Facebook question
November 13, 2007 1:24 AM   Subscribe

Can I hide a facebook friend from another friend?

My girlfriend is keen to join facebook, and will obviously want to be my friend.

I have an existing friend who is dear to me, but is female, and my GF doesn't like her, and would most likely give me a great deal of pain about the fact that we still talk..

I've been over the whole being honest lark, and it's happened before, and caused no end of grief.

Is there any way, without setting up a new account to communicate with my other friend, that I can hide her from my GF?

I've tried facebook, but can't find anything in their FAQ's or Help sections...
posted by the_epicurean to Computers & Internet (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The only way to do so would be to limit her to limited profile and block her from seeing ALL of your friends. This will probably raise suspicion, though. If youre going to do this make sure your profile isn't 100% public either, or she'll be able to see all of your friends by following the 'see friends' link in your public search page listing.
posted by datacenter refugee at 1:29 AM on November 13, 2007

You could ask your other friend to add your girlfriend to her block list. I think that means that your girlfriend would not be able to see that your other friend existed. Test this before relying on it.
posted by grouse at 1:34 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

I believe the proper thing to do would be to tell your girlfriend to suck it up, because you are a grown up and can be friends with who you want.

Alternatively, you can stress the weak bond that being facebook friends constitutes. I'm facebook friends with people I've met once at a bar and people I haven't seen since we hated each other in high school. You can always dismiss it as "oh, we don't even talk anymore, but it's mean to DE-FRIEND peope, isn't it?"

Or what datacenter said.
posted by universal_qlc at 1:38 AM on November 13, 2007 [4 favorites]

What universal_qlc said. My partner has friends on Facebook whom I don't like, but I'd rather know he's talking to them than not know. Treat her like a rational adult all of the time, she just might surprise you. And if she doesn't, well...
posted by methylsalicylate at 1:49 AM on November 13, 2007

Or: leave facebook. I will never understand this bizarre idea that it's intrinsically desireable for everyone who knows me to be put in connection to everyone else who knows me. Half of the point of friendship is how and when I decide to broker those connections. Problems like this will only escalate the more deeply you embed your social life in facebook, I reckon...
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:53 AM on November 13, 2007

Your relationship has trust issues.
posted by public at 2:07 AM on November 13, 2007 [7 favorites]

Thanks for the enlightening response, public

Not what I was after, but hey thanks for the input....

I am aware of that fact, yet it is a little more complex than that..

I have never cheated on any girlfriend, or given reason to suspect I have, just not my bag..

My girlfriend does have self confidence issues, and believes that my friend who lives in Ohio, whilst we live in London, is going to come and steal me away.

She has issues with me being friendly with her sister, or her best friends (heterosexual & homosexual)..

So I understand and accept these issues as best I can...

We have a child together, and I love her very much, but in a lot of ways, it is easier at present to censor the details of parts of my life, than deal with the pain that arises, with every mention of another womans name (friends, work colleagues etc..)

We are both undertaking counselling, to help with both of our individual issues, and that will hopefully make it easier to broach this sort of subject.

I don't think we're there just yet.

Also, game warden...

Please, do me a favour and refrain from responding, if you're not going to add anything, of any worth to the discussion.

I think I made the question quite clear, and I don't recall asking for advice on how I should live my social life, and all that it entails..

What I do use it for, is to communicate, with real friends (I don't have any friends on facebook, that I wouldn't drink with in real life), that I don't get to see quite as often as I'd like, as I am a father to a small child, who takes up most of my time.
posted by the_epicurean at 2:26 AM on November 13, 2007

Listen to the game warden.
posted by flabdablet at 2:28 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

third universal_qlc.
The thing I find annoying about Facebook is the artifical-ness of the entire system. It will be very easy for you to convince her that this friend is no one to you because she will probably figure this out herself when she has to also friend everyone she's ever met at a random house party 5 years ago because it would be "so mean" to decline. Basically, it will be easy to lie to her if your conscience will let you.
Of course, if your "dear friend" (whom you are trying to deny a friendship with? what?) is leaving public messages everyday and poking you all the time it may be harder to pull the wool over your girlfriend's eyes.
In which case some elaborate blocking system as data_center suggested may deter the inevitable. I say inevitable, because trust me people get sucked in when they first join and during her marathon Facebook sessions she will eventually put two and two together and seeing any attempts at a cover up will bite you in the butt.
So again, I third universal_qlc. If your girlfriend makes a fuss that you have some intermittent online friendship (it's just that right?) then there are deeper issues you guys need to work on.
posted by like_neon at 2:36 AM on November 13, 2007

