When Should You Add Your SO's Family And Friends On Facebook?

by Candice Jalili
Jovo Jovanovic

My editor was in a bit of a lover's quarrel with her boyfriend the other day.

I KNOW, YOU GUYS. You're dying to know what it was about. Don't worry, I've got you.

So basically what happened was she posted something on her boyfriend's wall and his brother liked it. I know, not super exciting. But the weird thing is that she's not friends with her boyfriend's brother on Facebook. And they've met. Several times.

My editor thinks it's her boyfriend's brother's responsibility to friend request her. Her boyfriend thinks it's her job to friend request his brother.

You see, her boyfriend never friend requested his brother's girlfriend of over a year because he assumed that it was her responsibility to friend request him. But she never friend requested him, and I'm going to assume it was because she was on my editor's side in thinking that it's the responsibility of the family members to initiate the Facebook friendship.

As you can tell, very confusing stuff with some very strong opinions.

But I just had to know. What's the norm here? Who's right? I decided to find out. I put together a little survey and 36 people responded to hopefully provide us with some sort of idea of what should be done when it comes to friend requesting your significant other's friends and family.

First, I asked about family.

Fam first, amirite? Yeah, I am right. So let's get this party started.

Who friend requests who?

First, I had to settle the question of who should be friend requesting who. Turns out the large majority of our respondents (58 percent) don't care. That being said, a somewhat close second (31 percent) of respondents did agree with my editor in that the family members should be friend requesting them. So looks like they weren't completely nuts.

When can friend requests be exchanged?

Next, I had to know when the appropriate time is to go ahead and send the friend request. For this, I got a lot of different responses from people but three overarching sentiments seemed to be the most popular.

The most common sentiment was definitely something along the lines of what 39-year-old Sanaz said, "after we meet in person." Basically, most people seemed to agree that a friend request was appropriate after you have met the family in some capacity.

Although some people, like 23-year-old Mary*, also equated it with an amount of time spent in the relationship in her answer, "Definitely after you've actually met them in person. And usually after you've been dating for a while, like at least six months?" Lots of people were on the same page as her with different amounts of times that established a certain level of seriousness in the relationship.

Then there were a couple of people like 24-year-old Amy, who felt that there had to be a distinction made between parents and siblings in her straightforward statement, "Parents -- when they request. Siblings -- when you've met a few times."

What happens after you break up?

Last but not least, I had to know what happens after you break up. So, let's say you went ahead and dated the allotted time where it was appropriate to send the friend requests and then you guys break up? What happens then?

On this matter, our survey takers were pretty split between two answers. While 38 percent of respondents agreed that they would not unfriend their significant other's family members no matter what, a slightly larger 44 percent agreed that it depended on the severity of the breakup.

Then, it was time to talk about friends.

OK, so we have family stuff covered. But what about friends?

Who friend requests who?

In terms of who should be friend requesting who, people seemed to be WAY more laid-back when it came to their significant other's friends. While a smaller 17 percent of respondents agreed that the friends of their SO should be doing the requesting, an overwhelming 78 percent of respondents agreed that it doesn't matter who friend requests who when it comes to friends.

When can friend requests be exchanged?

In terms of when the friend request should be sent, lots of people agreed with 24-year-old Ali that it can be done, "whenever, no timeline."

That being said, lots of others agreed with respondents like 29-year-old Lacey who thought the request should be sent "after we meet."

Then there were some people like 24-year-old Adam who saw friends as the "same as family" when it came to friend request timelines... which was interesting seeing as how lots of people seemed to treat adding the friends as more casual.

What happens after you break up?

Finally, the time came again to see what happens post-breakup. The large majority of our respondents were split evenly on this matter with 44 percent agreeing that they would not delete their ex's friends while the remaining 44 percent agreed that a possible deletion would depend on the severity of the breakup.

As for the remaining 12 percent, they had more out-of-the-box answers like 27-year-old Lauren* who proclaimed, "HELL NO AND I'M POSTING PICS IN WHICH I LOOK AMAZING AND THEY'RE GOING TO TELL HIM ALL ABOUT IT."

Good for you, Lauren. Good for you.

*Name has been changed.