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Friending people on Facebook


In a work or college class setting, after how many days/convos is it considered socially acceptable to ask for someone’s Facebook?
realsocailskills said:
I think that in most situations, you shouldn’t be asking someone for…

cocksucking-accent said:

Re privacy: you could also have two Facebooks! For example: I’m trans and autistic, but stealth about both at work. (Openly queer, though.)

I have my old FB all set to private, with a nickname as my name and a drawing as my photo. Once you friend me on that, you have access to pre-transition photos of me and pretty political stuff, but I post rarely.

My work FB (since my industry is all short-term jobs gotten through word of mouth, so networking is Important) has my full name, just a couple of photos and some info, and I make most posts public. I post often because networking, but the public-ness of it makes me think twice about everything I post. Really, there’s no difference between “public” and not for me because I will friend back anyone from work. Kinda like LinkedIn. So my posts are less involved than my personal ones - for example, I’ve posted a couple of trans news articles but without any comments that would out me as anything other than a ~trans activist~. It IS professionally important for me to work with people who at the very least aren’t openly bigoted, so I’m okay being public with some of my “social consciousness.”

wisdomengine said:

A word of warning: having two Facebook accounts is a violation of their ToS. Same with LinkedIn, btw. This means if somebody who wants to do you dirt finds out you have two, they can get you in trouble, and get one of your accounts shut down — or maybe get you banned from the service for good. Not saying you shouldn’t do it — I do it in LinkedIn — but it’s not no big thing, and you should know the risk you’re running.

I think this is a serious social justice problem with both FB and LinkedIn, for exactly the sort of use case you describe: people have legit reasons of self-protection that they might want to have two accounts. Identities in transition are one such; separating the personal and the professional is another; having the old one your stalker knows about and a completely different one you actually use is another. Services that force consolidation of identity under a real name are doing evil in the world, largely to already marginalized people.

It also impacts artists, or anybody managing multiple careers. I’m someone with more than one career, so having more than one LinkedIn makes sense; trying to have all the info from both careers just makes me look like a light-weight, and halves the number of skills I can list for each. This is a common problem for, e.g. performing artists who have “day jobs”. They might reasonably want to have a LinkedIn resume detailing their acting/directing/stage managing/set design/pit orchestra/etc work history, but they don’t want all that in there if they’re trying to land a tech support job to pay the bills.

I’ve already complained directly to LinkedIn about this. (FB I consider a moral lost cause.) If this bugs you too, please consider complaining to the relevant parties.

And be careful if you do have multiple accounts.



slashmarks answered to your post “Friending people on Facebook”

When I actually used my facebook, the only situation where I asked people for theirs was if I didn’t expect to meet them again

realsocialskills said:

What kind of circumstances did you do that in? Meeting people at conferences? Or something else?

slashmarks said:

Meeting people in public and enjoying talking to them in general. Giving out my phone number might encourage people to call me, which I didn’t want to do since talking on the phone is almost impossible for me, and my IM screen names and emails at the time were too connected to my online personas for me to be comfortable mixing them with people who knew who I was in real life. Facebook was a real-life-friends-only venue that was entirely text-based, so I’d ask for a Facebook in the place that I might have asked for other contact information.

At this point, I no longer use Facebook because it’s my opinion that their total lack of ethics and tendency to sell content posted by users to advertisers make it uncomfortably risky, but I never had a bad reaction to asking under those circumstances.

eppieblack answered to your post “Friending people on Facebook”

If you know them well enough to find them, but they aren’t your boss, then it’s ok.

realsocialskills said:

I agree that it’s ok, in the sense that you’re not wronging coworkers by sending them a friend request.

It’s just that it may not be advisable. It’s worth thinking about whether you really want to know the things you’ll find out by seeing their feed, and if you really want them seeing yours.

There’s no right or wrong answer to that. It’s ok to friend coworkers, and it’s ok to keep more distance. Both approaches have merits.

