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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Always * Offline
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I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 17th 2014, 11:41 PM

Ok so for some background information, I have been working for a family who's 20 year old daughter is very disabled since August.... She has a lot of neurological and some physical challenges, but I like working with her. But that's just it.. I work with her, we are not friends, nor are we equals (such as being colleagues). She's essentially my client.

She tried to add me on Facebook when I first starting working with her and I refused to confirm, I wasn't comfortable with breaking that barrier. I told her that "maybe someday but not right now". Because that was true, there was potential that someday I could change my mind. But I haven't.

Only now she's tried to add me on Facebook again.

See, I don't want her accessing my Facebook, she's very nosy and I don't want her knowing about everything I post, there are simple things that she won't understand because she cannot process complex thoughts very easily and there are things that she really shouldn't ask about but she will. I don't need or want to be asked 500 questions about every last thing I post.... Especially when I make posts about anxiety or what ever else

I need to tell her that I cannot add her as a friend but because I still work with her I don't want this compromising my existing relationship with her. She thinks on such a simple level that she might take my saying "no, we can't be friends on Facebook because I need my privacy" very well. But if I beat around the bush and try to be "nice" about it then she won't understand and she'll interpret it the wrong way.

Maybe it's cause I am Canadian, maybe it's because I, as a human, suck at direct confrontation, but the idea of just having to be blunt and be like "no, I'm not adding you on facebook because I work with you and I believe it is crossing a barrier by adding you, I am not comfortable with it, I have facebook so I can chat with my family, people from back home and people I go to school with, I prefer not to add people who are my clients because that is a different kind of relationship for me".... She might (actually) hate me for that. And if she does how am I supposed to be her worker from there on? My work with her depends on our relationship being positive.




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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 18th 2014, 12:41 AM

I think you should just explain all of this to her, and be honest when you do so. Like you said, she (like most people) will respond better to honesty, so that's the approach that I think you should take.

Explain that you don't feel comfortable adding her on Facebook because it's not professional to add clients on Facebook. Re-assure her that, one day, maybe you'll accept her friend request. But, for right now, it's not something that you can do.

Sure, you risk hurting her feelings. But, I think being honest about it is the best thing to do.

Alternatively, you can accept her friend request, but block her from seeing any of your posts and other information. I do that with my parents.

Good luck.


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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 18th 2014, 01:00 AM

Hello!

As I fellow Canadian - I know the spot you're in.

But let me tell you something... to a LOT of people, ""maybe someday but not right now", means YES!

You're going to have to get out of your comfort zone and be painfully direct.

"I am not going to accept you as a Facebook friend. So stop asking me."

Ouch! I know. Doesn't seem very Canadian. But with some people - you have to be that direct. It's going to make you cringe. But if said in a 'matter of fact' way - it will be OK. And do not justify why. You don't owe her - or anyone - a reason. The moment we start to justify is the moment we begin to waver. Stand your ground.

GBH - Craig!
   
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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 18th 2014, 02:06 AM

As a (hopeful) future professional this issue has come up in class before and in the counseling profession, it's an issue of ethics and boundaries. The client-worker or client-counselor relationship is not a friendship or a relationship between equals. We are taught to draw the line in our disclosure statement or when the client asks to decline and explain the nature of the relationship. How direct you have to be will depend on her ability to understand the situation, and I know it will probably be an awkward conversation to have, but you'll have to do it somehow. I think a version of what you already have at the end here is appropriate and then you might have to process her reaction to it.


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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 19th 2014, 12:19 AM

You need to be clear cut with her, and then block her on Facebook. Harsh, I know, but that's the only way she'll stop. Facebook has certain privacy settings, and if you leave something public, it is accessible by anyone who can access it. Maybe you should check your settings so that your posts can only be seen by your friends. Next time you see her, I would explain to her the reason behind why it would be inappropriate to add her.

If the time feels right, you can add her yourself. No need to bring that part of it up. Good luck! I hope it works out.
   
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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 19th 2014, 04:31 AM

Yeah, I guess I have no choice eh.... I'll definitely talk to her, if I have to I will straight out tell her that if she won't respect that choice I will be blocking her (though I prefer to avoid being that harsh).

And Roma (Paint), just to be clear it was a public EVENT that she could see, my pictures and posts are all set to "friends only", I'm guessing that she could see it because it was a "come one come all" kind of thing...




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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 19th 2014, 02:20 PM

Oh! Well I'm sorry I didn't quite understand! Either way, I hope it all works out.
   
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Re: I am a support worker and my client keeps trying to add me on Facebook!! - March 19th 2014, 09:14 PM

Oh that's fine, I figured you just misunderstood that so I thought I'd clarify




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