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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Facedating: How To Politely Decline a Facebook Request

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 9:00 AM

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I recently went on a few dates with a young woman and after the third date she found me on Facebook and sent a friend request. It's not as if I have any highly incriminating photos of me tongue kissing a Labradoodle (on Facebook), but it is quite a window into what I'm doing in any given week. I like this young lady but don't yet know if there is long term potential so I'm reluctant to give her that kind of access to my virtual world.  How do I explain this to her without offending her interest?  Also, at what point do you think it is appropriate to make a friend request of somebody you're dating?

Virtual Commitment Issues


Oh, your precious virtual world needs protecting, does it? From all the Labradoodles dry humping the internet? Well, how do you think this poor girl you're dating feels, reaching out for you in the dark like a raccoon or a bat with really poor night vision for some reason, while you rattle on and on about Arcade Fire and share pictures of your breakfast scuffins (Not quite a scone, not quite a muffin!) to three hundred of your closest "friends"?

I'm just kidding; there's no such thing as a scuffin.  The casual friend request is getting more difficult to avoid or resist. In a way it makes sense. Why would I bother getting to know you, learn your musical and political tastes, and see how adeptly you can manage a farm, when I can just read about it on Facebook?

I get it though, I do. The more near-strangers we have mucking up our Facebook feeds, the more chances we have of being blackmailed for that status update asking for advice on how to remove brain matter from linoleum tile. (Club soda!) And yes, it can be awkward when you realize that the one-night-stand you had back in May is still in your friend list and keeps asking you to read his blog about--not even hypothetically kidding--roosters. But, we humans are delicate flowers, or "dust in the wind" for my readers who only understand 70s prog rock metaphors, and we should take at least some care to protect the egos of those we hope will give us the occasional reach-around.

The easiest (read: passive-aggressive) way to decline a new luvvah's friend request is simply to ignore it. If they bring it up (and you know they will) you're allowed to act surprised! And say that you're "never on there" or that you "only use it for family and close friends" or "‎je suis desolee, mon petit chou fleur" - they'll either be confused or turned on by the reference to cauliflower, and either way, you'll be off the hook. Be careful though. The consequences of ignoring a "datey" friend request that has the potential to go somewhere are greater than with a careless fling with a guy who blogs about roosters that you hope to never see again. You could, alternately, accept their request and then make your privacy settings for said person strong enough so that you're basically stalk-blocking them. Here's a link to managing your privacy settings. Don't say I never did anything for you. 

As to how long one should wait to send a friend request, the consensus is at least four dates or after a month -- whatever comes first. That's what she said. On Facebook. It's not like I know her or anything.

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at AskAnnaSF@gmail.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley or @SFWeekly 

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Anna Pulley

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