It’s also important to understand that a lot of people don’t friend coworkers. If a coworker doesn’t friend you back, there’s a good chance that it’s not personal, and it’s important not to take it as a personal insult. 

alliecat-person answered to your post “Friending people on Facebook”

Please don’t try to friend your TA, especially if you’re still in class with them. We are your instructors, not your friends.

realsocialskills said:

Do you think this applies even if you’re not in their class anymore and not likely to be in the future? (Eg: if you’re a senior in a program in which classes only have TAs in the first couple years of the program?)

Friending people on Facebook

In a work or college class setting, after how many days/convos is it considered socially acceptable to ask for someone’s Facebook?
realsocailskills said:
I think that in most situations, you shouldn’t be asking someone for their Facebook. Generally speaking, the way to connect with someone on Facebook is to send them a friend request without mentioning it elsewhere. This lets them either friend you or not, depending on what they are comfortable with.
If you think that they might not know who you are, it can be a good idea to send a message with your friend request. Like “Hi, I’m in your physics class.”
If you can’t find someone on facebook, don’t ask. If someone is hard to find on Facebook, they have probably made it that way intentionally. If they want to be Facebook friends, they will send you a request. (The except is if you are both hard to find on Facebook and you are becoming friends. Then it’s ok to say something like “So, we’re both pretty hard to find on Facebook. Should we add each other?”)
Friending people who go to your school is usually ok, and unlikely to be seen as invasive. Most people will probably friend you back (although that’s their choice, and it’s important not to be pushy about it.)
In a professional setting, it is more complicated.
Facebook blurs relationship boundaries and causes you to find out all kinds of things you wouldn’t find out if you kept things to in-person interactions. You might be better off not knowing those things. You might be better off if some people don’t know those things about you, particularly people you work with professionally. 
Some people do not friend coworkers. Some people like to keep Facebook for personal friends and keep it as much out of their professional life as possible. Some people don’t like being easily contacted outside of work. In a work context, it might be better to err on the side of not friending people, unless you’re getting to the point of interacting with them outside of work.
Rule of thumb: If you have to work with someone, and your working relationship would be destroyed if you find out they have abhorrent political views or distasteful hobbies, you probably should not friend them on Facebook.
If your job is a campus job that you can change easily, or it’s a short-term internship, then it’s probably perfectly fine and even advisable to friend peers. That’s a good way to network and build relationships, and the risks are relatively low. If you find out something that undermines your ability to work together, you’ll probably be able to tolerate it in the short term knowing that the working relationship will end soon.
If someone is working for you, you probably shouldn’t send them a friend request unless they’re also in your social circles. If they want to be facebook friends, they will friend you. Even then, consider not accepting the request. If you’d really rather not know your employees’ political views or what they get up to when they’re not at work, you’re better off not seeing their Facebook posts.
Some people basically friend everyone who friends them or who they have ever connected with. That can be ok too, but if that’s your strategy, then it’s important to be a lot more careful about what you post on Facebook.
For instance, if you are friends with everyone on Facebook and you post a lot of controversial politics, it will undermine your ability to work with people who disagree with your views, even in completely apolitical contexts. If you are friends with everyone and post pictures of yourself partying, it will cause people to see you as less serious and professional.
There are many different strategies for using Facebook. They all have merits and downsides.
Facebook is a great way to connect with people and have conversations and plan things. When it works, it’s wonderful. But it can also cause far too much connection. In relationships that should be limited, be careful about using Facebook.
What do y'all think? How do you decide who to friend and manage boundaries on Facebook?

Facebook overload

Hey there. I have ADHD, and at times my sensory processing isn’t exactly up to par. My school’s department uses a Facebook account to update the students on important events. There are alternative ways (email, website), but they are often less updated. I don’t have a Facebook account- I tried years ago and it was too much stimulation to take. Is there anyone well versed in Facebook that can provide a guide to create a Facebook account that provides the least amount of stimulation as possible?
realsocialskills said:
I think probably the best thing would be to make a Facebook account that you only use to follow event notifications.
  • If you don’t friend anyone or join other groups, then you won’t end up with a big overwhelming news feed.
  • It might be better to use a fake name and picture so that people don’t find you and friend you and expect you to pay attention to them.
  • If you do need to use your real name and friend people back, you can hide them in your news feed and unsubscribe to notifications from them.
  • You can set it so that you get notifications in your email about group activity, and then you won’t have to log in very often

If the problem is that the website is too overloading rather than that there is too much information, you might try using the mobile version.