Ok should hit preview.
So there are some deeper issues that you are aware of in the relationship, and I'm glad to hear you are addressing them. In light of the new comments, I think datacenter has the "best method" for what you're asking for but I fear (and you probably know this) it's only delaying the crap hitting the fan.
posted by like_neon at 2:39 AM on November 13, 2007

OK, sorry, and I'll make this my last comment to this post. But just for the record, I'm totally in earnest (and I think my response was as on-topic as all but the first two replies, which address the technical aspects). Email seems to me excellently designed for your keeping-in-touch-while-having-a-busy-domestic-life purposes.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:47 AM on November 13, 2007

Or remove the troublesome friendship from FB? You'll still be able to communicate in other ways but you are respecting your girlfriend's issues with your other relationship by not publicising it.
posted by unsliced at 2:48 AM on November 13, 2007

I second the suggestion to remove your friend from facebook after letting her know how and why you're doing it.

If she is a good friend she will be happy to make your situation easier.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:51 AM on November 13, 2007

I would say don't hide it, you're just delaying a difficult but necessary conversation.

However, if this is something that you need to fix right away.. I would go with grouse's example of getting your friend to add your GF to her block list.
posted by catburger at 3:54 AM on November 13, 2007

Anyway, "In the Works" on this page says:

"Sort out your friends.

We'll let you organize that long list of friends into groups so you can decide more specifically who sees what."

So it looks like something like that is coming.
posted by iguanapolitico at 4:37 AM on November 13, 2007

Wow. Way to derail your own question. And what is it about social networking sites that brongs out the bitter in people?

To answer the question: how about just running two profiles?
posted by Leon at 4:43 AM on November 13, 2007

how about just running two profiles?

I don't think this is allowed on Facebook. And they have people checking on things to ensure that it doesn't turn into another Friendster or Myspace. Plus, I don't think it is a good solution—if the_epicurean wanted to have a separate channel to communicate with this friend he could have just used e-mail.
posted by grouse at 4:55 AM on November 13, 2007

I think grouse has the best (and easiest) idea- if your friend were to block your girlfriend, your girlfriend could not see that she exists. The only possible snare in this plan is that your girlfriend would have to join the site before this could happen, because only specific accounts can be blocked (as opposed to all accounts under a certain name).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:55 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Look, I know you don't want to hear this, but you should consider the fact that your idea could backfire, because you will be doing precisely what your girlfriend is afraid of: sneaking around behind her back to maintain a friendship that makes her uneasy. Consider the following two scenarios:

(1) You suck it up and leave your friend as you FB friend. Your GF is unhappy with this but eventually learns to deal.

(2) You figure out a way to keep your friend a secret. Some weeks or months down the line, your GF finds out. (Friend of hers: "Say, I was looking at your BF's facebook profile and I noticed that that chick you hate is one of his friends. I can't believe you're OK with that!"). She confronts you with the fact that not only are you still in touch with this friend, but that you went out of your way to hide it from her. Now you will have given her good reason to suspect something untoward is occurring.

Which would you prefer?
posted by googly at 5:44 AM on November 13, 2007 [4 favorites]

If you absolutely have to do it this way, the get-your-female-friend-to-block-your-gf thing sounds like the best option. But as always, test it.


I've been in your girlfriend's position and my ex was in yours. Exact same situation. He tried to hide one of his friends so I wouldn't get upset, which I had in the past. What eventually happened is that I found out he was sneaking around talking to her and it definitely hurt a lot more than it would have if he had just TOLD me he talked to her.

You're not doing her any favors, you're just making it easier for you.

When you ask a question on here you're not always going to like what you get back, unfortunately.

Best of luck, though.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 5:52 AM on November 13, 2007

It might help if you make it abundantly clear on your Facebook profile (I don't use Facebook, but use some chunk of text you can edit) that your girlfriend, she's wonderful, you love her more than anyone else in the world, and you are definitely not on the market. This may help your girlfriend feel more secure, and at least she'll know that everyone else will see you as completely taken.

You might want to mention the child, too.
posted by amtho at 6:31 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Googly, et al is right. Don't hide it from her. That could come back to bite you.

Either man up and tell her that she is your Facebook friend, like it or lump it!, or cut your losses and don't have her as your facebook friend.

Be cooked or be raw but don't be tepid! err, something like that anyway. :-P
posted by ian1977 at 7:24 AM on November 13, 2007

Do you already have a lot of friends on FB? As long as your existing friend doesn't send you messages or tag you in photos/videos, your GF shouldn't get any notices of your friend's activity. And if you already have a lot of other FB friends, it's unlikely your GF would even know the existing friend was there unless she was to look through every single one of your FB friends.

