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Why You Should Accept My Facebook Friend Request

I often have clients that need advice about separating their personal and business contacts, especially on Facebook. However, I also advise against a big ‘separation.’

While I understand the need for privacy, I’m also an advocate for getting to know people.  It’s that human connection that allows people to get to know you, like you, trust you… and yes –eventually–buy from you.

When I meet someone at a networking event or I engage with them online, I often invite them to join me on social channels, including an invitation to friend me on Facebook.  Most accept my request.

However, I still have a good number that send me a private message and tell me one of two things:

1. I only connect with personal friends and family on Facebook, not business contacts. I hope you understand.

2. I’ll accept your friend request, but I like to keep my Facebook page separate for people I don’t know. I prefer to engage with business professionals on my fan page, which you can like here…..

My response to #1: Yes, I understand. Thank you for letting me know.

What I really think about #1: I do understand, but it makes me sad that you don’t get it. You’ve labeled me as a business contact and nothing more.  Guess I won’t get to know you enough to “like you, trust you, and buy from you.” 

My response to #2:  Thanks, Jane. I am a fan of your page, however, you haven’t updated it since June, so I thought we could engage here.

What I really think about #2: Way to blow the first one-on-one connection we have with each other.

For those of you who aren’t aware, you can create friend lists and filter your connections. You can allow them to see what you want them to see and you can post updates specific to friend lists. (More on lists)

For those of you who make the privacy argument, the bottom line is still this: don’t post anything online – personal page or otherwise – that you wouldn’t want plastered where the ball drops! 

It’s the internet –whether you are aware of it or not–you’re everywhere!

Ken Mueller said in a recent Q&A for my blog, “I DO care what you had for breakfast. I’m building a relationship.”

It’s time to be human, to be real, to be you, and to let others get to know you.

How are you getting to know your current and potential clients? Are you still fearful to embrace this line of thinking?

Join The Conversation

  • Oct 30 Posted 5 years ago Anna @ Copybreak (not verified)

    If I've just met you at a business networking event and have "labelled you" as a business contact - that's because you ARE a business contact. What sort of "friendship" could we have developed in the short time we've known each other?

    To be honest, I started making the business/personal deliniation after a few "business contacts" crossed lines on my personal page which made me very uncomfortable (the lack of chat features on the FB page means all comments are on record). 

    Can I build a friendship with a business contact? Of course I can, but it takes time for that to come.

    Do I need to know all the personal details of someone's life to decide to do business with them? Of course not. I just need to know they're competent at what they do and deliver on their promises. If I need a mechanic, I need someone who can fix my car and keep it within my budget - not a new friend.

    That certainly doesn't mean we cant' be friendly and chat about weekend plans, but am I inviting that person back for dinner or onto my personal FB page? Not until I've gotten to know them much better on a professional level first.

    At the end of the day, I probably share more on my FB page than my personal page and we all enjoy a bit of fun amid the "business", but because the lines have been drawn, that means they don't get crossed either. If you can't build relationships without making everyone your friend first, then perhaps you're the one who "doesn't get it".

  • Oct 30 Posted 5 years ago Shonagh Woods (not verified)

    Agree 100% with Kasey - as already commented earlier. And Kasey has summed it up perfectly.


  • Oct 30 Posted 5 years ago Shonagh Woods (not verified)

    Totally agree with Michelle. I purposely keep Facebook as friends and family only - and I know how to use lists, but I prefer to know that what I post on FB is for that particular audience only. I'm all for building relationships with people I have met through networking - but I can do that much more easily on Twitter. As Michelle said, your personal Facebook profile is about private time, down time, not work and not networking to build business. That's what your page can be for - or twitter profile - or both.

