Here's my etiquette dilemma:
What do you do when you get a "friend" request from someone who you're not sure you know. Yes, you check out their lists of friends & you may find people in common, and that may jog your memory. But what do you do when, in the 'family' of the romance, there are a lot of people who might know of me, just as I might know of them, but we don't actually know each other, have never spoken or met.
Are they my...friend?
When I make a friend request, I try always to write a message saying Hi, often reintroducing myself and reminding them how we knew each other. That seemed, well, friendly. Like when you see someone at an actual event, you say 'Hello, I'm ... and we know each other from ....' Even if you know them well, you still say Hello! And if you don't know them, of course you introduce yourself.
But that's not the M.O. for most others. I often just get queries with no message or greeting and I don't know whether they're someone I've connected with or not. Perhaps their vision is to expand their network to include someone with shared interests. And while that's a reasonable goal, it's not my direction at present.
Which means I've actually ignored friend requests when I didn't know for certain that I knew the person personally (sorry), and it makes me feel so ungracious! All these requests are impersonal—no note, no greeting, just click here and you'll be added to my list—I don't even need to say Hello. And there's also no place on the sites to share your philosophy or to alert people of your feelings on friending.
I worry that I might actually know them, that I ought to have remembered them—I've met them at a conference, they're a Harlequin author, I took them out to dinner, they were kind enough to host me at an event, or may have read my blog (thank you!).
Seems to me the same framework could—should—apply in this virtual world. Friend is a word that means something, and that matters to me.
Many years when I was a 20something my older brother's buddies would complain bitterly that often the girls they were checking out & were interested in wouldn't "put out." My girlfriends noted that that was likely because they weren't "putting in"—actually reaching out & putting themselves on the line.
I'm not comfortable ignoring people, but I do think I'm not going to put out unless the requester 'puts in.'