Do you get irritated by people who invites you to be his or her friend on Facebook? Or are you happy to be invited. What if you decline? Are you worried about offending someone? Richard Baum of Reuters writes about How to decline Facebook friends without offence. He offers some suggestions

One is to accept the invitation and then use Facebook’s privacy settings to limit the flow of information between you and your new “friend.” To do this, you can create a “colleagues” list from the Friends menu and then add to it your new friend. Then navigate to the privacy settings and use the “Profile Information” section to control what information people on the “colleagues” list can see.

An alternative, says workplace etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, is to suggest to the colleague that you connect instead on LinkedIn, a social network for professional relationships.

“You can just go ahead and ask them to join you on LinkedIn and hope they forget they sent you a Facebook friend request,” said Pachter, the author of New Rules @ Work.

“Or you can say, Thanks for asking me. I’m keeping Facebook for my family and friends. I’m asking you to join me on my professional network instead.'”

Pachter said that whatever you do, it’s important not to offend your colleague — and that’s not just because politeness is good etiquette.

“The person you offend might end up being your boss next year,” she said.

Ha. That’s unlikely for me but I do like to make friends on Facebook. Each friend brings new aspects and perspective of humanity. For a student of human nature like me, that is a bonus. Some reveal too much of themselves while others reveal too little. Yet each life is of value and I am constantly being amazed at the diversity of my friends’ interests. I am also amazed at how much time some of my friends spend online with Facebook. I assume they do have a life somewhere.

It is interesting that Facebook was started only 4 years ago according to Wiki but 6 years ago according to founder Mark Zuckerberg in his Facebook blog. This is because Facebook seems to be around like forever. Entertainment Weekly notes its value, “How on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers’ birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of Scrabulous before Facebook?” This was also during the peak of blogging. Nowadays, many bloggers are Facebookers (yes, there is such a term. I checked).

Many Facebookers are also gamers. The top 5 games on Facebook today are Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafe World, Fishville and Zunga Poker. CNN Doug Gross gives us the highs and lows of The Facebook games millions love (or hate). No, I have not played any of these games yet. I am still trying to figure out Star Trek online.

Facebook is a virtual watering hole for the gathering of the futurists, the nerds, the internet addicts,the technocrats, the lonely, the bored, the seekers, the gurus, the joyful and the sad. Facebook is a pub in L-space. It is also a place of interconnectivity for people to connect with one another, keep abreast of each others’ activities, and retain a sense of control in our fast moving fragmented world. It is also a safe place to hide from intimacy and the emotional investments of a ‘real’ human relationships. As in the television series Cheers, it is a place where everyone knows your name!


After writing this post, I read a blog post on Facebook Friendship by my Facebook friend Bob.

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