It’s become a very normal thing to get several invites via LinkedIn or Facebook to become someones contact a day or two after you meet them. More often than not, you wont see that person again, or not for a long time, but you will see their lives unravel before your eyes as long as they are in your social sphere. The question is though, how much do you know these people really? Even when you know every mood they’ve had, every picture they are in, and every event they are going to!
I recently decided to take a different approach to meeting people by not adding them as friends on Facebook until I feel like I’m really friends with them. Sounds simple, right?
It was hard to resist the urge of finding out more about a person when their lives are not served to you on a silver platter. You find yourself googling them, checking if they are on twitter and what not, and then just surrendering to just giving them a call and going out for a coffee or beer.
From then on, something happens. You actually start to make a real connection that is not overpowered by assumptions of who that person is based on their shared media. You are actually getting to know them. Sharing stories and experiences with each other, in your own words and expressions, not a slideshow of pictures with no narrative, or a series of status updates that have no context.
The only drawback is not being able to share things online with those non-network friends. Inviting them to events reverts back to email, text messages and phone calls. Sharing interesting or funny video clips needs you to enter their email address, etc. All the things that were time consuming about the web that social media made quick and easy, are gone.
I’m going to stick with it, but I do know that at some point, i’m going to have to bring them in to the fold,. But by holding back, at least I know that I can really call them a friend.
When do you add a friend on Facebook? Do you wait a while before you add them, or do you do it immediately?