Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings
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Facebook is all about connecting with other people and making friends. Yet friend requests are delicate and can quickly get you in trouble with Facebook. While you probably won’t get banned for inappropriate friend requests, many people have been blocked from adding more friends. And even if it was a mistake, there’s no way to lift the block early. It really does help knowing the unwritten rules.

On Facebook, innocent mistakes can lead to drastic consequences Banned: What Happens When Facebook Doesn't Like You [Feature] Banned: What Happens When Facebook Doesn't Like You [Feature] When I interviewed Mark S. Zuckerberg, I thought that he was a charming, polite guy. When he talked, he did so with a typically Midwestern drawl. He has raised a large family and has a... Read More . Novices face many stumbling blocks. But with our Facebook friend request tips, you can avoid unintentional punishment and generally make the most of all features around Facebook friends.

How to Add Friends on Facebook?

Here is a little refresher on the basics of adding friends for those of you not too familiar with Facebook. Everyone else, please skip ahead.

When logged into Facebook, you can see all your pending friend requests via the Friends icon in the top right. If you have unseen friend requests pending, you will also see a red number overlaying the icon, indicating how many people have requested to friend you.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Friend Request

Click the icon to expand a menu that shows all pending Friend Requests and a list of People You May Know.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Pending Friend Requests

Click Confirm to add a friend or Delete Request to deny the request. The sender won’t be notified.

You can also search for people you know, open their profiles, and — if they accept friend requests from the public or friends of friends — add them by clicking the +1 Add Friend button located right next to their name.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Add Friend

To cancel a friend request, go back to their profile, hover over the button that now reads +1 Friend Request Sent and select Cancel Request from the menu.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Cancel Friend Request

You can also remove a friend via their profile or your Friends list. Facebook does not notify people if you remove them. However, it is possible to track your Friend list with third-party tools and receive alerts when people remove you Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins Are You Being Unfollowed? Check With These Apps and Plugins In my opinion, one of the best things Facebook ever did was to let users "unfriend" each other without any notifications. There have been numerous examples where I’ve regretted "friending" someone, and I’ve avoided tons... Read More .

Rather than unfriending people who are flooding your Newsfeed with silly posts, try unfollowing 12 Amazingly Useful Facebook Tricks You Probably Didn't Know About 12 Amazingly Useful Facebook Tricks You Probably Didn't Know About It's Facebook. You use it every day and yet it changes something every other week. Are you completely sure you know all of the most useful tricks to make it manageable? Read More them. That way you can maintain your sanity, without risking the loss of a friendship.

From your Newsfeed (Home) find a post from your overactive friend, click the arrowhead in the top right to expand the post menu, and click Unfollow.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Unfollow Post

Alternatively, head to your friend’s profile, expand the menu right next to your friendship status, and select Unfollow from the bottom.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Unfollow Profile

And with that, you know all the basics about Facebook friend requests. And now for unwritten rules around sending friend requests…

Connect Before You Add Someone

Facebook wants you to add only people you know in real life. If your friend requests frequently remain unanswered or even if just one person reports your friend request as unwanted, Facebook may conclude that you have sent friend requests that violate their Community Standards, especially the point addressing bullying and harassment. Consequently, Facebook may block you from sending friend requests for a period of time.

To avoid being blocked from adding friends, follow these guidelines:

  • Make it easy for people to recognize you, i.e. use your photo and real name.
  • Try to add only people who you have mutual Facebook friends with.
  • Send your desired contact a message introducing yourself before you add them.

In other words: don’t look like a fake account, don’t add random strangers, and don’t be a stranger Facebook Now Helps You Make Friends With Strangers Facebook Now Helps You Make Friends With Strangers Facebook's new feature is designed to help you make new friends, providing a simple way of breaking the ice with complete strangers. Useful? Definitely. Creepy? Probably. Read More !

Add Friends Conservatively

You will often want to add a new friend immediately, even though you don’t have mutual friends on Facebook. And it might be more awkward to send a message first than to add them directly. That’s cool. Just be sure you don’t add too many people In Defense of a Large Facebook Friends list In Defense of a Large Facebook Friends list Why do I have so many Facebook friends? Why won't I delete them? And how do I manage the noise from so many people? Read on to find out. Read More without common friends at once.

If you don’t know someone, just want to know what they post to Facebook, and if there is an option to follow them, give that preference over adding them as a friend. This allows you to see what they are up to, but your Timeline is not shared with them.

Report Spammy Friend Requests

When you delete a friend request, Facebook promises that the sender won’t be notified. But they might send you a new request. If you can’t get rid of them, you can use the Mark as Spam button — which comes up after you delete their request — to block further friend requests from that person.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Mark as Spam

Keep in mind that if you do this, the person may be penalized.

