Should You Accept or Deny Your Coworker’s Friend Request?

To friend or not to friend?

That is the question – and the focus of today’s post.

Most of the time, connecting with someone on social media – be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – is no big deal.

But when that “someone” is a coworker? Yikes. That can be a real sticky wicket.

If you are considering connecting with fellow employees on social media, here are a few practical pointers to keep in mind:


  • Indiscriminately add and follow everyone you work with. If you notice that a coworker’s social media connections are limited to a handful of people, sending that request might be overstepping.
  • Reject a coworker’s request with no explanation. To avoid snubbing them and damaging your relationship, explain that you prefer to limit your social media accounts to personal use. Suggest connecting on LinkedIn as a way to keep in touch digitally.
  • Forget that the internet is forever. Once you post content, photos or comments, others can download or screen shot them. So, even if you delete them later, they may not be truly “erased.”


  • Think hard before you click. Before accepting any friend or follow request from a coworker, client or boss, consider the potential pros and cons of the virtual relationship. On the upside, using social media for professional networking can strengthen business relationships and even help move you forward in your career. But on the downside, it means that the good and the bad of your online persona are fair game.
  • Exercise sound judgment when sharing on social media. Use the “grandma rule of thumb” to determine whether you should post content (i.e., if you wouldn’t share it with your grandmother, don’t share it online).
  • Set up friend lists. Create different groups of contacts such as “college friends,” “work friends,” “family,” etc. Then, set privacy settings for each group to control access to more personal content. For example, you can opt to be someone’s friend but not let them see your pictures or comments that others leave on your Wall.


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