Facebook Friend Snubs; You May Be Asking For It

How do you handle rejection? How you handle rejection in HR will make or break your career. Indulge me in a little story.

Today for the first time, straight on, openly, someone denied my friend request on Facebook. Ouch. See I sent a friend request to someone and never got a response (for like a year). I thought, maybe it got lost in the shuffle. So, since we seem to run in the same writing circles, I messaged them asking to friend me, IF and only if they were cool with it. I also said if you aren’t that’s OK cause I know FB is something a little more personalized. When I wrote them that “out”, I really meant it.

Then they rejected me. They indicated that maybe after SHRM12 they would (I guess after they got to know me better). The response was a nice one (this person is nice after all). But it politely declined my invite. Wuh? Holy crap. Really? So after I shook it off and got over myself, I thought about it more clearly.

Disclaimer:  This is not a post slamming this person.  I have denied requests as well.  Also, some really do keep FB limited to personal friends.

A few thoughts:

  • Rejection sucks. You can’t change that. I don’t care – even the coolest of the cool hate to be rejected.
  • Chill.
  • Take adults at face-value.  What you see is what you get.  This person didn’t accept my friend request a year ago; I shouldn’t have made justifications for it; it just is.
  • It is OK to get rejected.
  • It is really OK to get rejected if you TELL them they can.
  •  You should NEVER have to ask someone to be your friend twice. In real life you should never really have to ask them once, friendships aren’t forced, they just are. I learned that lesson in Jr. High. Now, Facebook you may ask twice because the premise is asking for friends. But really, just once peeps unless a door is opened another way.
  • Not everything is about you.

HR Takeaway:

  • Your ideas will get rejected regularly, cause you have no authority.
  • Handle professional rejection calmly and patiently.  Being obnoxious about it is just dumb.
  • With adult co-workers what you see is what you get most of the time.  You shouldn’t have to make too many excuses for certain actions.
  • Don’t give co-workers that automatic “out” to your ideas. For instance, don’t position yourself to be rejected. What do I mean. Don’t say, “I really have this wonderful idea for succession planning… but if you aren’t feeling it, or think it is too premature to roll out that is OK”. You’re projecting 12 reasons why it doesn’t have to work.

So how should I have asked for the friend request?  Instead of “friend me please….if you want (head bowed down)”, I should have said “I’ve seen your posts and think we have similar HR styles.  I’m VP of People for a tech co, Write for Fistful of Talent and the Insomniac and may even be a potential customer.  I think we could learn alot from each other so I’m reaching out….”

I very well could have been rejected again, but WOULDN’T have been asking for it. 

I have to say, I respect the fact that this person had the decency to respond to my message.  Others just ignore, delete, and hide behind the media.  Good for this person for having a little courage.

But even if they “like” me better after SHRM, I won’t ask again.

Published by

Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

VP People & Culture/ Talent Consulting at Kinetix. Advisor. Speaker. Writer.

4 thoughts on “Facebook Friend Snubs; You May Be Asking For It

  1. This is a great post! Whenever you are asking to connect with someone, there is always a small chance of rejection and I agree that we have to learn to not take it personally. We have a post on the SmartRecruiters blog about handling candidate rejection that is kind of related to this: http://www.smartrecruiters.com/static/blog/candidate-rejection-an-art-and-science/

    It looks like we blog about similar topics, so this is my request to connect and consider the possibility of doing some blogging together!

  2. I admit, its me 🙂 I used to have A LOT of people on Facebook that I “kinda” knew or knew through association briefly at an event and it just wasn’t for me. So over the last 6 months, I have defriended and been very selective on those I accept and have less than 200 friends on their now.

    I have VERY few people on Facebook for a number of reasons:

    1. I’m a single mom with young kids. I’m really protective of how much stuff is available about them and that side of my life with work people.
    2. I don’t talk about work on personal facebook. I do talk about a lot of random dumb more personal stuff – my family, my neighbors over for deck night, stupid other stuff that seems fitting at the time. When I had emergency surgery this spring, my divorce, etc – The idea of having someone I don’t really know see *that* much is hard for me. I’m honestly a very reserved person.
    3. Honestly, I’m not even friends with 2 of my brothers.
    4. I hate filters. I think the fact that you have to filter out what you say to certain groups is too much effort. I need a place to just be me.
    5. I had a legit social media stalker and it almost destroyed me. They friended under fake names, created identities. It was messed up.
    6. Because if we are facebook friends, I want to actually keep up with you, your life, what’s going on. I want to engage and continue to build a relationship that was started.

    So long story short, its honestly not you, its totally me. I don’t want to be “friends” with someone on facebook, before we are real friends in real life. And I know you aren’t the only one who has been upset or thrown off by it, but Its not because I’m a bitch or mean or think I’m better than anyone – its truly because I believe in genuine relationships – social media or not – and would literally do ANYTHING for my friends.

  3. we’re good girl….Your stalker story is awful. we all need and should be selective about ANYTHING public. This really was more an expose on me and hr than you doing anything wrong cause you just didn’t. You provided me a good example for my own self-reflection. Really for years I kept twitter professional and FB strickly live friends. I get it. I appreciated you responding to my message openly and honestly. I do believe you are a good friend to your peeps.

    See you at SHRM… and I do hope we get some quality time to chat. If we aren’t BFF after… that’s ok too. We can be conference/blog pals. 🙂 Thanks for your comment sarah, it was a good one.

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