  • The iPhone/iPad app is more streamlined and less visually noisy than the desktop version
  • If you go to m.facebook.com instead of www.facebook.com, you get a very simplified mobile version of the site even on a desktop computer. Some people find that easier to manage.

Do any of y'all have suggestions?

arranging meetups


So since I’ve been home from uni I’ve not seen a single friend. I am trying to arrange a meetup with someone I’ve not seen in years but am not getting much from her end. I was going to contact another but then her mother was taken to hospital so I’ve left her alone for now (though hopefully her mother will be out tomorrow so depending on how she is my friend might be up for socialising).

Is it too casual to put a post on fb saying “gonna be in *hometown* for another month anyone fancy a meetup?” or do I need to contact individuals directly?

realsocialskills said:

I’m guessing from your language that you are in the UK. If so, I’m not sure I will have good advice on the conventions in your area - I’m mostly familiar with American use of Facebook.

In the circles I travel in, posting that kind of post would be completely socially acceptable. It would also be acceptable to tag people in it who you would like to see.

That said, doing it this way might not be particularly effective. You might have better results if you also contact people directly. You also might have better results if you make a Facebook event to try to arrange a gathering at a particular time:

  • It helps if it’s of the form “Let’s get together at [place we like to go] at [time people are likely to be free].
  • Eg: Let’s go to the bar next week on Saturday night.

What do y'all think? What are good ways to use Facebooks to arrange to meet up with friends while you’re in town?

a reason some red flags for fake profiles might be misleading

 queeringmylife said: Sometimes trans people might not be friends with very many people from college and may be using a different name than they used at college so an alumni office may be unfamiliar with their preferred name.

Realsocialskills said:

That’s a really important point.


 queeringmylife said: Sometimes trans people might not be friends with very many people from college and may be using a different name than they used at college so an alumni office may be unfamiliar with their preferred name.

some indications that a facebook profile might be fake

Some people use fake facebook profiles to stalk or harass other people.

Here are some things that are red flags for a fake profile:

Having very few friends:

  • Most Facebook users friend mostly people they know in person, or friends of friends
  • If someone doesn’t friend anyone they know, it’s suspicious - it’s possible that they don’t know anyone because they aren’t actually a real person.
  • That’s not an absolute indicator. While it is unusual, some people create Facebook profiles in order to interact with strangers. (Some of those people use pseudonyms in order to maintain their privacy. That’s not the same as a fake account).
  • It’s also fairly common for people to friend people they know and people they don’t know. People who do this usually have a lot of Facebook friends.
  • People who friend strangers generally friend a lot of strangers. If they’re only friending you and a couple of other people, that’s suspicious. It suggests that the account is about getting access to you, rather than finding people to talk to.
  • This is particularly the case if they still have very few friends weeks after friending you.

Having suspicious clusters of friends:

  • If there are six people who are all friends with each other and each profile has hardly any other friends, they may all be fake profiles created to make the primary fake profile look more realistic
  • Being a person who friends strangers but has few friends is suspicious in itself. A cluster of people who have hardly any friends is *extremely* suspicious.
  • This is particularly the case if the accounts were all created at around the same time
  • (Again, especially if some of the accounts are claiming to be college alumni in their 20s - it’s very unusual for people who really are in that group to create a profile *after* college. If a whole cluster does that, it’s suspicious).

Undue interest in you:

  • If someone is showing way more interest in you than would be expected between strangers, it’s suspicious
  • It’s an indication that the person talking to you might be someone you know who you don’t want to talk to. (Especially if they’re using unusual idioms you associate with that person).
  • Also if they seem to share *all* of your interests and have very few interests that you don’t share.
  • Especially if they’ve joined hard-to-find groups that you created.
  • It’s a red flag for other things too; people who decide that you are emotionally close before you’ve actually established a relationship are dangerous.

