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MissAusten's avatar

How can I tactfully avoid "friending" my mom on Facebook?

Asked by MissAusten (16142points) January 15th, 2010

I’ve been dreading this for a while, and it’s finally happened. I got a friend request from my mom on Facebook. For those of you who are familiar with me here, you know I’m not a teenager who doesn’t want to be spied on. I’m 35 and a parent myself, but use Facebook a lot to keep in touch with friends from high school and college.

My mom lives quite far from us, but we talk on the phone often. She has some emotional or psychological issues, and I try to keep a certain boundary with her in order to avoid all of her drama. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, and have never said or done anything to make it clear that she actually drives me crazy. I really don’t want to have her posting her nonsense on my Facebook page. Is there a way to tactfully avoid having to friend her? Any advice here would be much appreciate. I love my mom and do not want her to be hurt or unhappy, but I also have to maintain my own sanity and peace of mind. She is extremely difficult to have a relationship with. I’m not being petty, I just don’t want to write an entire novel about her problems.

Thanks in advance!

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28 Answers

nicobanks's avatar

Would partially-friending her work? I have “friends” from work that I felt bad declining but don’t actually want knowing about my private life, but they don’t have access to much of my stuff. You can set these kinds of things in Preferences or Options or whatever it’s called.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Friend her and limit what she can see and do.

lilikoi's avatar

I don’t use Facebook but I have heard and read that people like it because you can create different “levels” of friends. Can you create a “level” of friendship specifically for your mom that would limit her access to what she can see and/or do on your profile page?

TexasDude's avatar

Friend her, and then put her on one of your privacy lists and block her from everything but the most basic parts of your profile. If she asks why she can’t see what people put on your wall and stuff, blame it on screwy technology.

phil196662's avatar

I like @nicobanks and @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard – just do that and limit her…

janbb's avatar

I would just tell her that this is my place where I connect with my friends and that I’d like to keep my relationship with her special and just between the two of us. Hopefully, you can do it in a way that flatters her and doesn’t upset her, but I think she should not be your friend at all if you don’t want her there.

AstroChuck's avatar

You know eventually you’re just going to have to kill her. I see no other way around it.

Aethelwine's avatar

I just went through this myself. My mom kept bringing up how she looks at my sister’s profile all the time to see what she is up to. My sister is in her 40s. I was dreading the day she would ask to friend me. I woke up one morning to find the request. I accepted because I thought that it would look bad if I was her only child that didn’t friend her (there’s six of us). I just use the privacy settings and am more careful with what I post now.

I asked Fluther for help a couple of months ago and received this help.

Austinlad's avatar

janbb has it exacftly right. It’s the best and most honest of all the approaches with your mom. It’s called “setting boundaries.” Sure, you can use the technology of Facebook to evade her, but wouldn’t it be better in the long-run to simply tell her how you really feel?

daemonelson's avatar

“I don’t use facebook much anymore.”

And hit ‘ignore’ on the invite.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I have two facebook accounts, one for friends and the other for family. This feels easier and safer for me than picking and choosing through all the settings to exclude any one person from stuff. I really enjoy the easy camaraderie I share with longtime friends and newer ones too that fit into the mix to the point I don’t have co workers or family on my account because there’d be more explaining than fun. These sites are supposed to be fun dammit.

trailsillustrated's avatar

what @daemonelson and @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard said. just make up some techno babble nonsense – you don’t know why she can’t see more or like @hungryhungryhortence said. Both my kids friended me, I didn’t ask them to, and what I see there is eye-searingly shocking. I never say anything about it.

nebule's avatar

I’m just sorry that you don’t have a better relationship with your mum :-(

you could always create another account and accept her on that…or all your other friends that are currently your friends like @hungryhungryhortence says?

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Do what I do create a clone account !!

MissAusten's avatar

@everyone: Thanks for all the advice and responses so far! I think I will accept the friend request. I don’t mind if she sees what I post, or what my friends post. I don’t mind if she sees the photos, because they are the same pictures I upload to Snapfish and email to her. I just don’t want her posting her strange babble on my page, because she can be so melodramatic. My husband, who has a much easier time being to-the-point with people than I do, said to me, “If she posts something crazy, just delete it. If she notices and ask you why, tell her you’re an adult and don’t want things like that on your page for all your friends to see.” I want to be him when I grow up.

I will also have to go way back and make sure I didn’t make any comments about her in the past. I am so good about being diplomatic with her, but then have to vent about it later. :( The more I think about it, the less of a huge deal it is. However, I am going to make damn sure my brother adds her as a friend too!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Thankfully my mom doesn’t know how to turn on a computer. But my mother in law does…boy was she shocked to read what I don’t censor on facebook – a couple of times she tried to parent me based on conclusions she made from some of us fb statuses and I promptly told her she doesn’t get the subtleties of facebook and to stop it.

TexasDude's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, I have been there done that, only it was my stepmother trying to do the parenting. It really sucks.

dawn2k1's avatar

Try Myspace… you can control what your mom sees on you page….Good Luck

dawn2k1's avatar

It also allows you to approve before a comment she writes is posted….

LeopardGecko's avatar

Basically what every one else said. It’s amazing what you can do on FB.

evandad's avatar

I didn’t know the options were available. I need to to some editing myself.

LeopardGecko's avatar

@evandad – Yeah it’s great. I have some family on my FB and some pictures that I wouldn’t want my mom to see, so I just block them from seeing those pictures, ha ha.

avvooooooo's avatar

Friend her. I have my mother on my list. She can’t see ANYTHING on my profile because I tailored my privacy settings for her, but she’s on my list. She can’t see or post on my wall or do a lot of things. Its pretty easy if you know how, but can be difficult if you don’t.

I’ll help you if you need it. You know where to find me oopsie!

MissAusten's avatar

OK, I accepted the friend request and have her in her own little “list.” Now how do I choose what she can and can’t see/do? Thanks!

avvooooooo's avatar

Settings > Privacy > Profile Information

There are drop down boxes next to everything. Pull down the menu and go to “Customize.” Go down to “Hide this from” and start typing either the group name or hers. If you just want her to be restricted, she doesn’t need to be in a group. BUT if there’s someone else that you might want to add to that group later who would need the same settings, its better to do the group. That’s the logic with the group thing instead of individuals. Pick and choose what she can see. I believe customizing the last 4 (minus the box that needs to remain checked) that you can prevent her from posting on your wall, but the privacy settings have changed since I blocked a few people from doing that. Try customizing those and see what happens and if she gets through we’ll revisit it! :)

That’ll be three cookies, thank you very much.

MissAusten's avatar

I’m all out of cookies, but I have some homemade caramel corn in the oven. Should be ready in an hour or so. Will that do? Thanks for the help!

avvooooooo's avatar

I guess, if it must! ;)

MissAnthrope's avatar

Oh, god.. I so wish I’d found this question before my mom friended me. I really did NOT want to be friends with my family on FB, but I’m too nice and I just couldn’t think of a way around it.

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