How do you handle Facebook friend requests from people you don't recognize?

My Facebook presence in pretty small.

But sometimes I get a friend request from somebody and I’ll be asking myself “Who is this person?” Even if I go to their page, I can’t figure out how I know them (or how they know me). So I generally ignore such requests.

Is this normal? Do other people get friend requests from people they don’t recognize? If so, do other people figure you can never have enough friends and accept these requests? Am I giving the impression of being incredibly rude by not accepting them?

Yes, it happens. If you don’t recognize them delete the request, especially if they don’t have any mutual friends. Could be a scammer, they’re out there.


Definitely delete.

I’ll never understand why people accept friend requests from strangers, it’s not what Facebook is for - do you really want some random in China ogling your holiday snaps? Delete delete.

Delete and ignore. Many people on Facebook are only interested in having more friends as this can make them perceived as “influencers” who can then get companies to sponsor them. My stepsons GF is an influencer and gets offers from Victoria Secret to sponsor products at her college.

Also I get recommendations to friend people I haven’t seen in forty years because they are remote friends of my friends. I don’t need to know what they are up to.

Same as the others, I just delete them. From time to time, if I’m board, I’ll reply (without confirming the suggestion), “Do I know you?” and they nearly always we don’t know each other, it was just a random add. Still deleted, sometimes I’ll add in a ‘fuck off then’. If I look at the page and they’re clearly a scammer/spammer/hijacked account, I’ll report it as well.

Having said that, my dad and I have the same name on facebook and my profile picture isn’t of me, so I get a lot of his friends sending requests to me. Typically they’re people that I know of/know the name/have met over the years, so I know they’re just looking for him, but I still delete it.

Some risk.
Hard to think of any reward.


Delete them, with one exception.

From time to time I get an unknown friend request from someone with whom I share, say 20-30 friends. Those friends are invariably members of my chorus, so the person is either a new member I haven’t met or the SO of a member. In that case I accept.

I view it as the opposite. Zero risk and a chance of “meeting” someone interesting. I’ll look at their page and, if they seem normal and their page isn’t MLM plugs or Trump nonsense or something else I don’t want to deal with, I’ll add them. All my Facebook posts are public anyway so they’re not going to get anything else new from me by joining my friends list.

That said, I’m a middle-aged white dude so my random friend invites are few and far between. I’d probably have a different attitude if I was a woman dealing with weirdo add requests and shit.

I understand your point, and for some it makes perfect sense.

But as a general proposition, this article helps to explain (some of) the potential risks:

If they are from the same city as us (50000 inhabitants) I accept the request even if the name (and their page) do not ring a bell. Anybody else that I don’t recognize gets the delete button.

I don’t worry about scams all that much. But I do feel there is a “risk” of getting a whole bunch of new updates regarding this friend who I don’t really know. I don’t want updates from people I don’t know crowding out the updates from the people I actually want to keep up with.

In my experience, they’re mostly scammers at this point.

There was a time where you invited strangers on Facebook, though, back when it was more a college thing and you could use it to meet other people from your college. It was also when people were still competing to have the highest friend counts on MySpace.

But now it just isn’t done, and Facebook can even penalize you if you make too many requests that get rejected in a short period of time.

One thing people will do is send friend requests to everyone that went to the same high school or has the same large employer. The idea being that you’ll see they have 30 friends in common with you, all from your high school and assume it’s someone you don’t remember so you accept their friend request and with the intention of figuring out who they are later.

Many years ago I accepted a friend request under those circumstances. A few days later someone from my high school asked, on facebook, who this person was. One by one, everyone said they had no idea who it was. The person’s “wife” had a mutual friend with me so I asked her about it. The wife said her husband has no facebook account and the whole thing was a fake. My WAG is that someone set it up to stalk an ex so they could see their profile.

Fair enough, but the risks they state are basically “They might ask you for money and you might be dumb enough to give them money”.

I’m not advocating that anyone else take my laissez-faire approach to Friend requests, just saying that there’s no real mechanical downside to it if your stuff is public anyway. If you’re a more private person then, yeah, defeats the point to let any rando come in.

Makes sense. But if I do friend someone who is spammy (even with personal update stuff and “lol this is funny” reposts) then I’ll just unfriend or use the options to “See Less” from them.

I just ignore. Is there a reason I ought to delete?

I delete the request. Why as opposed to ignore? Cuz I want things nice and tidy and don’t like an outstanding friend request just hanging there.

I’ll usually add people I don’t know if we share mutual friends, and sometimes will add people who are in the same industry as me (photography), even if we don’t share friends. But, yeah, that woman with all the bikini pix on her profile I don’t know that suddenly wants to be friends with me? Deleted and usually reported as spam.

This. I have seen this before.

Maybe not for you specifically, but their target could be someone else. If I want to stalk an old high school girlfriend with a fake account, the first thing I’m going to do is send out friend requests to all the people we went to high school with in hopes that when I send her a request she’ll say 'no idea who this is, but it must be someone from high school…confirm".
The less often you confirm a friend request from someone you’ve never heard off, the less you help to make their profile seem more legitimate.
Don’t forget, you don’t have to confirm or delete a request. You can just let it sit there indefinitely in hopes that you’ll eventually figure out who it is.

And with that, just because you’re not dumb enough to give them money, doesn’t mean it’s not someone stalking you. Some workplace creep or old college roommate that, for whatever reason, wants to keep tabs on you.