5 Ways to Tell a True Friend on Facebook (vs. the Not-So-True Kind)

Well if you read my recent post about dumping 50K followers on Twitter, it won’t surprise you that at the same time, I purged my Facebook Profile of over 2500 not-so-true friends. You see, originally, I’d been given the same advice about Facebook; friend everyone who invites you to. With my recent years of accumulated wisdom, I think this is kind of silly. I wouldn’t run around the streets of Atlanta (or any major city) inviting everyone to friend me so why on earth would I take them on online.

Facebook, Social Media Tips, Social Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Social Networking, Twitter, Melissa GaltOften I’d get completely anonymous, as in no message at all invites (no message, so no reason to connect.) Or I’d get something that I consider somewhat generic “Hey we have Insert Number Here friends in common, let’s be friends.”  This always struck me as the path of least interest person and a step beyond a drive-by friending. Moving up the ladder were better reasons but still not always personal. When someone says “I like what you are doing,” I don’t mean cynical but what is it I’m doing that you like? For all I know you run about dashing that off to anyone you consider worthy of approach.

Oh and the big mistake I made was in allowing in all the men who asked with no invite and then wound up with creepy emails or nonsense like “you so pretty . . . ” (yes, poor grammar included deliberately.)  UGH, it’s like that whistle from a construction worker, but way creepier because it’s way too close. I love men, I have great male friends, heck I look forward to finding that soul mate still.  I am single and appropriately cautious and advise erring on the side of personal safety by eliminating the creepazoids that will find you on FB.  I know they find my married friends too and betting there are creepy women finding men just as easily.

So here the my 5 ways to tell a true friend on facebook and this is the criteria that I now use from determining a friend. Please know that these may or may not work for you and in many cases, when appropriate, I will invite someone to my business professional page (FAN sounds so contrived to me) instead of friending on my personal profile.

  1. I actually know you, like you, and trust you in reality! We’ve met live face to face (did you know people still do that!) YOU ARE IN!
  2. You are family (now keep in mind I only have a couple of family in my FB friends, I haven’t searched for the many others, nor they for me. I’d accept them because they are family, which may or may not work for you. No judgement here.)YOU ARE IN!
  3. We’ve tweeted, we know each other via linked in, a social club, a networking event, there is a level of comraderie. YOU ARE IN!
  4. I’ve attended one of your events either online or offline and respect your knowledge, appreciate your instruction, and consider you a colleague or mentor. YOU ARE IN!
  5. You invite me with a genuine, personal, relevant note (yes, FB does have this option on every invite in teeny weeny print at the lower left, look for it.)  YOU ARE IN!

Facebook, Social Networking, Social Media, Social Marketing, Melissa GaltPerhaps this will help you trim your own noise on Facebook, or you can argue with me that I should be more magnanimous and keep it open to every Tom, Dick, Harry, Thelma, Dolores, and Henrietta. I want my friends online to be that rare breed of folk that I can’t wait to meet in person. Enthusiastic, though provoking, fun, engaging, genuine, occasionally sad, angry when warranted, opinionated, heart filled, intelligent, and HUMAN. Oh and in case you wander down a path thinking I’m seeking perfection, I’m not. I am PERFECTLY IMPERFECT and plan to get even more so in the years to come.

So that’s it, there you have it, your comments are welcomed, invited, encouraged, and if I must begged for. LOL


  1. says

    You so smart (intentionally wrong)!

    I totally agree and am finding the same weird drive by friending on LinkedIn. Still don’t get that site completely, yet. I just know I am linked to people I don’t know how to un-link myself from them. When I get an extra 20 minutes, I’ll figure it out :)

    Great post!

    • Melissa Galt says


      You are funny! Yes, linkedin I’ve been known to ignore those requests. And decided I’m not a fit for those open network LIONS groups where everyone friends everyone.

      I think there is a lot to be said for being selective.
      I thought it was odd when a colleague used his LinkedIN stats as a measure of his reach and put it on his website. Sure I can reach 10 million too but do I want to?

