Complete stranger: 'Want to be Friends?'
Suppose you're walking down the street one day and someone you've never met comes up to you and asks 'Want to be friends?' With what do you respond? 'Yes'? 'No'? 'Define friends'?
If you haven't frequented the right websites, you may think this is a fanciful situation, but it happens daily on sites like eCritters.biz. Actually, I haven't gotten one of these requests for over a week, I think. Amazing. I used to get several each day.
For a while, I was explaining to them why their question was stupid, with something along these lines:
One doesn't become a friend by fiat. You have to get to know the person. If you like them (and they you), you'll become friends over time.Problem: they respond by asking 'asl' and upon receiving an answer, deciding they now know enough about me to be my bste buddy ever.
I could explain another way:
It's stupid to just decide to be friends with some total stranger. You could be a mass murder. I know nothing about you.Problem: These idiots think I just called them stupid and a mass murderer. I could put it on myself:
You don't even know me. What if I'm a mass murderer?Problem: Apparently saying anything like that is 'meen'.
I've tried asking them if they went up to total strangers in real life and asked such things. They told me 'yes' and continued to bug me.
So explaining is a bad thing. Just 'no' then? That works, but they ask why and they get offended and, anyway, I'm not opposed to being their friend. I just think it's stupid to do it this way.
But the best answer is one you might not expect. If you want to be left alone, say 'yes'. Okay, sometimes they'll try to talk to you then, but very often they'll say 'ok', list you as a friend, and never speak to you again. Hallelujah!
Also, it's worth noting that these requests are often sent directly to me, but sometimes are posted on the forums as an open request for friends. Once when somebody posted 'I'll be friends with anyone' I created the account 'Adolf Hitler' and replied to test their resolve.