I wonder how the dynamic would have been different if the site creators had used a term other than "friend." Like "contact" or something. It seems several people really take the word "friend" to heart, because they have comments in their signatures about the various hurdles people have to go over to be their friends. I don't think I have ever turned down a friend request from anyone on here. Do I think we are really "friends"?? No, not in the strict sense of the word, because we have never met. However, I do think people who have been pen pals (remember those?) for 10 years or so and have never met might consider themselves friends. Some of you who have been on here for years and exchanged hundreds of emails with someone might consider each other friends and it's not my place to argue with that. I know it's polite and good form to acknowledge a friend add with at least a quick message "Thanks for the add" etc. but sometimes I don't even have time for that. Later on we might eventually PM, but there are people who have added me as a friend and there has not been any further contact. So are we truly "friends" just because that's what the website designers called it? Hardly. Some people by now might be thinking -- "I want my friends to be real friends, people I can count on" etc. Not that I'm disagreeing with that. I guess all I am saying is the Facebooks, and MySpaces and yes, LPSG.orgs of the word chose to use the word "friend." And I'm not buying the fact that just because THEY call that function "friend" that doesn't mean I would consider someone I have had 1 or 2 email exchanges with as a friend on the same level as a "true" friend that I have known for years and we have had some level of emotional intimacy and mutual support. And since I don't buy into some website designer's designation of "friend" as in anyway equal to my real life true friends, I don't feel any need to put up barriers to anyone who wants to add me as a "friend" because my mind has my real life friends and my "website friends" in two different rooms, and calling website acquaintances my "friends" doesn't cheapen the value I place on my real capital F Friends. But it seems some people process this the opposite way -- they really want the word "friend" to actually mean that, even on a website, so they ask you not to contact them unless __________ (fill in the blank). Just another of those fascinating differences in people that make the world an interesting place. Certainly some of my "friends" on here are definitely kewl people I've had interesting conversations with, and several of them have a lot of values in common with me so there is a connectedness there. I'm glad I have made their acquaintance just as the random interesting person you might have a conversation with in a line or at a party and never see again, but you remember them and/or the conversation for years. The exchange has still enriched your life. I haven't articulated what I wanted to get across very well, so I'll give up now and plead cold medicine impairment. But I would like to hear some other people give their thoughts on what they think about the "friend" category on social networking sites.