Claims about college that don’t match their profile

  • People who went to college almost always have friends from that college.
  • This is particularly the case for people in their 20s.
  • If someone claims to have gone to a school and has no or very few friends from that school, it’s suspicious.
  • (It’s not an absolute indicator).
  • If you call the alumni office, you can ask if a person with that name ever went to that school, and they are generally willing to tell you.
  • If the alumni office tells you that no one by that name went there, it’s a very strong indicator that the account is fake, especially in combination with other factors.


  • People usually post pictures of themselves on facebook.
  • It’s suspicious if they don’t.
  • Particularly if they post pictures of other things
  • (But not an absolute indicator - some people do this for innocent reasons, or to protect their privacy)
  • If their pictures seem unduly familiar, or have unusual objects you recognize, take that seriously. Even if you’re not sure why it feels that way.

Another thing about Facebook



Facebook is an environment with confusing boundaries. It’s easy to inadvertently cross lines on Facebook. Almost everyone ends up inadvertently violating boundaries on Facebook that they would never violate in person.

But not all boundary violation on Facebook are like that. Facebook can also be used for stalking. Serious stalking. Not semi-cute awkwardness like commenting on too many things.

Facebook can be used to harass people. It can be used to try to force contact. It can be used to track someone’s movements. It can be used to find out who the victim associates with, and then to try to use those people to get to them.

If you are Facebook friends with both an abuser and their victim, this can hurt the victim. It can, and often does, result in you accidentally giving information to the abuser that it is dangerous to the victim to have. This is the case even if the victim has blocked the abuser.

(For instance, photos of the victim that you post or comment on can show up in the abuser’s news feed.)

If you’re close to someone who is extracting themself from an abusive relationship, and they ask you to unfriend their abuser, it’s important to take that request seriously.

This is serious and a huge reason why I deactivated my facebook. Mutual “friends" - who I foolishly actually believed were my friends - used my fb profile to find out what events I was planning to attend on the weekend and then would tell my ex-boyfriend so he could show up and harass me. Then I had other friends who were not close with my ex and no longer spoke to him, yet they still wouldn’t delete him even after I asked because they wanted their friends list to be as big as possible so they’d look more popular and relevant. Fuck that noise. Not worth the hassle. FB’s been deleted for years now.

Facebook boundaries



(This is in regards to your recent post about no, boundaries, and pushing people around.) After a multi-year relationship ends, person A still feels intense pain on seeing person B’s face/name on friends Facebook walls. Person B has largely removed themselves from person A’s social circles, but the mutual friends keep them as Facebook friends. Would it be asserting or pushing for person A to politely ask that those friends remove person B from their Facebook due to the pain person A feels?
I think it depends on the situation and the relationships involved. I think that would usually be more like pushing people around, but not always. 
I think that it’s usually unreasonable to expect people to choose between person A and person B in a breakup, unless the relationship was abusive. And asking people to unfriend someone on Facebook is definitely asking them to take sides.
And even if the relationship was abusive, it might not be in your interests to try to convince every single person who knows both of you of this.
That said, if you block someone on Facebook, then they won’t show up in your feed even if they comment on things that you can see. Blocking someone makes them invisible to you for the most part. I think it would be better to try that first.

Been there done that from an abusive relationship. Block, block, block. Totally a great idea. It’s been years since I last talked to them and they’re still blocked as well as their friends who I was friends with on Facebook (but not close to) who kept tagging him in their status. (You can’t see the blocked person’s page but that doesn’t prevent people from talking about them in posts.) There are three or four people on my block list. It was a really great idea and I have absolutely zero regrets.

(Now if only I could get stop getting gossip updates about them from my friend who hate-shares new happenings with me when we see each other. Not helping, dude.)

