5

I posted a message in a very large Facebook group (~75,000 members) asking for specific information to help me in my internship.

One person that speaks Spanish messaged me and asked me to be his friend.

  • I speak no Spanish
  • He said he was from Mexico, I live in the northern U.S, far from Mexico.

My hesitation factor is that I see no reason to be unkind or rude to a person that has not been mean or insulting to me at all.

I already told him that I prefer to be friends with people on Facebook if I see them face-to-face. He did not seem to get it.

He has called me on Facebook Messenger a few times.

How do I tell him that I do not wish to be friends because of our locality and language barrier?

  • To be clear, will you have any interactions with him in the future on this platform outside of your chats? In other words, if things go bad, would it have any effect on your interactions with others outside of making you feel bad about how you handled him? – scohe001 Aug 28 '18 at 22:12
  • I don't know. He may or may not post something on the post I made, or say something to the admin. This probably would not make any effect on interactions with others. – ElizB Aug 28 '18 at 22:16
  • When you say "friends", do you mean actual friends, or merely the way Facebook uses the word to describe online contacts? – Raimund Krämer Aug 30 '18 at 10:59
13

It sounds like you have already been kind to this person.

If you suspect language barrier (or, for that matter, limitations in social skills) is a problem, you could try to rephrase your statement with more direct rather than indirect language.

Instead of saying "I prefer to be friends with people on facebook if I see them face-to-face," you can write "I am sorry if I was unclear, I do not want to be your friend on facebook because I do not know you face-to-face" or something similar. This more direct language might come across as rude to some, but you already tried a softer approach, and indirect statements can be difficult to read in a second language.

It would also be reasonable, and not particularly rude, to simply stop communicating with this individual. You have already provided enough information such that they can use other resources to understand that you have already told them you do not want to be friends (for example, they could ask on a forum or ask a friend to help them interpret your statement).

I would even suggest that internet etiquette suggests you didn't even have to go that far: you have not done anything to indicate you are actively soliciting individual contact beyond answers to the question you posted, and this person has gone beyond normal etiquette themselves, so your obligation to be polite is reduced.

6

If you don't know this person at all and don't have a relationship with him that you wish to protect, one straight forward course of action could just be blocking him on Facebook.

If that's too blunt for you, try explaining yourself again:

As I've explained, I'm not interested in being Facebook friends with you because I don't know you personally, and we have a language barrier that would make it hard for us to communicate. Please stop calling me.

One disclaimer, he might respond that he speaks English, so in that case you could just emphasize the first point again.

If he persists, reporting or blocking him is always an option.

2

I already told him that I prefer to be friends with people on facebook if I see them face-to-face.

Seems like you already have told him and he chose to ignore your polite brush off. At this point it's reasonable to be a little more direct.

Sorry, I'm not interested in developing a long distance friendship.

If the messages continue after that, block and report as needed. You've already fulfilled your portion of the social contract and someone choosing not to "get it" isn't really your responsibility.

Imagine if someone approached you in person in this manner. They decided to strike up a conversation, you decilined and then they proceeded to follow you around and talk to you anyway. The etiquette doesn't really change just because it's happening online, what's pushy/creepy/rude in person is just as pushy/creepy/rude online.

  • What I'm unsure of is that either he doesn't get it because of the language barrier or if his intent is really to be pushy. – ElizB Aug 28 '18 at 22:29
  • Has he been messaging you in English? – zanahorias Aug 28 '18 at 22:30
  • No, 100% spanish. I had to use google translate. – ElizB Aug 28 '18 at 22:43
  • @ElizB Doesn't really matter, the response and end result would still be the same. – apaul Aug 28 '18 at 22:49
  • 1
    I'd remove the "really" in the second sentence in the quote block. For me (not a native speaker), it could still be possible that it may change. Without the "really" it's clear. – Walfrat Aug 29 '18 at 6:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.