1. Do You Know This Person?
This is important when on Facebook. You’re going to get a friend requests from people you may not know. Generally, they are spammers. You can generally tell if they are a spammer because most spammers, for whatever reason, have profile pictures of young, attractive girls and don’t have many friends, bizarre location, etc. Deny these friend requests. If you get a request from an actual person you don’t know, send them a message to ask where they know you from. I do this often with young kids from my high school who end up adding me because they know my last name. You always want to at least know who you are adding on Facebook. It can get creepy, so it’s better to be safe and double check that you know someone instead of accidentally accepting a spammer’s request.
2. Would You Talk to This Person in a Social Setting?
This is an extension of the first question. If you know them, you then need to ask yourself if you’d talk to them if you saw them in the grocery store or on the sidewalk. If yes, then adding them as a friend shouldn’t be a stretch at all. If you wouldn’t talk to them, why would you let them be your online friend? Now sometimes you know someone, wouldn’t talk to them in person, but would talk to them if you were Facebook friends. There isn’t much of a problem with this. A lot of teens do this with other teens because they are too shy to talk in person and starting a relationship online is a safe and easy way to go about breaking the ice.
3. Are you OK with This Person Seeing your Personal Information?
When you become friends on Facebook (depending on your privacy settings), you allow this new friend to see a lot of information about you. Maybe you’re pretty private so the extent of your information is a few bands you like and some photos of you on vacation. In that case, you don’t have much to worry about. However, if you have all of your employer, education, and family information on Facebook along with a TON of pictures from everything you do, you are essentially living your life on Facebook and allowing every single one of your friends to see it at a personal level. Make sure you’re OK with this new friend seeing pictures of you engaging in questionable behavior, or seeing your status update saying your entire family is on vacation and away from the house. Trust needs to be a high priority on Facebook.
4. Are You Actually Going to Interact With This Person?
If you are actually going to chat and write on this person’s pictures, wall, etc; then friending them shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you are just adding them to look through their pictures because you think they are cute or you’re after a high number of friends, I’d advise against friending this person. Make sure you’re going to put your new friendship to use instead of just allowing this person access to your personal profile without thinking of consequences.
Facebook can be really fun, but also really dangerous. What are some of your strategies in “friending” on Facebook?