Monday, February 07, 2011

Awkward Facebook Moments

Technical Background Information: Awhile back, Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, decided to change the way users are required to handle friend requests.

No longer is it a simple choice of "Confirm" or "Deny" as it had been. Facebook began forcing a 2-step process whereby a user must decide to confirm or deny the request and then, if "Deny" is chosen, to either opt to handle the request later or deny this and all further requests from the person asking for online friendship.

Unfortunately, there is an often misunderstood consequence of opting to handle the request at a later time. If a person selects this option, their status updates and posts begin appearing in the requester's news feed leading the requester to believe the friendship request has been accepted.

I suppose this was a way to delay hurt feelings...or something. Except a requester can tell that a friend request has been denied in several ways:

A) the requester has no option to comment or "like" a post,
B) the requester cannot view profile information not available to the public, and
C) the requester's friend list does not include the person requested.

OK! Now that you (hopefully) understand this convoluted process, I will tell you recently I sent a friend request to someone I've met in person on several occasions, conversed with pleasantly at each meeting, and with whom I've interacted nearly daily via mutual friends on the ever dreaded Facebook.

So, when I saw a status update appear an hour or so after I'd sent the request in my news feed from this person, I thought, "Oh! My request must have been accepted and Facebook failed to notify me."

And then I read the status update. And the update was, in effect, a statement of how this person doesn't need or want anymore "friends" with several subsequent comments from people on this person's friends list basically laughing about how stupid people are.


And, sure enough, when I checked to be sure, this person had not, in fact, accepted my request but did not follow through with the second part of the denial process. So now I'm privy to the person's posts in my own news feed but am not actually wanted there.

And this is how we (meaning I) have discovered another flaw in Facebook's interface. Now that I know my shy offering of the friendship cookie isn't wanted, I have no way of taking it back. I cannot retract the request.

If you've ever been THAT kid on the playground who was made fun of and laughed at, you might understand why this stings a little. And that's exactly what this feels like...walking up to a kid on the playground and asking them to play with me and being laughed at in front of all his/her friends.

It's silly. I know. I'm a grown up with grown up responsibilities. And it's not like I got called out by name or anything. Still...I'd much rather be quietly rejected and be none the wiser. It's likely I would have eventually forgotten I'd ever sent the request. But to understand the status update was likely, in part, in response to my request, is...embarrassing and hurtful.

Not earth shattering. I won't breathe a word of it outside of this blog entry. Our interactions offline, I'm sure, will continue to be pleasant. There is no need to attempt to contact this person to apologize or to say anything at all.

I just wish this was one change Facebook hadn't made. It was a terrible, terrible idea.


lelly said...

It pisses me off too.

zero hour said...

I had no idea that is how it worked..I will be more careful ..I got a ton of requests lately, from friends,of friends,no idea who they are and no common I usually press the "later" button... eeesh..
and now I know why I can read but not post on someones page..hmmm sux.

Geekin' Hard said...

Wow, that's seriously messed up on Facebook's part - I can't imagine why it would be configured to work that way. And while I can appreciate that this isn't the point: is that really the kind of "friend" that you'd want to have anyway? She sounds like a classless bitch to be honest.

bete-noire said...


i die of curious.

Diva said...

Shit. I have no less than 5 "later" requests currently in my queue. Thanks for the info.....

Chris [303] said...

I think you can retract a request when visiting their profile.