  • Oct 30 Posted 5 years ago locspoc (not verified)

    The debate re quality vs quantity has been going on for years and I think each strategy has it's merits. Here is my take on it anyways... Remember MySpace when people used to try and get millions of friends? But then the network got flooded with spam and people stopped actually using it because it wasn't enjoyable anymore? I think that Facebook is trying very hard to avoid that situation occurring and that's why they have the 5,000 friends limit. Then came Twitter... they discovered that sometimes it's good to let others follow you without you following them back because most people have something that they want to promote whether it be a business, band or personal brand but don't necessarily want to be open to being promoted to by everyone. Twitter figured out that most people whilst they have something that they want to promote, they don't necessarily want to be promoted to. Twitter's model of following instead of friending meant that it could appease both camps - wether you are seeking quality or quantity, you can do both with Twitter. Facebook saw the value of this and that's why we now have Fan Pages and the ability to subscribe to other's updates without being friends. Sure you can pick up a few sales by aggressively following and friending others but think about the people who are going to get "turned off" by this approach? Let's learn from the MySpace experience and evolve not repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

  • rcl4rk's picture
    Oct 29 Posted 5 years ago rcl4rk

    This is a great post. Your major points are dead-on (at least to my way of thinking). I especially agree with the part about being "everywhere." Once I typed in my user name (rcl4rk) into google by accident and 25 pages of links came up (250 links) all digital footprints leading to pretty everywhere I've been on the web dating back to 2008! 

    Thanks for this,

    Rick C.


  • Oct 29 Posted 5 years ago M Uchida (not verified)

    But what if your profile page is nearing that annoying cut-off of 5k FB friends? What other recourse do you have than to get a page?


    And then what - once you have a Page (which I'm trying hard to avoid), do you have to invite everyone to the Page that was already a friend on your Profile, so that you can avoid double-posting and you can actively engage?

  • Oct 28 Posted 5 years ago Jo Saunders (not verified)

    Rachel, great article.  I totally agree and advocate this.  Lists are an amazing too to manage your communication, which is under utilised.  I wish I had understood this better a few years ago and kep my original profile with all my history. 

    Your point about only posting what you really want to share is one I agree with too.  Nothing is private and secure online, so don't share things you wouldn't want your Mum, or children to know!  With the new timeline history is so accessible, which I love, but this can mean those drunken posts or rant fests can come back to haunt you.


    I wrote a blog around this

    One tip to those connecting with people is to act social, just as you woul in person, add an intro message with your friend request to establish where you met or why you want to connect to help firm up the relationship.  There is nothing worse than a friend request form someone you don't know with nothing.  Social media is about relationships so make sure you put the social into your social media strategies!   Find some tips here:


    Look forward to reading more from you Rachel.  Feel free to connect to me.

  • Oct 28 Posted 5 years ago Mike A (not verified)

    Sorry Rachel, but you are merly posting an opnion as an article and nothing more. Also you forget a big thing in marketing called  TARGET DEMOGRAPHICS. This tactic may work on certain groups, but for many markets it would be the kiss of death. Provide some research behind the reasoning and maybe it would be valid. 

  • Oct 28 Posted 5 years ago Michelle Dema (not verified)

    Great article!  I agree completely and you can make lists on Facebook so you can share certain posts only with who you want instead of all your connections.  Thanks!

  • Oct 28 Posted 5 years ago katmadison

    It's nice to be yourself and open and transparent. It's also important to act with discretion -- not just go along w/something because "everyone else is doing it." There is still potential for "big brother" issues which tracetime wisely mentioned (and should not ignore) and in the short term many aren't informed/familiar with how to manage privacy settings. Thanks Rachel for initiating this discussion. In the future, I suggest you don't say that others "don't get it" if they don't agree with you, though -- that statement tended to undermine your argument.

  • Oct 27 Posted 5 years ago Michele S Chris... (not verified)

    I agree with Kasey and keep some separation between business and personal.  I agree that not friending someone on Facebook may mean I miss some sales but it's inaccurate to say that I "don't get it."  I do get it, but to me the cost of those sales, i.e. having business intrude on my personal life, is too high.  When I use my Facebook profile it's strictly for leisure and I don't want to see people's offers, products, etc when I'm having fun.  I do know all about privacy settings and don't post anything that I wouldn't want to be made public.  It's about valuing my time off, and along those lines I don't check messages or email from vacation or on weekends.  Most of what people post on Facebook is mundane details of their life and I'm only interested in those details because of my relationship to the poster.  I don't have any desire to know about the morning cup of coffee from someone I met once at a networking event, and find it hard to imagine why someone would want to know that about me when we only met once.  As far as getting to know, like and trust me, potential customers have loads of ways to do that through my various other outlets.


