I had a conversation a few months back with someone I don’t know very well. We’re both in the SCA in the same Kingdom, and we have mutual friends. That’s really about it. She wanted to know if I had gotten her FaceBook (FB) friends request or not. I replied that I had. She then asked why I had not “friended” her on FB. I then replied that honestly I just didn’t know her well enough in real life to include her among my actual friends. She was an acquaintance. She was furious for about 10 seconds, and then she decided that I was absolutely correct, and that she would make an effort to get to know me better in real life, and happily has. She is now one of my friends on FB and off.
It is OK to decline FB or MySpace or Twitter, or any other friend request on-line if you don’t actually know the person to your satisfaction, in real life, game life, on-line game life, second or third life, whatever. If it makes you uncomfortable, just don’t do it.
I have made people much more angry about not accepting their friend request, but that is on them. I try to be as kind as possibly when I decline their friend request if they talk to me in person. Granted, I don’t dilly-dally around about it either.
If I get a friend request, and I don’t know who that person is, I ask nicely in a private message “How is it I know you?” If they answer back and I know them, but completely spaced (or didn’t know) their real world name, I go ahead and friend them. If I don’t know them, I do not reply, I just don’t accept their request.
Some people use FB to make new friends. I do NOT! If I don’t know you, I don’t friend you. It’s just not safe. Having already had one stalker in my life, believe me, I do not want or need another.
It all comes down to what you personally want out of your on-line experience. Do not feel bad about controlling your own friends list. It is YOUR list. Period.
It is also OK to post anything you want on your own FB page. However, do keep in mind your entire audience. If there’s someone on there that you don’t want to know something, don’t post it. Mutual friends can and do share screen shots of what you think are status updates and comments only to your friends. Just be smart about what you post and who you post to.
Keep yourself safe, and feeling good about your use of the internet.