Opinion: I’m tired of creepy people on Goodreads

Stop. Just, please stop.

This is getting out of hand.

Okay, deep breaths.

When I first joined Goodreads, my friends list consisted of people who were really and truly my friends, or friends of friends — for the most part, people I knew in real life in some way, or who had an actual connection to me.

Over the years, especially since I started blogging, my friends list has expanded, and that’s usually quite fun. I love seeing what everyone else is reading (yes, I’m that person on the airplane who looks at everyone else’s book as she walks down the aisle), and I love getting feedback and ideas and inspiration from the people I meet.

BUT… has anyone else noticed lately the proliferation of creepy people who seem to think Goodreads is a hook-up site?

My policy over the last couple of years has been to accept all Goodreads friend requests, because why not? The more, the merrier! We’re all book lovers, after all, so why not be friends?

Except now I find that at least every couple of weeks, I’ll accept a friend request only to get a follow up message that creeps me out. Like the one that arrived today:

You are truly a beautiful woman. Honestly I will like to be your good friend. 

Um. Thanks? But no.

Here’s one from a couple of weeks ago:

Are you on hangout so we can have a good time and good privacy for ourselves


There are also bunches of more innocuous messages, that all seem to be variations on Joey Tribbiani:

Not casting aspersions based on gender or anything… but 100% of the creepy Goodreads messages, as well as the “how you doing” messages, are from men. Make of that what you will.

I’m just ignoring for now. If I pretend not to see them, maybe they’ll go away? If anyone really crosses a line (or if I end up seeing something I deem offensive on their profile), I’ll delete them… but otherwise, I’ve mostly just been shrugging and moving on.

It does feel like these kind of messages are showing up more frequently lately. Maybe everyone is just at home with more time on their hands these days? For whatever reason, it’s often enough that I’m starting to get annoyed.


Anyone else experiencing the same thing? And if so, how do you handle it?

54 thoughts on “Opinion: I’m tired of creepy people on Goodreads

    • Lucky you! 🙂 It doesn’t feel upsetting in a personal way, just annoying. I haven’t come across any that are downright abusive or anything — it’s just weird.

  1. I’ve gotten one or two comments like that and I just trash the conversation. It’s crazy, but they’re everywhere. I once had a guy do that on my FitBit app and it’s like, what is going on?!? Some people are just crazy!

  2. Yeah, that’s not okay. I’ve gotten a fair bit of that on wattpad.
    For me, what really helped was I stopped putting pictures of my face online. Not that any woman should HAVE to do this. The responsibility should really be on the men to not be creeps. But sometimes you just want to do whatever works, and in my experience that worked pretty well.
    Now….I don’t know WHY it worked. I am not a good looking female. But now that my face isn’t online, it’s rare for me to get a creep in my inbox.

    • That’s interesting. And I agree, you/we shouldn’t have to do that, but it’s worth noting that it made a difference. Not that picture is at all up to date — I think it’s from 10 years (and many pounds) ago. Ha, maybe just putting up something more current would fix all my problems.

  3. Yes!! I have started getting these too. My policy used to be accept friend requests without even thinking, I never even clicked on the profile to see who was asking to be my friend. But now I do simply because I’ve gotten those weird creepos who think Goodreads is another Tinder. I also report them to Goodreads, and I think doing that will get them kicked out, I hope!

    • Ah, it didn’t even occur to me to report them. If I feel like they’re crossing a line, I will. I wouldn’t even have brought this up, except it seems like lately I can almost count on getting these. I’m sorry, when did Goodreads stop being about books???

  4. Well, that’s creepy and gross. I haven’t encountered anything like that on Goodreads, but I just have my usual book photo on my profile, and I think my gender is set to neutral or something like that. I’ve only gotten a few weird messages like that on my personal Instagram account, and I just delete them.

    • Creepy and gross, exactly. Hmm, I hadn’t thought about my gender setting, but maybe I should change that and see if the messages die out. So far a couple of people have responded about having images that aren’t pictures of themselves, and that seems to make a difference too. Although it makes me sad to think that we have to defend ourselves in any way on Goodreads.

      • I had changed my gender setting to see if Goodreads would stop recommending contemporary romances (which I don’t read) in my feed there (didn’t work). I can’t remember if I ever changed it back or not.

        It’s definitely sad we have to alter settings and adjust photos to avoid creeps on a book website. You’d think all that would stay on dating sites, but noo….. I’m on Goodreads to keep track of books, not find a date.

