Saying there are a million ways to connect with people online isn't much of an overstatement. The trouble is, all that online communication and connection alters in-person interactions. People now use Facebook to get to know one another and, for better or for worse, judge one another on their online activity, friends, and reputation. When is it OK to say "no" to being online friends with a real-life pal or potential love to protect your face-to-face relationship? You'll find out in this installment of our Tech Dating 101 series.
A co-worker recently shared that a close friend and former flame of hers, whom she has known for more than 10 years, requested to follow her on Twitter after he started following one of their friends in common. She went to click the "accept" button but realized she had protected her updates for a reason, and though she knows this man well, respects him, and doesn't have secrets from him, she isn't ready for him to know what she thinks about Vampire Diaries or her lunch. She asked me if I thought it was OK to ignore his request, even though she will inevitably have to face him. To see my advice,
Trust your instincts! If you don't want to let someone see your tweets or Facebook account or have access to your online world, don't! You shouldn't feel a moment of shame or guilt about this! It's not a requirement for being nonvirtual friends with someone. Chances are you have a good reason you are hesitant to share your updates (perhaps you fear he will be too interested in your tweets or you simply don't want him to read them) and that is absolutely OK. Better to block him than accept him and have regrets. If you are really worried about online anonymity and hiding from a select person or persons, make sure you take proper precautions to keep your social networking activity private.
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