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How to Handle Awkward Facebook Friend Requests

Let's be honest: No one wants everyone they know keeping tabs on them on Facebook. Here's how to handle those awkward friend requests tactfully.


  • Step 1: Pre-empt requests Avoid awkward friend requests altogether by blocking someone preemptively. Search for their name and click Report/Block This Person. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  • Step 2: Deny exes and bosses Unwanted friend request come through? Decline if it's coming from an ex or your boss -- the former is undoubtedly stalking you, and the latter could put a damper on any "not safe for work" updates. Keep in mind that if you deny a friend request the person will not be notified.
  • TIP: If you're worried your boss will take offense, send a polite message saying you'd rather keep your personal and professional lives separate.
  • Step 3: Deal with requests later Someone you just met a little overzealous in friending you? Click Not Now to hide the request until you decide their friendship fate.
  • TIP: Deleting the request will prompt a message asking if you know this person outside of Facebook -- choosing Yes will allow that person to add you again; choosing No will bar them sending you further requests.
  • Step 4: Limit your profile When it comes to family members, friends of your parents, or anyone else you can't reject outright but who could spell total disaster for your Facebook rep, limit what they can view on your profile by customizing your options under Sharing on Facebook in your Privacy Settings.
  • Step 5: Make a Limited Profile list Make it easier to restrict what certain people can see with a "Limited Profile" Friend List. Under your Account menu, click Edit Friends, then Create a List. Once you've added friends and titled the list, you can adjust your privacy settings in bulk. Now that you’ve got those awkward friend requests in check, you can post pics, videos, and updates worry-free!
  • FACT: In a 2010 survey, 56% of Americans said it’s "irresponsible" to be Facebook friends with your boss.

You Will Need

  • Privacy settings
  • Discretion

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