Q: I was recently surprised when my best friend’s ex asked to “friend” me on Facebook. This guy cheated and left my friend and her three kids from a previous marriage with no sorry, so long, nothing. I love my friend and was concerned for her welfare. He devastated the children, particularly the oldest child who adored him and was just about to graduate high school when he bailed. His departure colored her graduation and made her next few years very difficult. I did some searching and I was surprised to see that other close friends did accept his request. I have no desire to talk to this guy. What’s good ex-etiquette?

A: The rules of good ex-etiquette are not just designed for those who must interact with their ex; they’re for anyone who must interact with an ex, like you who are faced with the possibility of being Facebook friends with the man who parted with your best friend acrimoniously.

Although Facebook is a great forum for staying in touch with old friends, in cases like this, good ex-etiquette could simply be to ignore his friend request. It sounds like this was a social network equivalent of a Hail Mary pass — throw out a bunch of friend requests and see if any are accepted.

But, if you feel you must say something, we suggest you rely on Ex-Etiquette Rule No. 8: “Be honest and straightforward in all communications.” Based on that, you would send him a message to tell him exactly what you told us — “Because of your close association with your best friend and how he hurt her and her family, you are surprised that he contacted you. And, since you obviously share friends, it appears there may be a time when you see each other out and about. If you do, you will not be rude to him, because that’s not good ex-etiquette, but you have no desire to perpetuate a relationship with him nor converse with him on Facebook.”

We suggest you do not post this in an open forum, as it will just produce more drama and may provoke him into a back-and-forth in which you do not want to engage. Other friends who do not have the strong feelings you have may also weigh in and that may just complicate the issue. Just state your case by private messaging and move on. Understand, responding at all may open a can of worms. If he responds negatively, we strongly suggest you do not get involved in a tit for tat. Just move on. Hopefully, your friend has.

Dr. Jann Blackstone-Ford and her husband’s ex-wife, Sharyl Jupe, authors of “Ex-Etiquette for Parents,” are the founders of Bonus Families (www.bonusfamilies.com).

— McClatchy-Tribune