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Choosing To Friend or Unfriend on Facebook

If you’re like me and you use your personal profile to make connections on Facebook, then you may find yourself at a point where your quickly approaching the 5,000 friend limit and need to be more selective about who you choose to friend. Or you may simply find that you have too many friends to deal with and want to start eliminating them, one by one. For those in these situations, I’d like to share my friending and unfriending criteria on Facebook.

Friend Requests: Choosing Confirm or Not Now

If you start by being more selective about who you add as a friend in the first place, you won’t likely find yourself in the position of needing to unfriend hundreds, or possibly thousands of people later down the road. Back when I thought everything was a numbers game, I went the route of accepting anyone and everyone to my friend’s list, which has led me to having over 3,000 friends.

So now, when I get a new friend request, I go through the following “checks” before hitting the Confirm button. Consider this your guide to if I will friend you on Facebook or not and how to make it more likely that you will get accepted by others.

1. Do I know you?

While I wasn’t particularly mindful of whether I know someone while playing the numbers game, I am more aware of adding people based on whether I recognize their name or not. Therefore, if I haven’t:

  • Met you in person.
  • Seen your name in my blog comments.
  • Interacted with you on other social platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Commented on your blog.

Then chances are, I will be looking at the next factors when determining whether to accept your friend request or not. This is why it’s good to have a Facebook profile image that would somewhat match your Gravatar, Twitter profile pic, etc.

2. Is there a personalized message?

Probably the biggest determining factor of whether I will accept your friend request (assuming I don’t already know you) is whether there is a personal message that goes with your request. It’s easy to do. When you hit the “Add as Friend” button, you will see the little link for “Add a personal message…”

Adding a Personal Message to Facebook Friend Request

Just click on that link and add a simple note on why you want to add me such as “Hi, I’m ___ from ___.com. I enjoy reading your blog and am hoping to connect to more bloggers on Facebook.” Simple as that!

Also, for your own benefit, be sure to use the “Add to List” feature when requesting someone as a friend to help you later on if you need to decide who to friend or unfriend. (This also goes for when you’re accepting a friend request – put them in lists for better organization!)

If you’re like me and you use your personal profile to make connections on Facebook, then you may find yourself at a point where your quickly approaching the 5,000 friend limit and need to be more selective about who you choose to friend. Or you may simply find that you have too many friends to deal with and want to start eliminating them, one by one. For those in these situations, I’d like to share my friending and unfriending criteria on Facebook.

Friend Requests: Choosing Confirm or Not Now

If you start by being more selective about who you add as a friend in the first place, you won’t likely find yourself in the position of needing to unfriend hundreds, or possibly thousands of people later down the road. Back when I thought everything was a numbers game, I went the route of accepting anyone and everyone to my friend’s list, which has led me to having over 3,000 friends.

So now, when I get a new friend request, I go through the following “checks” before hitting the Confirm button. Consider this your guide to if I will friend you on Facebook or not and how to make it more likely that you will get accepted by others.

1. Do I know you?

While I wasn’t particularly mindful of whether I know someone while playing the numbers game, I am more aware of adding people based on whether I recognize their name or not. Therefore, if I haven’t:

  • Met you in person.
  • Seen your name in my blog comments.
  • Interacted with you on other social platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Commented on your blog.

Then chances are, I will be looking at the next factors when determining whether to accept your friend request or not. This is why it’s good to have a Facebook profile image that would somewhat match your Gravatar, Twitter profile pic, etc.

2. Is there a personalized message?

Probably the biggest determining factor of whether I will accept your friend request (assuming I don’t already know you) is whether there is a personal message that goes with your request. It’s easy to do. When you hit the “Add as Friend” button, you will see the little link for “Add a personal message…”

Adding a Personal Message to Facebook Friend Request

Just click on that link and add a simple note on why you want to add me such as “Hi, I’m ___ from ___.com. I enjoy reading your blog and am hoping to connect to more bloggers on Facebook.” Simple as that!

Also, for your own benefit, be sure to use the “Add to List” feature when requesting someone as a friend to help you later on if you need to decide who to friend or unfriend. (This also goes for when you’re accepting a friend request – put them in lists for better organization!)

Think about it – if you are into a particular topic right now and you friend a bunch of people based on that interest, just add them to a specific list. This way you can customize privacy settings based on what you would like people in that list to see, and if a year from now you’re not interested in connecting with people about that subject, you can just go to that list and unfriend them.

3. Is there something on your profile that will help me identify you?

If I have a bit of time on my hands, I might go scoping out your profile to see if there’s a common connection between us that would make me want to friend you. The area I often go to is the Info tab to see if I recognize your website name. So if you have this private (along with your photo and everything else on your profile), then, without a message, how am I supposed to know if I know you or want to be friends with you?

Other Considerations

Some other factors that affect my decision to add you as a friend include whether or not you speak English and if your picture is that of a celebrity and you are, in fact, not that celebrity. Also, I am immediately suspicious of all super hot chicks as usually those are a sign of fake spammer profiles. Playboy bunnies and I generally don’t have enough in common for them to find and friend me.

