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How to Deal with a Co-Worker’s Friend Request

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Hi A & A,

I have a tricky social media situation. A few of my co-workers friended me on Facebook, but I view FB as a personal place. I have all my pictures from college on there, and I’m always joking around with my friends. I just want to keep work and personal life separate, you know?

How do I turn down the friend request without pissing people off?

Thanks for your question, Letitia, it’s one we receive often. We agree that work and private life should be kept separate, and Facebook is a place filled with blurred lines. Here are your options:

1. Ignore.

Yep, you heard us right. Your co-worker will have no way of knowing if you’re a super heavy user of FB, so if he/she ever drills you on it, you can say, “Oh, sorry, I’m just never on.”

2. Ignore and explain.

If you want to be a little more straightforward here, ignore the friend request and then explain your reasoning in person. Something like: “Mary, I saw that you friended me… I know it sounds crazy, but everyone always says you should keep professional and personal stuff separate, so I’m trying to do that.” Any sane person will understand.

3. Accept and edit.

If you’re worried about offending your co-worker, you can always accept the friend request and then edit your privacy settings so your co-worker can’t see photos, status updates, and shares. You can also “hide” your co-worker from your news feed so you never see their face outside the office.

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