If you are interested in keeping track of what another member of the community is doing but are either waiting for a response to a friend request or don't want to request friendship, you can instead just follow him/her.
When you follow a user, the user's activity is displayed on the site Activity Story Stream, perhaps on a tab if your administrator has configured one, and on any relevant group Activity Story Streams. The followed user will also receive an email notification that you are now following them. If you follow someone but don't friend them, they don't appear in your profile Friends tab.
If the person you're following is also interested in tracking your activity, he/she can either add you as a friend or follow you as well. (Note: You cannot prevent a fellow community member from following you. But users who follow you only have permission to view public actions - as with Twitter.)
You can still have a user as a friend but not follow him/her by clicking Stop Following. This may be useful if you wish to remain connected to the person, but have found them too noisy to follow.
You might also wish to remove someone as a friend.
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