Friendships used to be so simple. You met a person, spoke to the person, and within minutes you were friends. If you didn’t become friends, you went your separate ways and never spoke to each other again.
Then Mark Zuckerberg screwed everything up.
With the invention of Facebook, now people can have thousands of “friendships” with the click of a button. Want to be friends with that person in your History of Roman Architecture class? Add them on Facebook. Do you think that cashier at the grocery store is particularly fetching? Add them on Facebook.
Of course, with this type of friendship comes a terrible threat that you will be viewed as creepy by your would be “friend.” Fortunately for everyone, I here to help keep that from happening. All you have to do is follow these five simple rules.
- The One-Friend Buffer
When you think about it, few things are creepier than having a person hunt you down on Facebook to become your “friend.” Trying to find that person you so desire a “friendship” with can lead to a great deal of awkwardness, particularly if that person does not feel the same way about you.
That is why every Facebook user should adopt a one-friend buffer. This is simple. When adding a person, make sure you share AT LEAST one friend in common. By having a single friend in common, that person will assume that you are an okay person and not a crazy psychopath bent on ruining their life.
- Make sure it is the correct person
It can happen to anyone. You meet a cool guy named Jack Smith. He shares your interest in Indie Rock and has a common love of the work of Jack Kerouac. You type in his name to add him, click “Add Friend,” when suddenly you realize this isn’t the Jack Smith you know. This Jack Smith wears Ed Hardy shirts, posts about “awesome Jägerbombs,” and talks endlessly about the latest Buck Cherry concert he went to.
A quick glance at the picture of the person you’re adding can save you time and a great deal of pain and suffering. No one wants to have to sort through a wall full of Seether YouTube links and quotes from “Entourage.”
- Messaging can wait
Once you have added that person, you don’t want to spook them. You have just entered into what could become a very important “friendship” but you don’t want them to think that you view them as a BFBNRFF. (Best Friend But Not Really Friend Forever)
Hold off on sending them messages. Play it cool. You don’t want to come on too strong at the beginning of your “friendship.” This will make them hate you very quickly.
- “The Friendship Timeline Axiom”
You run across a person you went to school with, but you don’t know if you are allowed to add them. This happens all the time. No one wants to be that person who adds everybody they went to school with. Those people are very very sad.
The guideline to this is very simple. Take the number of years you were friends with a person. If that number is equal to or greater than the number of years you have gone without speaking to them, you are safe to add them.
You were friends with John for two years. You have not seen John in 18 years. You are not allowed to add him as a friend.
You were friends with Gene for 12 years. You have not seen Gene in six years. You can add Gene without crossing into that creepy Facebook stalker territory.
See how simple it is?
- You must know the person
Don’t add strangers. This is how people end up dismembered in a random cornfield. Plus it is just creepy to the stranger you are adding. Since dismemberment and/or being creepy are negatives, don’t do it.
Now you are ready to add Facebook friends. Just remember, “friends” don’t necessarily translate into real friends.
- You: Facebook Pulls ‘Stalker’ App (thedailybeast.com)
- How stupid do you have to be to think you’ll have privacy on Facebook? (zdnet.com)
- Facebook’s Still Debating Whether or Not to Let in Your 12-Year-Old; Are You Still Concerned? (webpronews.com)