How to Politely Reject a Facebook Friend Request

Learn how to properly reject a friend request without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #136

In my very first episode as the Modern Manners Guy, I asked: “Do You Have Bad Facebook Manners?” I got many responses and one related question that keeps coming my way is: how can you politely decline a friend request? So I figured, what better topic for another Modern Manners Guy article?

How to Politely Reject a Friend Request on Facebook

It can be hard to say no to friend requests—whether they come from someone you haven’t seen since your third grade class portrait or from a kooky relative you wouldn’t even talk to at Thanksgiving, let alone on Facebook.

Never fear--there are good, mannerly ways to reject a friend request and not come off like a jerk. Here are my top 3 tips:

Friend Rejection Tip #1: The Sneaky Accept

One easy way to deal with an unwanted friend request is to actually go ahead and accept the person but block them from seeing your updates or, even better, you seeing theirs. That way they aren’t gaining a lot of access to your profile and you’ve saved them from rejection. And if you choose not to see their updates, they’ll be “Out of site, out of mind”; it’ll be as though you never became friends in the first place. Just realize that if you block them from seeing your posts, they’ll probably notice. What do you do then? That brings me to tip#2.

Friend Rejection Tip #2: Keep It Professional

These days, potential employers often check out your Facebook page before extending that offer. Even if you nailed the interview and had them practically cracking open the bottle of Champagne before you left, one quick look on your Facebook page could have all of that crumbling down.