So, you finally decided to join to Facebook. It has been a great way to keep in touch with family, reconnect with old pals from college and high school, and stay in touch with church members. You enjoy hearing about the activities in friend’s lives, and find encouragement during your trials as well. But then, one day, you find yourself in a sticky situation. An old classmate of yours has requested to be Facebook friends. You barely knew the person at the time, and from the rumors you remember, she lived a very, um, colorful lifestyle. You have no desire to reconnect with her. Is it okay to completely ignore the Facebook request?
Or, let’s say you get a Facebook request from your husband’s cousin. You’ve met her a few times at reunions but don’t seem to care for her much. You have nothing in common with her and have no desire to stay in touch with her. Would it be rude to not accept her Facebook friend request?
Or, let’s say there’s a fellow sister at your church. However, you have found her to be particularly draining. She is constantly complaining about things, and it can be exhausting just to be around her. You have no desire to hear what’s going on in her life, would it be wrong to ignore a Facebook friend request from her?
These situations are not uncommon. Every day Facebook members get friend requests from people that they may not particularly like, or want to be friends with. Some people will say it’s rude to ignore the requests. Others will say it’s perfectly fine to reject someone.
If you’re a Christian and wondering if it is wrong to ignore a friend request on Facebook, here are some tips for you.
Ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?” Search the Bible for related scriptures.
As a general rule, if you are undecided on what to do in a situation, ask yourself “What Would Jesus Do?” (No, this doesn’t apply in all situations, as discussed below.) There are some scriptures that might help you in deciding if you should ignore the Facebook friend request or not:
Read Matthew 5:14 -19: 14″You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
As Christians, we must strive to be the light of the world. How can other people, particularly non-Christians, see the light if we completely shut them out and ignore them?
Some other Bible verses to consider are:
Philippians 2 3-4: 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Ephesians 5:1-2: 1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
After reading these Bible verses, ask yourself if it would be appropriate to ignore a Facebook Friend Request.
Ask yourself “Would ignoring the Friend Request hurt his/her feelings?”
If you feel that ignoring the Facebook friend request would cause hurt feelings, it is probably best to not ignore the request. As a general rule, never ever ignore the friend request of a family member, church friend or anyone that you’ve known well, unless it is unsafe.
Ask yourself “Could this be an opportunity to be an encouragement to someone in need?”
I know of someone who rejected a facebook friend request from an old high school friend who had made poor choices in high school. She had hung out with the wrong crowd and didn’t participate in the lifestyle that most Christians agree with. Yet, when she ignored the friend request, she also ignored an opportunity to be a positive influence and encouragement to her. She also didn’t even take the time to see if she had changed.
In some ways, you should consider what you would do in real life. If the person came to you and said “Hi, how are you doing?”, would you completely ignore him/her and walk away?
There are, of course, some times when it may be best to ignore a Facebook friend request. Here are some thoughts to consider.
Ask yourself “Could this affect my marriage?”
If the friend request is from an ex-boyfriend or high school crush, it is probably best to not add the person on Facebook. Sadly, Facebook has lead to behavior that has ended many marriages, including Christian marriages. If your spouse does not want you to add him/her then by all means, don’t. If you think it could reignite some feelings from the past, then definitiely ignore the Facebook friend request.
However, you don’t have to completely reject them. You might send them a short message saying, “Thanks for the friend request, but my husband and I don’t feel it is best that I add ex-boyfriends. Thank-you for understanding.” If you feel it necessary, then block the person.
Also, some husbands and wives have a general rule to not add other members of the opposite sex. unless they are related or of a significant age difference. That is for you and your spouse to decide. On option is to just make sure the other spouse will always have complete access to your Facebook account.
Ask yourself “Could my safety be at risk?”
If the friend request is from a total stranger whom you’ve never met, I personally do not find it wrong to ignore the friend request. It is more that likely from someone who uses Facebook to promote a business or product. However, in some slim chances it could be from a stalker or someone who has ill intentions.
Ask yourself “Is it morally appropriate?”
Some school districts has set a rule that teachers should not become Facebook friends with their students. You can read more here. It is generally not appropriate for a teacher to friend a student, especially while he/she is still attending the school. There are other situations, as well, were it is not appropriate.
These are just a few things to consider when deciding if you should ignore or accept a friend request. It is ultimately your decision. However, remember that you are a Christian. Your actions could speak louder than worlds. You never know when you can miss an opportunity to let your light shine.
Want to read more on Facebook? Please take a look at “5 Ways Facebook is a Lot Like Preschool.”