To Add or Not To Add? That is the Question!

You’ve faced it. A co-worker or person you met casually at a social event attempting to add you as a Friend on Facebook

The Definition of Friend Has Changed Since They Made the top TV Sitcom


Worse. You are AT the event and a Blackberry is whipped out along with the question: What’s your BB pin – I’ll add you.

Five years ago there were close friends and best friends. Now there appears to be a conundrum caused by the question: To Add or Not To Add. What is a friend and how close do we have to be to add you to my social media world or (gasp) my smart phone messaging list.

Should you add this new person to become their friend?

Are they already a friend because you met them once?

My answer to both? Set rules for yourself and stick to them. The definition of friend has changed a lot since Jennifer Anniston and crew made it seem all fun and games on TV! Digital friends have more potential for ruining your reputation that genuine ones. With the click of a button you can begin digital assassination. With a mobile phone you can misconstrue text messages and take BBM/What’s App etc posts out of context to the detriment of the sender. So you need to set some ground rules and share them so people respect them.

If faced with the Facebook question of adding a person you barely know, consider sending a direct message (inbox message) saying: So great meeting you, I prefer to get to know people a little better before we become Facebook friends. Look forward to meeting up again soon! When next will you be hanging out?

Rude? No.

You acknowledged the friend request, stated your own personal policy and indicated you hoped to meet up again soon. Clear? Yes.

Will some be offended? Yes.

Should you care? No.

Why? If a person really wants to become your friend, they should respect your values. Being clear and upfront about your personal policy is a way of protecting your privacy and digital image. In the world of tomorrow, that image will be priceless. Don’t let fear of being honest cheat you of your future.

What about the add me to your BBM/ Smart phone question? Depends on how you operate your smart phone. In reality you shouldn’t be doing anything on your smartphone (especially Black Berry Messenger) you would not want your grandparents, boss or religious leader to see. If you don’t that’s a whole other risk. However, if you simply prefer a closer link consider saying:

Let’s exchange numbers. I prefer voice calls and texts. My number is…

Direct? Yes.

Opens up to further conversation? No.

What if they ask…? Say. Sorry, I really prefer just to exchange numbers.

Will they decline? No.

By offering your number first you take control of the conversation and show your being open to stay in touch. You also state two ways they can use the technology to stay in touch. Don’t be afraid to say no.

You don’t have to use these phrases verbatim. Just have a personal policy. Maybe you don’t want to be Facebook buddies with your boss or coworkers. I once had a team member that said “I don’t add co-workers to my Facebook”. I asked why. They explained. I had no choice but to respect it…It is after all – social media.

Don’t wait for the question to have a policy people – have your answer ready and don’t be afraid to use honesty to protect your digital integrity.


6 Responses to “To Add or Not To Add? That is the Question!”

  1. sandypoint301 Says:

    People may think I am such a snob. I just ignore Facebook people that I don’t really know. Why do people want to “add me” when they also do not know me? The numbers game!

    • caribbeancontessa Says:

      Thanks so much for the comment. People add friends for a variety of reasons – many seek to build relationships or increase connectivity. Others to stalk. I have ignored on occasion but there’s nothing worse than a person coming up to you and calling you a snob…well, unless they smear it on your page or blog…*activates increased privacy settings…* 🙂

  2. Kevin Says:

    I think these are great pointers. Social Media platforms, such as facebook, twitter, BBM, skype and the like are ways in which we communicate with various people. If you use facebook as it is intended, then you will be sharing very intimate details about yourself on the site, e.g. pictures of yourself and your family, where you have been, where you are going and your contact information. Unless you are careful about with whom you share what, literal stranger may get an insight into your movement, which is not always a good thing.

    When developing a personal policy on how when and where to accept friend requests from people you are unfamiliar with, it is important to remember that these are people you are unfamiliar with, and bear that in mind when adding/inviting them… it’s a safety thing in my book.

  3. Mark Lyndersay Says:

    Hey Danielle, a welcome return to blogging is recorded in these past two days!

    Here’s a thought I’ve been mulling through looking at the content of these two posts and it’s quite gender specific. I don’t think that you can discount the essential differences in sharing personal information for women and for men on Facebook.

    Most male users of FB that I know, and I count myself in this particular enumeration, really don’t care who they add. For myself, I always do a cursory scan of the page of someone who’s asked for an add and as a matter of policy (there’s that word again), I don’t add politicians.

    I’ve had to unfriend exactly two people from FB, one was someone who turned out to be on a campaign of personal libel against another media practitioner and another who began to hit on women tagged in my galleries.

    Of course, I’ve had to field some outrageous flirting from young ladies more smitten with my photography than me, personally, and at least one serious offer to become a sugardaddy, but those approaches tend to be different for men than for women, I think.

    As an attractive young woman, your experiences with social media are going to be entirely appropriate to other women, I think, and caution online is never to be slighted.

    My own experience has been a bit different, however, and I can’t help but consider that those differences are rooted in the specifics of gender roles.

    • caribbeancontessa Says:


      As usual a thought inspiring comment. Can’t argue that our experiences are different likely largely due to gender. What your post did make me ponder is how dramatically differently the two sexes may view social media. I can’t tell you how many women have reached out saying “social media” ruined relationships when, at the heart of it, it probably was social media unearthing blatant flirting that birthed new reasons for mistrust. I see a future post.

      I can’t believe you have only had to delete two people. Your friends list will soon hit the limit. What happens then?

  4. Andre Says:

    I have to agree with Mark… I guess it also have to do with the subjectivity of an individual (different folks , different strokes).
    What are that person’s values? (male or female)…I know some individuals (quite a few actually, both male and female) who ramp their facebook friend list up to the limit and probably dont know one tenth and more of the people on the friend list. To show these individuals an article like this might very well be bordering insulting. To alot of people (not the majority) its a status symbol to have the world of friends on their social media listings.. it is a part of them male and female(not saying that I am an advocating it). With BBM I see the same kind of behavioural pattern from time to time.
    But I get your point, your friend list should be something personal. I personally have only about 10 or so very good friends, yet I have 300+ people (who I Know very well) as FB friends. So i am very cautious to what info I give out on it. I prefer use the ‘ traditional’ form of communicating, email.
    So I guess it breaks down to an individual to decide. A word of caution is always a good thing. I always caution my two young sons about these same issues, but I leave them to learn a couple things on their own as well.


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