This is the era of social networking and friending.  Some people have dozens and dozens of friends, and some people are just climbing up and are busy forging new contacts. I’m often puzzled by those who seem to try to connect promiscuously or randomly, with no feel for what’s going on.

To give you an example, I received a Facebook friend request from someone with whom I have only one very weak connection. I sent this message back:

I don’t think we know one another that much to be friends, and I’m wondering how you expect people to want to “friend” you online. Your picture is not clear, and your profile shows pretty much nothing. And your friend request has no personal message; no curiosity, no generosity, no friendship!   This is a social medium. I am sure you are a very interesting person, but no incentive to connect with you beyond my tiny positive instinct!

When people put a little effort into the friending gesture, they should get a positive response.  For people with open, descriptive profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, public Twitter feeds and other kinds of information visible in the world wide web, their door is pretty much open. But it’s polite to knock, or to inquire within, or to leave a virtual gift on the step outside.