Block Friend Requests From Strangers

Facebook allows you to limit who can send you friend requests. Applying the limitation will keep those strangers desperate to connect with you out of trouble. From the Friend Requests menu in the top right, click Settings and choose Everyone or Friends of Friends from the drop-down menu.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Friend Request Settings

Alternatively, click the arrowhead in the top right to expand the Facebook menu, select Settings > Privacy, and under Who can contact me? click Edit and select Everyone or Friends of Friends.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Friend Privacy Settings

Review Friend Requests You Have Sent

Click the Friends icon at the top, click Find Friends, and click View Sent Requests. From here you can cancel pending requests.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Friend Requests Sent

Decide Who Can See Your Friends List and Friend Activity

Expand the Facebook menu from the top right and select Activity Log. In the left-hand menu, click MORE underneath Comments to expand all Facebook sections. Click Friends to browse all activities related to adding, accepting, and removing friends. Here, you can further refine your privacy settings by choosing who can see your friends list and where your friend activity will show up.

In the top right, you’ll see a note saying Who can see your friend list? Click the Settings icon to its right to expand a list of options. The explanation hidden under [?] could help you decide which setting is right for you.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Friends List

Furthermore, you can fine-tune where your friend activity can show up. Click the message icon to the right of the Friends menu to see your options.

Facebook Friend Requests: Unwritten Rules & Hidden Settings Facebook Hide Friend Activity

This setting allows you to friend someone and hide it How to "Friend" Someone on Facebook & Hide It From Your Status Updates How to "Friend" Someone on Facebook & Hide It From Your Status Updates Don't want everyone to know you've got a new Facebook friend? Here's how to hide your new connections from your wall, status updates, and News Feed. Read More from your status updates.

Your Facebook Friendships Mastered

Friend requests on Facebook remain awkward. Whether you add your best friend, someone you know from school, your mom, or your boss, everyone is a “friend”. Well, obviously not! And Facebook does acknowledge various levels of friendship. After all, you can sort your friends into close friend, family, acquaintance, or any other custom list you create.

Have you cleaned up your Friend list, recently? It may be time to unfollow or delete Facebook friends 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Deleting Facebook Friends 5 Reasons Why You Should Start Deleting Facebook Friends Once upon a time, Facebook was all about adding; more social used to equal more fun. Not anymore. Now it's all about deleting. Read More .

What is your policy for adding friends and what kind of issues have you run into with friend requests?

Image Credit: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Julian
    November 16, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Personally and within reason, I dont see an issue with adding friend requests from strangers. I believe it's an essential part of networking and is partly what the internets all about, connecting with like minded individuals around the globe and learning their ways and cultures.
    One question I do have is, is there a way I can send a custom message automatically as soon as someone accepts my friend request?

    • Tina Sieber
      November 20, 2017 at 4:21 am

      I know they have this feature for automatically responding to messages sent to a Facebook page. But on a private profile and for friend requests, no, not that I know of.

  2. Sophia
    November 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Is is okay to accept more than a thousand friend requests in a day? I don't mind adding unknown people.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 13, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Accepting friend requests en masse shouldn't be an issue. Note that if you expect this to happen on a regular basis, you should create a Facebook page. Facebook has put a limit on how many friends you can accept and it's somewhere around 10,000.

  3. West Derwin
    October 31, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    facebook is evil. People: Wake up and ditch facebook. I promise you that your lives will get better and be more fulfilling. Our teenage kids do not want anything to do with facebook. Let's learn from them!!!

    • Tina Sieber
      November 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I'm seriously curious: What are your teenage kids using instead? Are they using Snapchat, WhatsApp, or other social media apps? What do you recommend to replace Facebook with?

      I think Facebook is as good as you make it. I hear people complaining about all the spite and evil on Facebook, but that's not my experience at all. I have curated my Newsfeed to only include friends, family, and pages who are respectful and who I care to hear from. I block content (including ads) I don't like and I "unfollow" people who only post annoying or offensive content. I also don't engage in negative groups. Hence, my Facebook experience is overwhelmingly positive. My Newsfeed is peaceful and the groups I'm a member of are constructive and helpful.

      I realize that I have crafted my own "social media bubble", which possibly is an "echo chamber". But at least it's a supportive and constructive environment. Actually, I get a lot of inspiration from my Facebook friends; things I would not have seen or thought about otherwise.

  4. Kalene
    September 2, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Why doesn't a request go through if it's a real life friend and you have friends in common and this is the first attempt at a request

  5. john
    August 31, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    If I already did the "Mark as Spam" a friend request from a strange person and he is not able to "add as friend" me anymore, does this action have limit time? I mean: Does the "add as friend"become active anymore in future or permanently disabled?

    • Tina Sieber
      August 31, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      It should remain disabled permanently, at least until you remove them from your block list. This doesn't prevent them from opening a new account though.