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Your Facebook page just dinged, and OMG, it's a friend request from his mother. Whether it's his mom, nosy younger cousin or grandma who only recently discovered what Facebook was, figuring out how to respond to said request can be quite tricky for some brides and a no-brainer for others. If you happen to fall in the former camp, we've got a few savvy solutions for when his family gets a little too close for comfort on Facebook.
You accepted the friend request and now his mom is totally stalking your Facebook page.
She comments on and shares practically everything you post and has even started friending some of your friends she (and you!) barely know. She means well, but let's face it, you're pretty fed up at this point. Sound familiar? If so, national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, recommends letting her know in a non-accusatory tone of voice that you love seeing her on Facebook, however, it's a bit embarrassing that she's the only one that routinely sends you X's and O's and signs off with "Lots of Love" after each comment. "Offer to give her a briefing on how Facebook works and share the generational confusion between laugh out loud and lots of love. She may appreciate the time you spend giving her a tutorial," tells Gottsman. You also must mention that you're a little uncomfortable hearing that several of your acquaintances, not even close friends, have accepted her friend request. "By politely stating your feelings, you're gently pulling in the reigns and setting some much-needed boundaries."
You ignored the request and got asked about it.
You're by no means obligated to accept every friend request from his family member or yours, and oftentimes ignoring it can be the best solution. "They may assume you either didn't see it or eventually forget about it themselves and move on to other people they have their eye on connecting with," says Gottsman. "If they do ask you why you haven't accepted it though, you can simply share that you use Facebook for people you don't see or talk to on a regular basis, and you much prefer to keep friends, family and business separate." You may hurt feelings in the process, warns Gottsman, but that's the risk you take and you must weigh the options of comfort over guilt.
You accepted the friend request, yet failed to set any privacy settings.
So grandma doesn't approve of that pic you posted of you and your girls in Las Vegas, and in turn, she told your fiancé's mom who told him? Eek! If you're tentative and would prefer someone in his family not see everything you share, Gottsman advises adding that person to a custom list and adjust the visibility settings before hitting "post" on a status update. "Chances are, he or she will never know they're viewing only a limited portion of your posts."
You initially accepted the request but want to de-friend now.
Of course, you're not going to agree with everything someone says on Facebook, but if your brother-in-law (or whoever it may be) is constantly posting inappropriate things and making crude comments you strongly disagree with, it could be time to cut ties...on social media at least. "We're judged by the company we keep, and while we can't always choose our family, we can determine how we want to be viewed on social media," stresses Gottsman. "If the posts are racy and the wording offensive, feel free to de-friend. And if he asks you why, you can easily say you were uncomfortable with the content of his posts. You don't owe further explanation or an apology for protecting your online reputation."