Dear friends, if you are like me — that is, if you are very particular regarding from whom you accept a friend request — sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you may have to turn down someone’s friend request. But how do you do it? What do you say to that person?
Well, in some cases, you may simply decide to ignore the friend request altogether, and not do anything. That is, other than delete the request. I myself have done this on quite a few occasions when it is apparent that the account is bogus; or it is plain to see that the timeline is promoting porn with links that say “See my nude photos here”; or maybe it is dark and devilish in nature; or perhaps the page is filled with a liberal dose of expletives; or it simply caters to topics in which you have zero interest.
But in other cases, you may feel that the person who is making the request merits some kind of response from you. In such cases, personally, I feel that honesty is the best policy. Just tell them bluntly why you cannot accept their friend request. If they are offended, or become angry, and march off in a fit of self-righteous indignation, after letting you have it with both barrels via a private message, oh well. At least they know the truth regarding why you turned them down.
Anyway, for those of you who are likewise God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians, and who primarily use your Facebook pages and timelines to promote the Gospel, following is a sample friend request decline message, which you may want to use as a guide, editing parts of it as you see fit. This is based on an actual message which I myself had to send to someone:
—– Begin Sample Message —–
Thank you for your friend request. I appreciate your interest in becoming Facebook friends with me. However, I am sorry to say that your timeline appears to be more about [place your description here], than about promoting Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.
Just so you know, when I scrutinize and vet a new friend request, I consider what my other Facebook friends will see, if they decide to visit that timeline. After all, the kinds of online friends I have is a reflection of my faith, and my own personality. So, I must be careful. Will my friends find something that will uplift and inspire their faith, or will they find something objectionable or offensive?
Yes, like everyone else, I have my views regarding [place your description here] as well, which I sometimes express on my timeline and page. However, I do not constantly dwell on those issues, as you appear to do. My timeline and Facebook page are primarily dedicated to uplifting God, sharing His Word, and encouraging and motivating my Christian brethren.
So, I am sorry to inform you, but your timeline just doesn’t pass the test. As such, in good conscience, I cannot accept your offer, and I feel led to decline your request. Perhaps if you decide to devote more time to promoting the Christian Gospel, I will change my mind at a later date, and accept a new friend request from you.
[You can add any other reasons regarding why you are declining their request in this space.]
—– End Sample Message —–
Your Timeline; Your Rules:
Let me add that who you accept or decline as a friend is a very personal matter. We each have our own set of criteria. Some of us are more liberal in that regard than others. Some of you may exercise a certain degree of leniency which others may not, simply because you are more geared towards reaching the lost and the unsaved, and not just about online fellowship between Christians who are already saved. It is really your choice. It is your timeline, so you make the rules.
My Personal Approach:
I will say this: I really take it as far as I can before I decide to turn down a friend request. I try to be as lenient as possible. I look for every possible indication to see if that potential friend has some interest in our Christian faith. That is, if it is not already apparent on their timeline or page.
For example, I will look at the status updates which they post. I will examine the frequency with which they [and not others] post on their timeline. I will look at what kind of comments they make. I will look at the contents of the images which they post.
If I can’t tell outright that they are a Christian, then I will also look more closely at their photo albums. I will look at their About page. I will look at their friends list to determine if they have a lot of other friends who appear to be Christians, going by their profile images. I will also look to see if they have joined any Christian Facebook groups, or if they are associated with any kind of Christian groups, churches, organizations, etc., in their real offline life.
So again, I do try to give folks the benefit of the doubt.
However, if I don’t become convinced that they would make a worthy addition to my friends list, and be a positive influence on my other Facebook friends, then I simply don’t accept their friend request.
If all they do is talk about politics, or about aliens and UFOs, or unproven conspiracy theories, or environmentalism, or social justice, or some other cause which they support, or if they are into nothing but worldliness — such as fashion, celeb gossip, playing online games, selling items, sports, etc. — and I see nothing about promoting Christianity, or at least having a sincere interest in learning about the Christian faith, then I am not inclined to accept their friend request.
The same holds true if their timeline or page is full of nothing but selfies. I have come across quite a few timelines like that over the years. They are basically just a long stream of images of themselves in different poses, and with different expressions on their face, and not much of anything else. They seem to be totally in love with themselves. I guess they don’t have room for Jesus and the Christian faith in their lives; or at least they don’t wish to express their faith openly on their timeline. How sad.
One other thing I look at is how often a person likes to share content from other timelines, pages and sources. If they don’t, or if they do it very infrequently, then I assume that most of my work will never appear on their timeline. I am a preacher of the Gospel. I want what I do spread far and wide, and to reach and influence as many people as possible, for the Glory of God. If there is little possibility of that happening on their timeline, then that just gives me another reason to withhold accepting a friend request from them.
Yes, we have an obligation to reach the lost with the Christian Gospel. However, the fact of the matter is that they can still gain access to the Good News, simply by visiting my page or my timeline, WITHOUT me accepting their friend request, because my page and timeline are both public. Thus, the Gospel is being preached to them, if they truly wish to hear it, or read it.
On a final note, let me also add that since joining the Facebook community in February of 2011, I have had way more people — no doubt in the hundreds by now — who have unfriended me, than I have chosen to not accept a friend request from. As I have mentioned before, since joining Facebook, I have constantly had between 4,000 and 5,000 friends at all times. Furthermore, they are of many different nationalities. In fact, only a minority are white American Christians. I think these facts alone reveal what kind of a person I am. So, contrary to what some of my critics would like to believe, I am not just a cold-hearted, callous tyrant. Oh, and also, all of my current friends are people who sent friend requests to me, and not vice versa. I like people who take the initiative. 🙂