So now that you know why I would friend you (or not), let’s look at some reasons why I would unfriend you and how I go about that.

The Art of Unfriending

Unfriending on Facebook can be a bit of a time consuming activity as you have to go to the person’s profile and scroll down past their friend’s list in the left sidebar to find and unclick the Unfriend link.

Unfriending on Facebook

So what will make me (and probably others) unfriend you? Here’s a list of some, but not all, items that could put you on the unfriending chopping block.

1. You added me to a group I have no interest in.

This is kind of Facebook’s fault as they were the geniuses that thought it would be a good idea to let other people add you to groups unmercifully at will without letting people have a setting that says “Don’t let other people add me to groups.” That and they apparently took out the “Invite to Group” option as well, because it is really more polite to invite someone to opt-in instead of making them have to opt-out.

Now I can see the idea behind the fact that people know I’m interested in blogging and social media, hence it’s not that far of a stretch that people would add me to a related group. So in the event that I can kind of tell why someone would have thought this was a good idea, I let it slide and just quietly leave the group because I really don’t have time to keep up with them anyway. And if I know you, chances are you probably meant well, so I wouldn’t unfriend you for meaning well.

But if I don’t know you well, and you add me to a group that I would have no logical interest in (like recently one about insurance), then chances are I’m going to unfriend you AND leave your group as soon as I see notification you just added me to one. Best way to go is to send me a friendly message saying “Hey, I just created this group on ___ – would you like to join?” Yes, that’s probably a huge time commitment, but would it be worth it to save a friend?

If you’re in the boat of having been added to groups and now wanting to clear your plate of both the groups and the people who added you to them, what you will want to do is go to your Facebook’s Home page and look at the left side to see your groups.

Facebook Groups in the Sidebar

Click the More link and then the See All link. This will take you to all of the groups you have recently joined or someone has recently added you to. Then click on a group name that you don’t want to be a part of anymore. If it’s one that someone added you to, and it’s relatively new, you can scroll through down through the groups updates to find where someone has added a mass number of friends to their group.

Added Members to Facebook Group

As you can see, it will tell you who added people to the group. If you come across several different blocks and can’t figure out who did it, it’s not a bad idea to open up each of the profiles of people who added others to the group to see which one you are friends with as they are the prime suspect. Now, you can leave the group and unfriend the person who got you into it so they can’t spam add you to any other groups in the future.

Ps. The screenshot above is from a group I actually like being in – the person who added me knew me well enough to know my interests.

2. You invite me to events I won’t be interested in.

Again, that’s highly subjective. If I know you, and it’s something I could see how you would have a good reason to think I would be interested in attending, then I won’t fault you. But if I don’t know you and it’s a real estate event in Michigan, then you should know that I, a blogger in Arizona, probably won’t be attending.

You may not notice event invites when you get a ton of other notifications, but the best way to find out which of your “friends” are spamviting you to events is to go to your notifications page.

Facebook Events Notifications

So if I see the same person inviting me to events everyday (one in this list has invited me to something new everyday this week), to events with weird titles (I can’t imagine how “what the hell?” is something I’d be interested in), or to off-topic events in places I don’t live, I’m probably going to unfriend them.

If you’re unsure if it’s a spamvite, just check out the event page.

Event Invitations Awaiting Reply

Chances are, if thousands of people have been invited, it’s a spamvite.

3. You’re spamming my wall.

This one can sometimes be tricky, as a well-meaning friend may have had their account hacked and may not actually have meant to leave a weird link on your profile. So this one is at your discretion. But if it’s someone constantly posting their blog posts, articles, affiliate links, etc. on your personal profile, you can ask politely that they stop (if you actually know or care about them being a friend) or choose to unfriend them.

This is usually more of a problem on a Facebook page wall than Facebook profile walls. On a fan page, you have to click on the little wheel next to the wall post and choose to Remove Post or Remove Post and Ban User / Page.

Remove Post and Ban Page User

4. You’re posting things I’m not interested in on my news feed.

Or worse, you’re posting offensive things on your profile that show up in my news feed. I was once following a popular person in the social media industry who just kept posting these either disgusting or offensive (it always fell in one category or the other) photos. I’m sure for the right people it was very humorous, but for me, some of it was the kind of thing I lost my appetite over.

It would be nice if Facebook implemented a way to unfriend someone directly from the news feed like you can choose to unlike a page if you see an update you don’t like. But for now, you have to take the route of going to their profile and unfriending them from there. Alternatively, you can just hide all posts by that person if you want to stay their friend and not see their updates. But really, what’s the point?

Your Friending or Unfriending Policies on Facebook?

Now it’s your turn. What makes you choose to friend someone or put them in the “Not Now” bin? What makes you unfriend someone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

By Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and ghostwriter who specializes in business and marketing topics.