Facebook has completely redefined the meaning of friends. When our co-workers, managers, and even people we have never met, see our name in their SUGGESTED friends, or they start scouring Facebook for new people to connect with, you just may get that invitation to connect and add them to your “friends.”

While this can be a positive thing in certain (usually isolated) cases, friending a co-worker, boss, or total stranger definitely has its challenges.  Some folks use Facebook for networking and yet want to keep their real friends and family members separate from their acquaintances.  Here are a couple of my favorite ways to deal with this, sometimes, awkward situation:

1. Create LISTS on Facebook and make one of them “CO-WORKERS” or “NEAR STRANGERS.”  You can be connected to them for sending or receiving direct messages, but you can give this LIST limited access to all of your content.  After creating your list you can go into your ACCOUNT PRIVACY SETTINGS and then PROFILE INFORMATION.  Now select CUSTOMIZE and you can make your choices there as to who can see what.

2. The second suggestion is that you send a nice and professional message to your “Friending” co-worker letting them know that you use Facebook for family members and that you would love to connect on Twitter or your Fan Page (if you have one) and that you look forward to getting to know them better through those avenues.

These tips will help you take some of the “tacky” out of a sticky situation!  What are your thoughts?  Have you had to deal with this and what was YOUR outcome?

@GinaSchreck