I recently came across an article that discussed friend requests on Facebook. The author of this article had received a friend request from someone that he knew when he was in elementary school. When a friend request goes out, no harm is done, and the hope of rekindling a long lost friend is set into motion. That is of course until the person on the other end of the friend request; the one who apparently thinks that he knows how to use social media in the “right” way, realized who this request was from.
In the request there was a personal message stating that they had not talked in a long time and also a phone number hoping to reconnect on the phone if possible. The person sending the request was being completely innocent, using the software of Facebook for the reason it was built, to connect and to communicate. The “victim” on the other end of this friend request got upset. “We have not talked in thirty years, what could you possibly want to say to me now,” he says.
I bring this up, and I could bring up multiple stories like this to you every single day, because I recently came across a very similar situation in my life. I was sitting at work one day when I received an email from a name that I did not know with a [No Title] in the subject line. These are messages that I normally delete, but the name looked legitimate so I decided to open it in hopes it was an actual person. It was from an actual person, someone that had found me through the powers of Google.
This individual asked if I knew a Rick Potts who had graduated from Terre Haute South, had went to Vincennes University, and used to play baseball. That was it, nothing more. It was a simple question of someone trying to find who would end up being my father. Yes, he did graduate from Terre Haute South High School. He did play baseball at Vincennes University, and Indiana State University. The person this individual was looking for was my dad. So, before I gave out my dad’s email address or phone number I called my father to see if he knew this individual.
Sure enough not only did my dad know this man he was his best friend growing up. He and my father had lost touch over time, and through a few emails they had reconnected. My dad drove down to Evansville, where this man lived, to reconnect in person. My dad had not seen this man in over thirty years. (There was an instance where they saw each other at a mall perhaps ten years back but it was brief and nothing came of it.)
So what does that have to do with the article of the man refusing to accept a friend request from thirty years in the past? The point is you never know who that person could be. What if that person is a billionaire and wanted to reconnect by flying you out in his or her private jet for the weekend to catch up? Or what if that person has a terminal illness and wanted to simply say hello to all of those they remember from their past?
The argument that there is no right or wrong way to use social media is simply false. There is a right way to use Facebook. There is also a wrong way to use Facebook. An example of a wrong way to use Facebook is case in point. If someone you do not know or someone from your past for that matter tries to reconnect, do not get upset about it and yell at your readers for not accepting this friend request. Rather send that person a message directly asking them how they are, what has happened in their lives, and why they feel that you should reconnect.
Without the powers of social media my father would have never been reconnected with one of his bet friend from his childhood. That story is enough in my eyes to accept nearly every friend request that comes my way. My dad could not have been happier, nor the individual that reached out to me through my blog, and I am glad that I could be that bridge. So shame on you sir for declining that friend request when you have no idea the reason that individual even wanted to reconnect with you.