I am asked many times how to handle Facebook friend request from business contacts. Many people want to leave Facebook for only true personal friends and family, but are worried that not accepting a friend request would be rude. How do you handle this?
Maybe we should take note and guidance from the MD of Cube Social, Linda Cheung who has a wonderful way of differentiating her close circle of friends from her wider circle of business contacts. Linda’s policy is that you don’t get to be a friend on her Facebook Profile unless you have stepped over the front step of her home. You might extend this to be a two way policy with it being either your or the other persons threshold. Not always possible to live by this rule, I grand you, but it’s a good one to have.
Another challenge is when you have accepted some business contacts already. I guess you need to draw a line in the sand & decide from this day forward not to accept friend requests from business contacts. At the end of the day don’t we all have pockets of our lives which are separated from other?
Respect people’s wishes and feelings. When the person requesting Facebook connection is someone you already know it is likely that you already have their contact information. It is simple and effective to email back and be honest – explain that Facebook is something kept for personal endeavours, but would be delighted to connect on LinkedIn / other professional websites etc. Ensure that the email indicates that this is a personal policy for all business connections. Or set up an alternative, business-oriented Facebook Page as I have – Social Progress Facebook Page.
The sentiment lies in its delivery – I suggest one that is honest and explanatory. We cannot control another person’s feelings – if this is taken as a personal insult that is indeed unfortunate. If there is little mutual respect, what benefit is there to the relationship anyway?
Have you found yourself in this situation and if so how are you managing it?