Things I think I know about Facebook

Facebook is difficult to do right because it’s a new form of interaction, and it keeps changing. it’s a weird new ambiguous social space. There aren’t clear rules for it, and it’s messing up some social rules that used to exist. 

So there isn’t really one right approach. But here are some principles that I think have merit:

Post things that you feel like saying which your friends might want to hear about, or which your friends might leave comments you want to hear:

  • For instance, pictures of your trip to Chicago
  • A status saying that the flowers are awesome today
  • Or a link to an interesting news article
  • Or a joke
  • Or life things like getting a new job, or a relationship, or things of that nature
  • Or a crowd-sourcing question. For instance “does anyone know of a good place in Some Town to entertain two 10 year olds for a couple of hours?” or “What are some books about hamsters?”

The thing you’re posting about doesn’t have to be important.  

Don’t post things you don’t want others to see:

  • For instance, venting on Facebook tends to backfire. If you aren’t going to want something to be visible once you’re not mad anymore, don’t post it.
  • Don’t post anything that’s seriously private, either, no matter what your privacy settings are. If something is on Facebook, other people will treat it as public information
  • If you took pictures of people while you were drunk, or while they were drunk, think twice about posting those pictures to Facebook. At minimum, wait and see if you still think it is a good idea to post the pictures after everyone sobers up
  • It’s generally a bad idea to post anything sexually explicit. Too many people who it’d be better not to discuss sex with will see it.

Protect other people’s safety and privacy:

  • Be careful to avoid outing people. Someone may be out in every context you know them in, but not out to everyone who can see them on Facebook.
  • For instance, someone who is absolutely flamingly gay and out to everyone you know might not be out to his parents, and mentioning on Facebook that he’s gay could cause him problems
  • Similarly, someone who is obviously and openly autistic in every context you’ve encountered them in might not have disclosed this to their school, and might be in danger of being discriminated against if their teachers see pictures of them at an autistic event.
  • If someone’s in a stigmatized group, don’t reference it on Facebook unless they themselves regularly reference it on Facebook or have told you it’s ok to do so

Keep in mind the limits of Facebook as a forum

  • When you post a status, any of your friends who can see it can comment on it
  • This means that anyone can jump in at any time
  • Which means that one guy who tends to ruin conversations is likely to jump in and do so
  • This becomes increasingly likely when you post more controversial things
  • This is especially true when you’re commenting on someone else’s posts. Your perfectly lovely friend may well have some friends who you’d never tolerate socially, but who can comment on their status in ways that bother you.
  • This means that Facebook tends not to be a good kind of forum for extended public discussion
  • Which doesn’t mean don’t ever discuss things on Facebook - doing so can be worthwhile. But you’ll be happier if you stay aware of the inherit limits and don’t expect more than is likely to be possible on Facebook

Facebook is useful for keeping track of events

  • If you want to invite people to something, it can be easier to make a Facebook event than to track down everyone’s contact information and keep track of who has said they are going
  • For this reason, if people want to invite you to something, they’re going to look for you on Facebook
  • This is a reason to have a Facebook account, and to be friends with people who you socialize with in contexts that Facebook events are useful for

Being on Facebook doesn’t mean you owe everyone in the world your attention:

  • You don’t have to check Facebook regularly
  • You don’t have to be friends with anyone you don’t want to be friends with
  • If you want to be someone’s friend (because of mutual events, or to avoid offending them, or some other reason), but you don’t want to pay attention to them, you can hide them from your news feed. Hiding people whose posts annoy you makes Facebook a lot more pleasant and useable.
  • Sooner or later, you’re probably going to have to block someone. There are always people in life who don’t respect boundaries, and you’re allowed to have them anyway and use technology to enforce them.

Some Facebook features that I don’t see the point of:

  • Walls. Walls used to matter before there was a news feed, but I don’t understand what they’re for anymore. It seems to me that they don’t really accomplish anything, but do create ways to make people feel uncomfortable
  • Pokes. They basically just don’t do anything anymore
  • Questions: I just don’t get what this is for.