  5. Whoa. I’ve always known there’ll be creeps everywhere on the internet, but Goodreads creepers are a new thing for me. Sorry to hear about that and thanks for this eye-opening post!

    • Thanks for your comments! And yes, I expect creeps most places online, sad as that is, but Goodreads has always felt like a safe space for people who love talking about books.

  6. Thankfully I haven’t had any personal experience of this but, sadly, I feel like creepy blokes will always try to find ways to make online communities places that aren’t fun for women. Are all men like this? Not at all! But will all creepy men always find a way to utilise an online community where a lot of women are present? 100% yes. I hope they get bored and stop soon and, if not, I hope you’re able to report them so they can’t bother you or anyone else!

    • Good idea about reporting. I really hadn’t thought about that, mainly because I don’t think any have crossed the line from dumb pick-up lines to actual gross or inappropriate language. Ugh, you’d think we could all just hang out and talk about books and feel safe!

  7. I have seen this quite a bit as well. I don’t have a picture on my profile but still get them. I think if you read any Erotic Romance or BDSM they get especially creepy. I would like to say, just because I read that stuff doesn’t mean I want to do it in real life especially with some stranger trolling goodreads. So crazy!

    • Oh exactly — and if someone did happen to want to find a strange to indulge with, I don’t think Goodreads would be their first choice for finding partiners! We should all be able to read what we want and share thoughts about our books without having to deal with creepy people as a result.

  8. Oh no! I’m so sorry this is happening to you! This, thankfully, hasn’t happened to me but I’m SO cautious about who I add. Like I have to 1) know the person or 2) know your blog and follow your blog, otherwise I’m just not interested, which sounds mean, but it works for me and honestly makes me feel better. I’ve gotten creepy comments on my blog and that’s freaked me out, but I just automatically block because I don’t have time for it.
    I hope that those messages stop coming to you!

    • Thanks! I guess it’s easier to control on our blogs, because we can just block or disapprove comments that we don’t want. My Goodreads friends list used to be really limited, but I’ve had fun adding to it over the last year and expanding my circles — except the downside is the occasional creep who makes contact!

  9. Ewwww… I usually accept friend requests on Goodreads, but occasionaly not, especially if the person has no books listed. I just logged on to see if I had any messages. Nothing there, but I would feel the same way you do. I’m not sure if I even know 5% of my Goodreads friends personally…

    • At this point, I don’t know most personally, and that’s okay — but yes, like you, I’ve started checking to see how many books they’ve listed before accepting random friend requests, especially from men (hate to say it, but again, that’s where all the creepy messages come from).

  10. That’s really weird. I haven’t received such messages, but that could be because I don’t have a photo of myself up there, just a random illustration. It might be best to report them.

    • That’s great advice, and I think I will going forward, especially if any cross a line from simply annoying to inappropriate. A few people have mentioned not having a photo up, and I guess that’s a good idea — although we shouldn’t have to go that route just to avoid creepy people!

      • I agree on that about having a photo up. Another option is to make a general report about to Goodreads, if possible. It something they need to look into.

  11. Sorry this has been happening to you. My profile photo on Goodreads is kind of off-putting, so I haven’t been getting the same creepy people. When G+ existed, I used to get weird messages on there all the time. I was not mad when that site died.

    • Ha ha, I’m trying to imagine what your off-putting image looks like! 🙂 I should probably think about changing mine, not that it’s awesome or anything — just me in a baggy sweatshirt from 10 years ago, but still.

    • That sounds smart. I did that for a while, then decided I’d friend everyone who reaches out, but these recent experiences are making me rethink my approach.

  12. Ugh, that’s awful. No one should have to deal with that. I’ve had a few similar messages myself. I report them personally (but I’m not trying to tell you what to do. 🙂 )

  13. I haven’t gotten any creepy messages, but I don’t really friend anyone on Goodreads. However, I have noticed that I’ve been getting friend requests from random men I don’t know–and that hasn’t happened to me before. So that creeped me out a little. I didn’t know what they wanted, but I kind of assumed it couldn’t be good since I didn’t know them….

    • Yes, it does seem like the random friend requests are coming in from strange men… and I’ve started being more cautious about accepting, like making sure they actually have book content listed rather than just being weirdos trolling for connections.

  14. It is probably something that is going on on the net in general now, I think. I’ve seen someone comment that they received that kind of messages on Wattpad. I’m getting them on Bloglovin’. And honestly, they don’t seem from real people. they seem more those boots that send out messages at random and only react when someone relplies.

