I recently received a friend request on Facebook from one of my managers. My initial reaction was to reject this out of hand, however, this person is of a comparable age to me and at a similar place in life, so I think it's reasonable to consider that we could be friends outside the office as well.

The caveat, however, is that I'm aware of my own social media persona and demeanor outside the workplace. I don't want to say I'm unprofessional, but I'm definitely more brash and way more politically active.

As a result, I'm concerned that adding my manager could create issues, but ignoring or deleting the request seems likely to invite issues as well.

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    In the end this boils down to you deciding if you would like to show that side of your persona in a more open way.
    – DarkCygnus
    May 9, 2018 at 3:26
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    Also related reading: How do I tell a colleague that I don't want to add him to Facebook?
    – DarkCygnus
    May 9, 2018 at 3:30
  • @Cartina While that sounds like a reasonable idea, two Facebook accounts for one person is actually against Facebook's terms of service, and could get both accounts shut down if they caught on.
    – Steve-O
    May 9, 2018 at 13:19
  • @Steve sorry was not aware of that since I donot use fb. Deleting my comment.
    – Cartina
    May 9, 2018 at 13:36

4 Answers 4


Disclaimer I deleted my Facebook.

This is what LinkedIn is for. Add them on LinkedIn instead of Facebook. In your LinkedIn invite explain that you like to keep your personal social media account separate to your work-life. If they would be offended by you not regarding them as a friend I would say something like

I only use Facebook to stay in contact with old friends from high-school and family, but I use LinkedIn to connect with work friends from now on.

But if that statement isn't believable for you to say, or you want to pick and choose what colleges you add on Facebook then you're in trouble here and you will only have the decision either to accept or offend. Even if you have really close friends at work you want to have on Facebook I would consider not adding them on Facebook to avoid these situations in the future.

Finally you could just add them and then selectively restrict all your content from them such as your photo albums and activity. I know there are ways to do this but I still imagine they can see information you don't want them to and that may not be acceptable.

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    +1 Yes, exactly what LinkedIn is for, great point. Agreed on picking and choosing. Agreed on the last sentence. OP, listen to this poster. May 9, 2018 at 3:17
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    +1 for I deleted my Facebook.
    – Masked Man
    May 9, 2018 at 6:36

Just ignore it!

Lot of people send each-other Facebook friend request without having intentions to be "buddies". That includes your ex-colleagues, and other peoples.

Most of the time, they don't remember if they ever sent you a friend request after 1 hour, or if they remember, they don't take it personally. Most people understand you don't want to be friend outside work with boss/manager/colleague.

Just ignore it, and just in case you manager ask you about it someday, tell him you don't use Facebook much, and have not seen it yet (try to imply you have not logged in a long time). Or you can be honest. Just say you don't like to add people from work in Facebook.


Its your call. A polite way to handle this would be to just keep the request pending, don't accept or reject it.

In today's world, facebook is not just for friends. People have 500+ "friends" on facebook, I am sure not all 500 are friends. Most of them are acquaintance rather than friends. Some people just send the request, doesn't mean they want to be friends in real life as well.

The pit falls of having your manager as friend is that you can't take a sick day off and go on vacation and post those pics on facebook. As long as you don't do that, you should be fine. Regarding your online persona being brash, you could choose to limit the information published on facebook now with enhanced privacy settings. Please explore those as well.

And lastly, if you think you are in a position to say a polite no, just say so if the person follows up in person. A simple I am not comfortable adding someone from my management hierarchy on my facebook should send the message. Post that, if it continues, it might be worth discussing with your HR. What you do outside of office is your business and it cannot be used for workplace harassment.


It is really unprofessional for them to send a request. I'm sure there are instances where it has worked out for people and good for them.

It is especially unprofessional if there is no previous friendship. Friending someone on FB just because your work together is strange and in my opinion crosses an uncomfortable line. How well do you know this person at work? Are they the type of person who largely socializes with work people? Does it seem like they will mention your social media content at work?

When I have encountered this, I simply said I don't accept friend requests or any social media engagement from people I work with. Then drop it. It's a perfectly reasonable stance and socially ept people will understand it.

DO NOT EXPLAIN YOURSELF! By refusing on the grounds of professionalism you are taking the high ground. Don't go further. Don't explain yourself. You are doing the correct, professional thing. If the requester gets bent out of shape, let them demonstrate their non-professional traits.

Your life outside of work is your own. Don't open this can of worms. Don't accept the request then try to filter your feed, etc. Just flat refuse, state why if you are asked, move on. Your peers will respect you for it and your career will benefit from it.

No, just no. Keep it professional.

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