A lot of people I know refuse to friend people they don’t know in real life on facebook. I understand their logic. Why let a stranger into your inner sanctum? Why allow them access to pictures of you, your friends, your kids… And, really, what would either of you gain by doing this? I understand all of those questions.
But I have people I know in real life that I don’t want to friend on facebook. Some people I am forced to deal with but want to keep things nice and formal with, for example. Others who, perhaps, I am uncomfortable with engaging in this forum because I have lots of different types of friends and one kind rubs the other the wrong way. I’ve been caught in the middle before. There are also people who I really feel I have no business being facebook friends or real life friends with. For example: the treasurer of our home-owners association “friended” every person in the neighborhood with a facebook account. We adamantly refused because 1) she is not the most neighborly person “in person” so there is really nothing to be gained by a virtual relationship, 2) She takes her position as the treasurer very seriously and we didn’t want to give her any access to any personal information more than what she already had, 3) Another neighbor did friend her and found her to be a horrible gossip who was, in fact, using personal things she found out about people against them in real life. No need to have any more contact there. And there are people with whom a facebook friendship would be a conflict of interest, at least in my opinion. People like my children’s current teachers, for example.
And I have, in fact, friended people I did not know in real life. And now, my life would not be as full without them. Many were friends of my husband’s from high school. Some are moms I know via their blogs. But a few I met through stranger avenues.
One of these I just recently met. I was friended by people belonging to my local Surfers Healing group, particularly people on the steering committies, volunteers, etc over the last couple of weeks. Networking has given me a ton of info and helped me tremendously. One request came from a fellow mom in the group. I accepted figuring that if things did not work out, there is always the “unfriend” button. In the past few days, we have been a constant support to one another and then I realized that before Surfers Healing, before the friend request, my mother had sent me an article from her local paper about this exact woman and her child. It was an article that very much touched my heart and when I realized this was the woman who friended me…I was blown away. We say God works in mysterious ways and He certainly does. My mother reads the column she sent me religiously, there is no doubt in my mind that God put that columnist on this story. And that something about me, through my involvement in the group, made this woman reach out to me. Amazing doesn’t begin to describe it.
Many of my friends complain and get downright angry if someone who is mutual friends with one of their friends sends a friend request. I don’t bother complaining or getting angry. Nor do I accept all of those requests. I decline most of them. But, I have found that sometimes the compelling reason to accept can’t be explained and when it turns out to be part of God’s plan…it is worth it to reach out in friendship.