  • Rachel Strella's picture
  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Holly Nielsen (not verified)

    You exactly nailed it, Rachel! I just heard this recently from a business acquaintance, who will likely remain just that, a business aquaintance. It's unlikely we'll meet face to face since we live on opposite coasts, but who knows what potential collaboration opportunities he's passed up with me by keeping his Facebook "personal", and my knowledge of him as a person superficial. His loss, in the end.

  • Rachel Strella's picture
  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Amanda J (not verified)

    Didn’t your mother ever teach you that if you didn’t have anything nice to say not to say anything at all?

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Hi Kasey,

    Thanks for commenting – and kindly – disagreeing (you would be surprised the jabs I am getting today!).

    I totally understand what you are saying and I think you make a valid point that business contacts need to build a “Facebook relationship” with you. Everyone has to do what is comfortable for them. I am only trying to help people have an open mind.

    Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it and respect it!


  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    This is true of anything online, don’t you agree?

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    I might take your point seriously if you didn't post it anonymously. With that said, we are talking about Facebook of in terms of humanizing your brand. It’s often not as easy to do that on sites like LinkedIn.

  • Rachel Strella's picture
  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Interesting feedback about the business page. Thanks for the insight~

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Interesting feedback about the business page. Thanks for the insight~

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster


    I am still careful about who is connecting with me. I don't just accept any request. But I am trying to tell me people to be more open to it.


  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Emily Chambliss (not verified)

    The proliferation of social media has changed the professional and personal spheres, merging them until you cannot see the lines between.  I think people value transparency, and being open to merge your professional and personal spheres confirms that you have nothing to hide, you are a human being, and you are open and willing to engage with others.  

    Great article.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Mitch Mitchell (not verified)

    Interesting; it's almost like you just advocated that no matter who wants to be your friend on Facebook you should accept them.  Not a bad strategy if one is only thinking business but not a strategy I'd advocate either.


    Truth be told, there are risks across the board when someone indicates they want to be your friend on Facebook.  True, one can go segregating people as much as they like, but I'm not one of those people who spends my time doing that; just not in the mood.  Instead, I tend to check people out by going to their page to see what they might be doing, and then seeing who we both know.  I might not want to work or even get to know some people all that well based on what I see; nothing wrong with being a bit discriminating in who you let into your stream.


    At least that's how I see thing.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago tracetime (not verified)

    Never be less interesting that who you are. The biz page is our attempt to homogenize ourselves for the acceptance of others and is an attempt at honesty at best, false advertising on occasion. 

    Let people know who you are in the same way you get to know them and you will draw who you need.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago tracetime (not verified)

    EXACTLY! I have a biz page and frankly, i hate it. Having to beg everyone to "like" your page and then you end up double posting on their walls, posting your "safe" i.e. boring stuff on your page and what you really think on your personal page is a waste of time and defeats the purpose.

    I'm pretty wide open on facebook and everywhere else on the internet for that matter. I'm aware that it's all public and have no problem with it... except in a kind of creepy "big brother" way, but i ignore that impulse. It's not only about creating relationships and deepening them, it's about being honest enough to be who you are. Nothing worse than getting into business 'bed' with someone and feeling like... "well if I'd known THAT..."

    We are selective and consumer-driven now. Be who you are and draw who you want. Works both ways. Oh... and never seek to be less interesting than you are.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Linda Stacy (not verified)

    Yes, I was trying to joke about breakfast too... sometimes hard to get that across in text. :) 

    I've been less active on Facebook these days. I'm waiting for the dust to clear after all the recent changes to decide how to move forward with it (or not). Perhaps I'll consider going back to just a profile using lists. IDK. Decisions.... decisions... LOL!

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Exactly! Just had this arguement with someone on the SMT Facebook page! :)

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

    maybe you dont get it.. they dont want to be your friend... there are plenty of places to interact on the internet for more business-focused engagements (linkedin, twitter), so why force your approach on others?

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster


    You are spot-on - we have to do what works for us! The whole breakfast thing is more of a joke than anything, but I do think it boils down to personal preference!

    Thanks for chiming in!


