How to Respond to Friend Requests from People You Don’t Know

Do you have a back order of people requesting your friendship or connection requests from people you don’t know? Facebook friend requests, LinkedIn connection requests, or from any other social networks without an intro message from the person requesting can leave us puzzled as to why they want to connect with us. So instead of leaving them hanging, they may actually be very good prospects for you.

It’s always a rule of thumb that if you want to connect with someone you always send an introduction message. Otherwise, it’s like standing in a lineup at the bank and just tapping the person in front of you and saying, “Hi, want to be friends?” That is slightly awkward. Like anything, you need to start a conversation. And in our profession, it’s all about relationship building.

When there’s a request for friendship and no message from the other person what you want to do then is to scope their profile out. Do you have mutual friends? If not then is there something you have in common on their profile like a hobby or sport? Here is an example of what I say:

“Hi Jennifer,

How are you? I see that you’ve requested friendship from me, thank you! I’m always up to meeting new people. I also see that we have a mutual friend in common, Curtis John. I knew him from college, he’s a great guy but I haven’t seen him in a while. How is he doing? And to what do I owe this pleasure of connecting with you? Rina”

Whatever you want to chat about is up to you but this way they know that you took time to find out about them.


“Hi Todd,
 How are you? I see that you’ve friend requested me, thank you! I’m always up to meeting new people. I saw on your profile that you’ve hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, that is so exciting and has been on my ‘live’ list. I’ve love to hear more about it. And to what do I owe the pleasure of connecting? Rina”

This is not cookie cutter and remember, keep it short and sweet. And you’ll find most people will join in the conversation, you’ll learn a little bit about them and they will tell you why they are wanting to connect. I’ve had people pitch me right after that (a do NOT), I’ve had people say they are interested in my business, I’ve had people say that they just want to connect. And there you have it, a new prospect for your prospect list!

Remember, it’s still not the time to pitch or expose them to the business until you get to know more about them and their pain points. You are building rapport and trust at this point. Then you can report the conversation on your prospect list spreadsheet with what you spoke about so that you know when and what to follow up with on your next conversation. Remember, if you are the one doing the requesting, you must do the same or you become that awkward person in the line up at the bank!

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