For years I have accepted friend requests from people I do not know and I have added people I don’t know myself.
At first, it felt cool to get friend requests. I felt popular, which alleviated some of my sense of insecurity and imposter syndrome in the fitness industry.
Then, I started to feel obligated to click ‘accept’, worried that someone would be butthurt if I did not.
I’ve felt uncomfortable for a while about this from a privacy standpoint.
Also, trying to keep up with all the notifications, worried I would miss someone’s comment and they would be offended, started to be quite stressful.
So, I decided to run an experiment where I would withdraw from doing almost all activity (work and otherwise) on Facebook to see if this would have any meaningful effect on my business.
It did not.
Actually, the recent months have been something of a delightful change from the daily, near-constant distraction.
I’ve found that I’m reading more, writing more, and have become more ‘present’ in my daily life.
So, I’ve decided to make this change permanent, and, knowing that some people could be unduly offended unless I wrote this publicly, I decided to publish it on my personal blog and add a link in my Facebook bio.
I’m a fan of writing ‘policies’, rather than rules (here’s my contact policy, client intake and requirements policy, and I have a comment policy at the bottom of all articles) and I like to make them public so that people don’t take things that are not personal, personally.
Some always will, but hey, that’s on them.
As my friend Sol Orwell says, when you say something is a rule, people feel the need to fight it because “rules are there to be broken.” But when you say something is a ‘policy’, people tend to back off.
So, here’s “the policy” I’ve decided on for myself when using Facebook moving forward:
- I’ll only allow myself to accept friend requests from people who I know in person.
- I’ll force myself to delete anyone who I don’t know in person. (With 3000+ people to go through, this task is too large to be done in one day so I’m using the “birthdays today” feature to break it down into 365 manageable chunks.
- If I see someone on my feed that I don’t immediately recognize — it’s an automatic delete.
- I’m only allowed to post personal stuff on my ‘friends’ feed. The purpose is to share what I am doing personally which will help me to keep in touch with friends and family (particularly those scattered across the world).
- I’ll post some work stuff occasionally when I have an article out, which will be set to ‘public’. This will be seen by those that ‘follow’ me on Facebook (which automatically happens when a friend request is declined).
If people want to find me on social, they can get me on my Instagram account.
If they want my more serious stuff, then the website is the place to go.
I see this as a win all around. Some people will be offended, but that’s something I’ve decided to accept because the trade-off of keeping on like this, personally, isn’t worth it.
I’m interested in your thoughts, if you have experienced similar feelings and feel comfortable sharing them (and what you did, if anything).