  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Kasey Skala (not verified)

    I'm going to have to disagree with your post here. I am one who keeps my Facebook profile only for "friends." Whether it was high school friends, college friends, or people I've been since then, it's for people I would consider a friend at one point.

    Business contacts are not friends. Business contacts are...well business contacts. They may eventually become close colleagues, but it takes time to build that relationship. I understand that you can filter through lists, but Facebook is personal to me. We can connect on LinkedIn and Twitter, but Facebook is different.

    Business is business, no offense. It's not that I don't like you, I just don't feel the need to invite you to Facebook. Especially if we just met. If I wouldn't invite you over to my house for dinner, I'm not friending you on Facebook. Sorry.

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Thanks, Peggy! A conundrum for sure!

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Hi Chelsea,

    I used to separate them, too. More recently, though, I am finding the value of getting to know people on a personal level before doing business with them - especially in service industries. When you think about it, buying is personal so it makes sense!

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Hi Monique,

    Thanks for the support! Glad you agree! You're right - so many are still not 'getting' it! What does it take?!


  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster

    Hi Rob,

    I love that, Rob: people buy from people!

    Rock on!


  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

    Because of this, you don't really get to know anyone trough Facebook. You just learn what kind of an image people would lije you to have of themselves.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Rob Griggs (not verified)

    Very good point Rachel!

    I think you are spot on with this. I have one or two fan pages which anyone may of course join, but I am also happy for clients to connect at a more personal level and friend me on Facebook.

    Like you mention, you can filter who sees what and create a list for business related clients. You can then be sure they cannot see anything you may not want them to see. In time as you build your relationship, you can move them to a more personal list.

    Business has always been about personal relationships. People buy from people after all. 

    Works for me.


  • magoreilly's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago magoreilly

    I 100% agree with this post!  Way to go on telling it like it is.  Sadly, there are so many that still just don't get it.  Hopefully in time they will.  Cheers, Monique

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago mybinding

    Love this article! I have been coming to this same conclusion lately myself. I used to be one that separated business and personal contacts. However, I am in the middle of buying a house and our realtor friended us on Facebook after our first meeting, before we'd even said we wanted to work with her. It's had an impact on us that she "Likes" things on our page and is interested in what we do so she could find the best house for us. It's brought our business relationship to a whole different level and as a result, I'd never work with another agent and will recommend her to anyone I know.

    All that said, I think you bring up two very good points about keeping contacts separate. It's a paradigm shift for many people but one that will be well worth it.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago pkelley

    Great post on one of the "Big Questions" of our times, Got me rethinking the need for more melding/merging.

  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Linda Stacy (not verified)

    I understand there's no real privacy online, but I prefer to separate business and personal contacts online (just as I do offline). I think it's very possible to be personable and to get to know people on a Facebook page. Build relationships? Yes of course. But there's a different level of intimacy with personal friends that I don't have with business friends. The door is always open for a  business friend to become a personal friend, but until that happens, how and what we share is different. 

    To me, the bottom line is this... the beauty of social media is that we each get to decide what works for us. Honestly, I don't want to know what you had for breakfast, so perhaps we aren't compatible. And if you want to know what I had, you'll need to join me, because I don't think I ever even discuss that with my personal friends. ;) 

  • Jörgen Broström's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Jörgen Broström

    Well put, Rachel! I completely agree! There's no reason why you can't connect with business contacts on Facebook. Not now, anyway, when Facebook has introduced lists. These lists, by the way, are much more logical than Google's circles. Allthough most of my contacts on Facebook are still friends and family, I have begun to add business contacts as well. Everyone's on Facebook (literally), so why not use it!

  • Rachel Strella's picture
    Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago centralpawebster Thanks, Bret! Build bridges, not walls. Well said! 
  • Oct 25 Posted 5 years ago Ken Fehner (not verified)

    Very nice and to the point Rachel. 

  • Oct 24 Posted 5 years ago Bret Simmons (not verified)

    Strongly concur. One of the worst lies you can buy from Facebook is that you have privacy on the internet, therefore you can have "your" space for personal friends. Facebook, like all other platforms, should be a place where professionals build bridges, not walls. For serious professionals these are tools, not toys.

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