This week’s etiquette dilemma: “It has been several months since I have made a friend request or two on Facebook that have yet to be answered,” writes a reader named JenniferBeck.
“I know them on a very casual acquaintance level, but don’t believe that either of them would be highly restricting their friend requests,” she writes. “I can see their status updates, but am not able to reply as I am not a ‘friend.’ How can I kindly request that they either approve or deny me without seeming pushy?”
Sometimes it feels as if Facebook has catapulted us all back into the icky, uncertain social world of junior high school: Does she like me? Is she ignoring me on purpose? Should I ask?
This is a tricky situation, JenniferBeck. It’s possible that these “very casual acquaintances” have deliberately not responded to your friend requests because they don’t want to elevate the relationship to a more intimate level. On Facebook, people ignore friend requests all the time for this reason. In the real world, ducking someone instead of responding would be considered a classic example of passive-aggressive behavior. But on Facebook, many users consider it a gentle way to brush off unwanted contact.
In this case, however, you aren’t getting a brush-off vibe (you “don’t believe that either of them would be highly restricting their friend requests”). So you’re right to give these Facebook users the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s an innocent explanation. Many users are still getting the hang of how things work on the site. It’s possible, for instance, that the users never received your friend requests. If you send a request via the site’s Friend Finder, it could go to an email address that is not listed on a user’s Facebook account.
Another possibility: A request can arrive at an inopportune moment. If the users saw the friend requests but didn’t have time to respond and instead clicked “Not Now,” the requests got hidden. They no longer appear on the users’ home page — and may be long forgotten.
If you believe the requests were innocently overlooked, it’s OK to follow up by sending users personal messages: “Hope all is well with you. I’m not sure if my friend request got through (so many glitches on Facebook!), but I’d love to connect.”
If you still get no response (even though you can see from the users’ status updates that they are active on the site), assume that your pending friend requests are not going to accepted. In that case, you can remove them by viewing a user’s Profile and clicking “Cancel Friend Request” below the profile photo.
Have you ever ignored a friend request? If so, why? And if you sent one that got no response, what would you do?
(image via Realsimple.com)