It’s hard not to take it personally when a friend request goes unanswered.
Developing a thicker skin can certainly help you feel less hurt when you don’t see a notification about someone you sent an invite to, but thinking about the possible explanations why you haven’t seen a response yet works even better. Most likely, the other party has something else going on that’s very different from your experience. They probably don’t hate you at all!
So, take a deep breath and read on to learn seven really good reasons why you haven’t seen a response to a friend request.
1. They Haven’t Logged On To The Site In A While
Those of us who keep a browser tab open to Facebook throughout much of the day often forget that half of the people with accounts on the site don’t log on daily. It can be hard to imagine anyone keeping themselves away for more than a day here and there. But lo and behold, some folks only check the site once every two or three days, weekly or even (gasp!) monthly. Plus, people do go on vacations to places with limited Internet access.
What do these people do with all that time away from Facebook? We think that kind of behavior is crazy like you probably do, but we remind ourselves that some folks have joined the site more recently than we have, so their addictions to social media are still in development. These relative newcomers will benefit from your Facebook friendship once they log back on and notice the friend-add icon has a red square next to it. Unless…
2. They Ignore Notifications
The number of ways to use Facebook keeps growing, and many usage habits have nothing in common with the way we do things. Yes, there really are people who don’t pay attention to the notification and friend request icons at the top of the screen. We know some of them personally, and they always say things like, “It’s not you, it’s me.” In this case, it’s not a lie.
Some people get so caught up in Bejeweled Blitz or any of the other games that move quickly and require the utmost concentration that the royal blue navigation bar at the top of the screen becomes — well, these gamers maximize the playing window so they can’t even see where the notifications are. It’s also possible that the person you sent the request to accesses Facebook content from a third-party application outside of the site, all but guaranteeing your addition got overlooked.
3. They’re Being Professional
Lawyers keep advising professional types to tread carefully on Facebook, and they increasingly comply because so many employers fear lawsuits. So if you sent a friend request to your boss and it goes unanswered, that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t like you –that person is probably following instructions from human resources or some consultant. The same goes for your teacher or health-care provider. They want to avoid uncomfortable situations from happening in the future.
Your coworkers might have a similar reaction to your friend request, and you shouldn’t misinterpret that as dislike. Very possibly the individual hasn’t fully confided in you yet and whatever he or she does on Facebook might include some things you don’t know yet. Take it in stride and strive to become better acquainted with that person instead of taking the nonresponse as a slight.
4. They Don’t Remember You
It’s not that you’re not memorable. Some people have better powers of recall than others. The older we get, the harder it becomes to remember everything, especially social matters. And not everyone’s memory abilities seem to age at the same pace. A former classmate might have done a lot more drugs than you since graduation, eliminating more brain cells than you might have. Also, someone who has lots to keep track of might have a harder time recalling things than you.
When in doubt, follow up with a note reminding the person who you are. Better yet, take advantage of the “write a personal note” link on the friend request window and say something like, “Long time, no see. How long has it been since we graduated?” or something along those lines.
5. They’re Hurting
Hurt comes in many varieties, from emotional grief to physical pain. Both have a way of consuming the sufferer’s entire existence and realigning their priorities toward things simply don’t include Facebook. Pains have a way of taking center stage in a person’s consciousness and shutting out all other things.
Certainly, grief can come in different orders of magnitude, but the death of a loved one or the end of a committed relationship can make it difficult for people to put on their best face in the company of others. Some do turn to social media to find support for their sorrows, but not everyone operates that way. One could say the same about physical pains, but someone lying in a hospital bed may not have the ability to sit up and use a laptop or mobile device for surfing the Internet and visiting Facebook.
6. They’re An Unrequited Love Or Lust Object
Okay, take another deep breath. It’s not the end of the world if someone doesn’t feel the same way about you, but maybe you don’t know the whole story. That person could already have a committed relationship — perhaps their partner looks at every friend addition, a practice we frown upon despite pointing out its existence. Finally, have you considered whether the individual might be attracted to a different gender than you are?
Whatever the reason why someone doesn’t feel attracted to you, surely you’ve experienced the inverse of this. Try to remember what it felt like. Would you have accepted a friend request from that person — or would you have wanted to maintain some distance? We suggest you distract yourself from this by checking out one of the many dating applications on Facebook to find someone new.
7. They Declined Your Friend Request
Okay, we admit that this does happen. But Facebook makes this a lot more pleasant for everyone by not sending out notifications after someone denies a friend request. So you don’t actually have to deal with rejection on the social network! Just assume that one of the previous reasons listed above explains why you never got a response — and skip the one about unrequited feelings. Focus instead on the friends you do have, and on continuing to make more.
Unless you’ve sent a friend request to someone who passed away (we extend our condolences if that’s the case), the nonresponse is most likely a delay, not a denial. Even when people decide not to accept, they’re more likely to not respond than to actually deny.
No matter what explanation there is for the lack of response, it ultimately calls for the same advice: Be patient and focus on other things. Facebook has more than 1,500 different applications, many times more pages and labout 600 million users. Surely they’re enough to distract you from worrying about one delay.
But if you are still worrying about this now, please tell us about it in the comments section. And to the rest of you dear readers, have you worried about friend requests that haven’t gotten a response?