    The net is becoming ever more weird and – sometimes I feel – unsafe and unreliable. We probably need to learn to be smart. At least as smart as these people taking advantage of it.

    • Sad but true. I’m not really active too many places other than through blogging and on Goodreads, and I used to always think of Goodreads as a safe space for book people… but as you say, I guess nothing online is safe any more. I used to occasionally leave comments on public sites (like about entertainment, etc), but that feels really unsafe too.

  15. Sooo creepy! I used to get them when I used a more attractive looking avatar. I don’t now that it’s just my Birdie Bookworm picture. So, apparently cartoon quaker parrots reading don’t inspire come ons. 😀

    • Ha ha 🙂 It’s good to know your parrot is safe from creepiness! I’ve been hearing similar thoughts from other people too, that the avatar picture makes a difference. Which is terrible, really, because why should we have to worry about it? Goodreads should be safe! Still, I haven’t updated my GR profile image in about 10 years, so maybe it’s time anyway…

  16. Pingback: 10 Interesting Posts You May Have Missed in May 2020 – Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions

  17. Ewwww! Those are awful 😦 I’m sorry! I haven’t had that issue with goodreads yet (knock on wood) but I get it on Instagram all the time. I just block and report them and then it deletes the messages for me. (And all the messages I receive like that are from men.)

    • I just fail to understand why these people think their approach might be a good idea? Oh well, why bother trying to understand creeps… I’ll report from now on if it happens again!

  18. Yes! I’m late to comment, but just stumbled upon this. I am not young, and have purposely mentioned a husband in my profile, and yet– months ago, it occurred to me that this might be a lockdown thing, but I just had another guy ask for my email, and mention meeting on WhatsApp. Geez. I was so creeped out this time, I deleted and blocked him.

    So yes, I’m beginning to ignore friend requests. I have enough to keep up with.

  19. I looked up on Google to see if anyone experience the same thing. There is this guy I just accepted as my GR friend and he started asking me about personal stuff, like my secrets. I’m so uncomfortable, I tried saying I have none but he was being pushy. He is creeping me out. I don’t know what to do, I’m genuinely uncomfortable, do you have any suggestions on what should I do, should I delete him?

  20. I know I’m late to the party, but this has been happening to me a lot recently and this is one of the few things online I’ve seen about it. I’m wondering if it happens a lot but no one talks about it so there’s not discussion about it online? But I’ve been shocked at how many random white, middle-aged men send me requests and message me… after the third guy I stopped accepting requests (I only had a few followers previously and was initially excited).

    • Sorry you’re experiencing this too! I’d been accepting all friend requests, and sadly, because of these experiences, I’m being much pickier about which request from men I’ll accept. My new rule of thumb is to look at their number of books and friends — and if they have way more friends than books, I decline. I still get some of the creeps though, and I still don’t understand why anyone would think it’s a good idea!

  21. I just came across this post from an online search of the exact same question! I just started having this happen to me as well and it’s really aggravating me. I’ve not gotten the really creepy messages yet, but I am getting very persistent Tribbiani’s. I just keep blocking them. I don’t want to have to alter my privacy to prevent this, but maybe I’ll have to. =(

  22. OMG!! I didn’t know this! I am new to Goodreads and I started adding all these people recently. Since I didn’t know the credibility or safety of this site, I just googled it and this popped up! Now I’m feeling really conscious and idk..not safe, if that makes sense

    • It makes total sense. I originally joined Goodreads just as a way to keep my reading organized, and it wasn’t as much of a social media feed back then. I’ve learned there are ways to stay safer — some suggestions have been to use a non-specific image as your profile icon, add a verification to friend requests to read out people you either don’t know or who aren’t there to talk about books, decide whether you want to friend people you don’t have connections with in real life. None of it is foolproof, of course. For a long time, I accepted all friend requests — who doesn’t want more people to talk about books with? Now, I look at the number of books and friends someone has when there’s a friend request pending, and I only approve the ones with way more books than friends.

    • Don’t let these creeps sour you on Goodreads! It’s such a wonderful site. Since I started screening people before accepting the friend requests, I’ve barely had any issues. If you’re wanting to grow your friend connections with people outside of your known contacts, I would suggest joining some Groups. There are tons of groups on Goodreads, from local library based ones, to (inter)national book club groups or groups with similar interests. (Community -> Groups) Some of my favorites are Pick a Shelf and 2022 Reading Challenge. These groups have very active members and you can easily meet people on the forums to add to your list of friends. If you do come across a creeper that has snuck in, just block them and move on! Good luck. =)

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