.

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  15. I’m a professor, so I’m obsessive about what I post on Facebook – only pictures that I’d be comfortable with the world seeing, and innocuous posts. That’s why I don’t mind accepting strange friend requests since there’s nothing on my Facebook page to hide. But never my phone number or anything that could hurt me.

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