      Hugs, Melissa

  2. says

    Great advice, Melissa! I stopped automatically accepting most friend invites on Facebook, as well, and use many of the same criteria you list here. I even got a “love letter” scam message from someone I don’t know on FB that was a more craftily written variation of the “Nigerian businessman” e-mail that’s been going around for years.

    It amazed me recently when I responded to a political post in my FB feed, put there by someone I don’t actually know, and she acted surprised & took offense! Well, hey, if you don’t want people commenting on something political, don’t post it on FB…and don’t act surprised by opposing opinions when you’ve friended people you don’t really know well enough to already know their political views!

    I have fan pages for Thompson Writing & Editing and also for my retail site, Old Maid Cat Lady, on FB. Those are for the people who only know me in a business capacity. I don’t post controversial stuff there, only things related to what those people would be interested in. If people want to organize their target markets, that’s a good way to do it. Then you only allow people to connect to your personal profile who you actually know.

    • Melissa Galt says


      Well said and great ideas. I’ve gotten some of those “love letters” myself, pretty obvious when they are cut and paste and change the pics!

      I admire you for keeping up with so many pages.


  3. Diana says

    I woke up this snowy Sat. morning, mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted from the trials and tribulations of work and everday life this week. Feeling a bit beaten and wanting some reprieve, I wandered over to my FB to see what was going on there. I could not believe the amount of posts that spoke directly to the issues I am currently facing.
    This post was no exception.
    I faced a “gossip/stalker” type issue within my own FB page. As I was going thru my mind with the disturbing parts about that, i was thinking about FB friends and how it is not much different when offline. How we need to be as cautious and particular about the friends we choose, or keep online as well as offline.
    I just discovered that a FB friend (who I had met in person and saw regularly) and who I had recently had blocked from my FB page, was getting information about me thru my FB posts, from a neighbor of hers (who was still on my FB page and who I also had met in person and had contact with and shared a commonality). That was creepy to think that this ex FB friend (the term “friend” I use very loosely) was going to such lengths to get info. about me thru her. Unless, I am missing something about blocking a FB person. None the less, I have now blocked her friend from my FB page.
    So, you can get the jest as why this piece spoke to me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Melissa Galt says


      Your safety both physically, mentally, and emotionally is paramount. Keep only those who will honor you in that. I’m betting I have a couple of ex-boyfriends at least who are keeping quiet tabs on me, nothing I can do, they aren’t active or friended but watching nonetheless.

      I miss the good ole days when a private life was private and a public life was well public!

      Hugs, Melissa

  4. Marianne Parker (Elite Designs) says

    Thank you very much for saying what I have been thinking for some time now. All of these social networks have positive and negative factors and I have been cleaning out the same as you. I have debated about continuing Linked in – do you have specific thoughts on how to better control?
    I have already culled Facebook and am now more particular about “my friends”. Appreciate your incite – I think this is a good direction for 2011.

    • Melissa Galt says


      Only you can know what are the right networks for you. So far my LinkedIN hasn’t been purged, though getting close to that decision as again there is a lot of dead weight and I want an ACTIVE network that is much smaller.

      Time will tell.

      Hugs, Melissa

  5. says

    This is great advice, Melissa. I have been getting many friend invites from men from foreign countries. I have nothing against them, but I always wonder if they are looking for a free ticket to America. I know a girl who was going to marry a gut from Morocco who she had never met face-to-face because “he loved her.” weird

    • Melissa Galt says

      Believe me Christina, while I hate to profile, if the shoe fits . . .I have the same issue and am very cautious now. Use the 5 criteria they can really save heart ache and financial drain.

      Hugs, Melissa

  6. says

    I say Kudos to you Melissa. I have been very caution as well with letting anyone friend me on FB. I may not have a huge following at the moment, but I appreciate slow steady progress for longevitiy, and quality. Than being a one hit wonder. Happy New Year to you!!!

    Blessings, Jana 😀

    • Melissa Galt says


      It is never how many, but how hot. I tossed what many would consider to be either a goldmind or just merely credibility. I didn’t feel they were either!