Like the other posters said, I think going the route of simply not communicating with your existing friend is much better than trying to hide her from your GF.
posted by junesix at 7:26 AM on November 13, 2007

And if you already have a lot of other FB friends, it's unlikely your GF would even know the existing friend was there unless she was to look through every single one of your FB friends.

Sounds like she might be inclined to do just that. Especially if this women in particular is a thorn in her side.

If you are hellbent on sneaking, could you ask your friend to make a gender neutral profile?
posted by ian1977 at 7:30 AM on November 13, 2007

I also vote for not hiding it, for all the reasons mentioned before it. You mentioned issues regarding every mention of another woman's name to her - ever her sister. Are you going to go thru this process with every female on your friend list? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? On your profile, list that you're in a relationship with her (once she joins), and say how great your life is together in the blurb about your life. If you really feel the need to protect her some more - go friend whoring and get your friend list up, so that this one particular person is such a small entity when compared to everyone else you've got on your list (ie if this person is one in 4 friends, that would cause more questions than if she's one in 100). But explicitly trying to hide the person from your gf is only going to snowball into way more than it already is.
posted by cgg at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2007

There is no way you can hide who your friends are on Facebook, even if you think you've got it sorted, with the number of applications on Facebook these days, one of them will likely make the connection even if you could hide it in the main tools. (Which you couldn't without it been very suspicious) The best you could hope for is to defriend the other woman. If you don't want to do that, you have to be open about it, after all, if you make effort trying to hide it, it makes it look all the more suspicious, and so a little bit of agro by been upfront is nothing compared to the potential agro you'd get from what effectively would be a web of deceit spun out of control.

Ass cgg said, making sure you link your profile to your GF's via the relationship link is a good move, and maybe adding a few more random people, I wouldn't go crazy by adding anyone, but the people you met once at a party who knows someone you know can build numbers enough.
posted by paulfreeman at 8:27 AM on November 13, 2007

If I were you I wouldn't hide it. If she ever finds out you've just fueled her paranoia and she'll have actual reasons to base it on.

I realize this is unsolicited, but just refuse to apologize or even explain your additional relationships. Let her fully react, but refuse to justify yourself. Eventually she'll stop taking her insecurity out on you, and realize that your not going to play her game and feel bad because you know other women.
posted by JakeLL at 8:47 AM on November 13, 2007

We are both undertaking counselling, to help with both of our individual issues, and that will hopefully make it easier to broach this sort of subject.

Try to delay her joining facebook until she's been able to deal with some of these issues. Set up your router at home so you can't get to fb from it if need be -- and see someone for a few sessions of couples therapy.
posted by yohko at 8:57 AM on November 13, 2007

Ugh... don't play games. Life is way too short for that. Tell your girlfriend how it is. If she can't deal with it, then you don't want to spend the rest of your life with her.
posted by mpls2 at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you really want to keep it a secret, grouse is right - have your friend block your girlfriend. But you'll still end up with late-night paranoia, if you're like me, even though it should keep them from bumping into each other there.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 10:52 AM on November 13, 2007

On Facebook, being "friends" doesn't really mean the same thing as it does in real life - it more denotes that you know the person or have met them. I have a lot of "friends" on fb that I went to high school or even college with that I wouldn't exactly consider "friends" in real life - more just classmates or teammates or whathaveyou.

Maybe just keep in the habit of deleting any "wall" posts the girl makes to keep from drawing attention to the fact that you are "friends" with her.
posted by radioamy at 3:04 PM on November 13, 2007

i'm nthing the sentiment that you should NOT try to hack facebook to hide the other girl. your girlfriend will find out somehow, and freak out. even a nonjealous woman would get pissed if she discovered that you were trying to hide female friends from her.

i'm glad you're aware that your relationship has trust issues which are not cool. if you didn't want anyone on askmefi to mention that the trust issues are not cool, you shouldn't have mentioned the trust issues at all. but you did, and i hear a cry for help in your question, and we're here to help. listen, nobody should be telling you who your FB friends can be. shallow, voyeuristic online FBfriendships are a basic human right, and we want you to have free access to that right.

in the meantime, you might be able to mitigate the jealousy if you check "in a relationship with" your current girlfriend, and write sappy stuff in the "how you met" blank. "they hooked up! they made a baby! it was divine! she is the prettiest smartest coolest girl, and the _epicurean loves her little face!" etc.

on an ongoing basis, if you sense any hint of jealousy in other areas of your life and think girlfriend might start looking at your FB wall for other wimmin, make sure your FB wall screams "taken!" ...in other words, change your status to "the_epicurean loves girlfriend", and use a pic of the two of you together as your profile photo.
posted by twistofrhyme at 6:26 PM on November 13, 2007

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