April 17, 2012

The Mystical Land of Facebook Purgatory

You've heard of Facebook purgatory, right?

It's when you get a friend request from someone, and for whatever reason you don't accept or deny or block right then, but instead leave them to wait for an indeterminate period of time.
We've all done it. Right?
Shoot, what if I'm the only one?
I hope I'm not the only one that does this, or I'll feel like a real jerk.

Anyway, this purgatory punishment can be for a variety of reasons:

  1. Haven't seen them in forever (prime examples: elementary school friends or church acquaintances from when you were 14 years old but never hung out with)
  2. You had previously been Facebook friends with them, then they de-friended you at some point and now have decided to come crawling back
  3. Can't remember how/if you know the person - I sometimes send these people an email, but usually not for a while after the add request
  4. Someone that apparently went to high school with me, based on the 100+ mutual friends from that group, but I can't remember ever seeing or speaking with
  5. Individual wants to add me just because we know a bunch of the same people, even though we have never spoken to each other in our whole lives
  6. Recruiters who (erroneously) think Facebook is an effective business networking tool
  7. Saw the request, had too much else to do at the time, totally forgot about adding them

Almost all of these groups are currently represented in my Facebook purgatory.

Do you have a time limit you leave people in there to wait? I figure anywhere from 3-6 months is plenty, and then they've probably forgotten and I can just go ahead and deny the request.

PS: If you are reading this and are currently in my Facebook purgatory, either send me a follow-up email or make a game of it by waiting a few months to see if you're in category 7 or one of the first 6.
PPS: I do the same thing with LinkedIn, but most of the time it's because they're just recruiters who want to call me at work and bug the crap out of me. I promise, if I want a new job, I'll call YOU!


  1. ha! This is a great post and we can all relate, at least those of us that have are on FB.

  2. Oh Facebook Purgatory! When someone requests to be friends on Facebook, I generally put them in one or two categorical lists depending on how I know them as well as how well I know them. These lists may have different privacy settings depending on the individual and how well I know them. Having these lists (or Circles, if you are a Google + fan) elimnates the need for Facebook Purgatory and eliminates the social awkwardness that can accompany social networks (at least in my end, I cannot claim the same for others). :)

  3. Clearly your purgatory list is longer than mine! But I just flat out deny most people that I don't want to friend ;-)

  4. Yes I have definitely been there! But, I'm glad I didn't sit in your Facebook purgatory...phew, I made the cut!

  5. B-Rad: I've considered this, but I don't even know if these people merit being in my "limited profile" group. Good thinking, though, and I'll re-consider that as an option.

    Carla: I respect that. No waffling, just make the decision and go with it.

    Cheri: Once two people have shared mint chocolate cookies, they are friends for life. True story.

  6. Well put. I always wondered if others experienced this. Brilliant job on defining the categories. :)