2 ways to decline to a friend request on facebook without offending

If you are an active facebook user, you may sometimes be receiving a friend request from someone who you don’t want to be friends with. The primary reason for your reluctance can be 1) becoming friends on Facebook meant allowing access to data intended to be shared with friends; and you don’t want to give that access or; 2) don’t want to introduce the new person to your Facebook friend circle.

Now; whatever be the reason for your reluctance to accept such friend requests; declining without offending the sender is a difficult situation to be in.Here are 2 ways to tackle such unwanted friend requests situations:

1) If the friend request is from an office colleague, with whom you don’t want to be friends with at Facebook; then this is what Barbara Pachter, a workplace etiquette expert and the author of New Rules @ Work suggests—“Tell the request sending colleague to connect with you on some social network for professional relationships. Like suggesting him/her to be the part of your network at LinkedIn.”
Now how you convey the person the message is totally up to you. And that is partly the key to make the situation cordial (If done well, one can intelligently tackle any unwanted friend request not even from work colleagues but from non-colleagues as well). Like one can say “I think we can better communicate on if we connect on LinkeIn (or at whatever social network you want the sender to move to).

2) Another way that Pacher suggests involves approving the requests and then regulating the information flow to the new friend using Facebook’s privacy features. Here’s is how to do it: Accept the invitation; create a "colleagues" list from the Friends menu and then add the new friend to it. Then navigate to the privacy settings and use the "Profile Information" section to control what information people on the "colleagues" list can see.

Patcher underlines the fact that whatever way one adopts to deal with such unwelcome friends requests; one should always remember that they should always be polite; more so if the sender happens to be one’s colleague. Why? as “The person you offend might end up being your boss next year”says Pacher.

Barbara's book, if you wish to read: