Every day, I get friend or connection requests on Facebook and LinkedIn. Today, I have 1,146 friends on Facebook and 2,651 connections on LinkedIn. Obviously, I can’t interact with even a small percentage, and when I add new friends/connections, I wonder if I’m just adding another name of someone I won’t ever communicate with.
In the early days of social media, I accepted every friend/connection request I received. Now I am more discerning, but in many cases, it’s difficult to decide. A lot of my friends on Facebook are missionaries who are friends of other missionaries in my friends circle. Many are seeking financial support, which I am unable to give as I am already supporting all I can. However, they are always open to prayer, so I pray with many of them on Messenger.
When I get a new friend request, I read the profile and some posts. If several of the following conditions, apply, I will delete the request:
- The profile is locked.
- We have no or few friends in common.
- Many of the posts are selfies with little other content.
- Many of the posts are in a language I don’t understand.
- There are few posts, mainly a few major life events.
I will typically accept the request if several of the following apply:
- The profile shows that the person has some similar interests to me.
- We have many friends in common or the friends we do have in common are ones I interact with.
- Posts have valuable or interesting content.
- Most of the posts are in English, even if some are in another language.
- There are a number of posts over a period of time.
Often, though, some of the conditions apply and others don’t, so I have to weigh the options and decide whether I should accept the request. I don’t want to miss out on connecting with someone who will enlighten, entertain, or inspire me or someone I can help. On the other hand, I don’t want to have lists of friends and connections for whom our only contact has been the friend request and acceptance.
Do I get it right all the time? Of course not. But I hope I get it right most of the time.