Adding 'friends' on italki

I'm fairly new to italki.  There are some great things about this site, but the social implications around 'add as friend' aren't clear to me.  Lots of folks have direct messaging disabled.  Support articles suggest directly introducing oneself though 'add as friend'.  Maybe I'm overthinking this, but this use of 'friend' seems very wrong to me.  Is that correct?  How can 'friendship' exist between two people who don't even know each other?  Do people approach others directly through 'add as friend'?

Apr 8, 2018 1:37 PM
Comments · 7
As a teacher here, I get people who want to have free lessons as a friend.  As free lessons are against the rules here I try to be very polite and suggest that the person take a trial lesson instead.  Most times they don't.  I think that the concept of "friends" on social media is really not correct anyway and we should call them acquaintances instead.  My 2cents
April 8, 2018

Mike, it seems wrong to me too.

Most of people who contact me do that not in order to offer language exchange. The same when I contact people.

It is commonly not messages intended for starting a long conversation: it is a comment on something, or it is something useful, or the sender asks me about something... Sometimes it develops into somethign 'bigger':) When a person has disabled PMs you won't send her/him a link he/she might be interested in.

April 8, 2018
Thank you to everyone posting here and giving me a bit of context! It sounds like sending someone a friend request is the correct approach for an introduction on italki.
April 10, 2018
Or may be not 'wrong'?
I would expect the person who's added me to write me something. But they don't write. I assume, they expect me to write something. Moreover, they may think they would bother me if they write. So it is my turn now? But what can I say to a 20 year old guy form Chengdu who added me as a freind? "Hi!"? Oh... Seems so.

Clearly we follow different 'protocols' of communication. I'm very open. Also, I just say it openly when I have somethign to say. If the guy from Chendu then asks a question, I'm just happy. But... he won't.
Perhaps some people feel differently: they need a formal link to be established first.  "open channel" "confirm open channel" "hi" "hi".

We just can't make sense of each other:-(

April 8, 2018
This site was originally created by a Mainland Chinese/Hong Kong company...The founders/editors might possibly not  native speakers of English...
April 8, 2018
Show more