This week, I’ve been purging my Facebook friends list again. At one point not that long ago, I had lots and lots and lots of Facebook “friends”. In the past few months, I’ve been culling that list. And culling it. And culling it. And, well, you get the picture!
Because as much as I love social media (I do love it. I even get paid to love it!), my personal Facebook page is just that – it’s *personal*. And I’m starting to apply the same criteria to my online friends as I do to my real life friends.
I don’t know everyone on my friends list, if knowing them means “I’ve met them in real life”. I have many people that I’m proud to count as friends who exist solely in my computer 😉 But for me to let you into my little Facebook world, you have to meet at least one of these criteria!
So, what does it take to be my Facebook friend?
- a) – I have to know you well, either because we’ve interacted for quite a while on the same message boards/same internet circles, or I have to know you in real life. (By quite a while…it means I usually have to have known you online for more than 4 years.)
- b) – I have to like you. If I were Pollyanna and we lived in a Disney universe, I’d like everyone and they would like me and everything would be bluebirds and sunny skies. But since I live in the real world, the real facts are…there are some people I just.don’t.like. There are some people who just don’t like me!
- c) – I have to respect you. There are people on my friend’s list that I disagree with, passionately and repeatedly. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly the shy and retiring type 😆 But it’s entirely possible to disagree completely with someone’s opinion, and yet respect the fact that they have arrived at their conclusion by research, prayer, thought, discussion, or any combination of the listed. People who simply spout rhetoric or have nothing to post but kneejerk opinions? Not really someone I want to interact with.
- d) – you have to have something original to say, at least every now and then! I just recently cleared out my ‘hidden’ list – you know, the group of people we all have hanging around that we feel we can’t sever ties with completely but we hide their status updates because they annoy the crud out of us? That list is empty now, because I’ve defriended them. (That list consisted of people who do nothing but copy and paste every annoying meme out there, and people who have one long unending stream of emo.)
- e) – you have to engage with me to some degree. I mean, I post pictures of The Boy, I talk about my day, what I think, what I’m feeling, what I believe about current events, what I’m knitting. If you’ve been my ‘friend’ for a year and never once commented or looked at photos or had anything to say to me, well, that leaves me feeling like I’m standing at a party talking and everyone is just staring at me blankly. I don’t like that feeling, so I don’t keep those ‘friends’ around 😉
- f) – you have to be more to me than just family. Yes, I know, that sounds weird. But the truth is, there are family members that I haven’t spoken to in over 20 years that send me friend requests. Some extended family I’ve actually gotten to really meet for the first time on Facebook, and I’m enjoying getting to know them 🙂 Some, though…let’s just say if they are the type of person I have to only speak to about the weather with to avoid the fights, they aren’t going on my friend list!
- g) – we have to share a common passion. Yes, all the other rules can sometimes be broken if I’ve met you fairly recently, but you seem really cool, or we have a lot in common.
- h) – assorted other: spouses of male childhood friends I automatically friend-request, just because I believe in honoring other people’s marriages that way. Bosses get automatically added, although I will say sometimes I hide updates from them (not because I’m complaining about my job, ’cause I don’t have any complaints, really. But sometimes your boss just doesn’t need to know if you are having a day where you’d kill for chocolate or its equivalent, you know?!) Rarely, *rarely*, someone crosses from the client/corporate account to my friend list, but that’s the exception rather than the rule – I usually try very hard to distinguish client from personal.
What will make me never, ever, ever accept a friend request from you, or even block you before you can send a request?
- being mean to me, in real life or online
- being mean to my kid
- criticizing my faith, my parenting, my marriage, and/or my lifestyle
- being racist, reactionary, or demeaning in real life
- being close-minded (see prior statement about disagreeing with respect)
So there you have it…my basic guideline for putting you on my Facebook page. I know by laying it out like this, some people may think I’m a snob. Truthfully, though, I think everyone has their own criteria for how they engage with Facebook – I decided to share mine. Feel free to share yours in the comments below!