      Find those you enjoy and who enjoy you.

      Hugs, Melissa

  7. says

    With you here on this point too…see my comment on your 50K Twitter purge.

    If someone invites me on Facebook or LinkedIn and there is no personal note or reason why, I am not becoming friends or linking with them. I would not do so in real life so why should my social media relationships be any different. I either just skip the friend request on Facebook or archive on LinkedIn.

    When I “friend” anyone in social media, I always write how we met. So when I connected with you, I wrote something about a blog post you wrote, why I wanted to connect and (who I am) that I was tweeting with you as @averydesign. I think it’s critical to make a connection with people. Otherwise, what is the point?

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey and leading the charge, Melissa, and know that you are not alone.

    • Melissa Galt says


      And it was a treat to connect for exactly that reason. I am still IGNORING invites that come in daily with not note or the proverbial, we are both friends with X so let’s be friends. HUH?

      Great to be connected with you truly.

      Hugs, Melissa

  8. says

    Hi Melissa!

    Great advice! I agree that it can not only be too much “noise” but also a distraction when you work from home. I also grow tired of the misspelled emails from unknown men. I’ve been following you on facebook for about year, and have to say you are one of the few that actually give good solid advice in your newsletters! I’ve cut down on my fb list of life coaches that just give you fluff and not substance!

    Keep up the great work!

    • Melissa Galt says

      Thanks Jennifer,

      Reality is so much more fun than mere virtuality and I’d rather invest my time in it!

      Thank you for the compliment and if I ever veer off track, I’m counting on you to pull me back to good solid advice!

      Hugs, Melissa

  9. says

    Hi Melissa,

    You are so right on all counts, but I also have to say that there is another side to it, for example that I met and fell in love with my now husband on the internet when he was in Iraq and I was leaving the UK some 6 years ago, (long story!). However, the internet and social media has come a long way in a relatively short time since then, and I agree that sifting is important for peace of mind. 50,000 people with assorted weirdos among them is a huge load to carry and communicate with!

    Personally, I seem to have learnt another sense when it comes to sifting the ‘dodgy’ from the good – admittedly by experience, which was a very quick learning curve! I have also made some really good friends via websites and social media, who I would not have met otherwise, such as Jenni Parker Brown, Marcie Tanner and others, including you! I have learnt to trust my instincts on the whole, and be guided by them.

    As always Melissa, I love what you share with us, and your insights and knowledge mixed with your kind heart are always of great help. We came so close to meeting in Las Vegas at Adam’s event apparently, and I look forward to a time when we do meet in person!

    Warmest wishes as always,


  10. Melissa Galt says


    I’ve made some good friends few, but not 50K of followers worth, LOL. And I’m still single and dating because the guys coming across social media for me aren’t who I’d date. You got very lucky and that is awesome.

    Yes, seems I got close to a lot of things at that event, but timing is everything and I just couldn’t do it.

    Hugs, Melissa

  11. MIchael says

    Hi Malissa I have been receiving mail from you for a time now and I must say your approach is genuine on facebook.

    • Melissa Galt says

      Thanks Michael,

      It is easier to be authentic than not. Being real saves time and reputation!

      Warmly, Melissa

  12. Kathy says


    I know exactly what you are talking about. I had to cull my FB friends 2 years ago because some family members had friends on FB I never would have friend-ed and they were getting info on me through those family members. Sick!
    And as for those men that want to Friend you so late at night if you are on they can start some sex chat…that’s why I’m divorcing my “soul-mate”, he is so addicted to what he thinks is anonymous but these are people he went to school with or has a Twitter or LinkedIn connection.
    These social Media conduits are ripe for disturbed people, so really appreciate this blog entry! You just never know about some people, so make sure you know what people you open your life to. Kat

    • Melissa Galt says


      I am so sorry to hear that. I have another friend who lost her husband the same way. I’m a master at being single, lol. If you ever need a guide, let me know.

      Hugs, Melissa

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