Dating in a Facebook World

As often happens when you begin keeping a personal blog, your art (can we call this art? I’m going to) begins to imitate your life and you find inspiration from the every day. Recently, in more than one social setting, boyfriends/ girlfriends on Facebook have been a hot topic of conversation. We pondered a few big points and of course, it’s got me thinking how to handle your Facebook behavior in the dating world.

1) Do you date someone who isn’t on Facebook? My first instinct is a big, loud NO WAY. Along with height requirements and a substantial threshold for pain, being on Facebook is a make or break for me. At least, I thought it was. Initially, my line of thinking was something along the lines of if he’s not on Facebook he’s not really part of reality and he must not be joining for some weird reason like privacy conspiracy theories or he really hates Mark Zuckerberg (both red flags). The more I reflect though, the more I realized it was because I’m a lurker. Yup. I just admitted it. If you’re not on Facebook, I can’t stalk out your pics and posts. And that makes me nervous. On the outside, I appear to be totally calm, cool and collected but inside, I’m as crazy as the next girl. Facebook allows me to keep the crazy in check, to the privacy of my own laptop; and without that release, who knows what I’m bound to do. I avoid guys without a Facebook account for everyone’s best interest.

2) To be “in a relationship” or not – Personally, I prefer to keep my relationship status completely off Facebook. Especially after having been in one of those on-again-off-again relationships, it just makes sense. Imagine every few weeks having to change your relationship status; it’s just embarrassing and a little too close to airing out your dirty laundry for my liking. But when it comes to marking your territory, a lot of people opt for this relationship linking on their Facebook profiles. To me, it comes down to this: does my need to not let everyone know my business trump my need to let all my beau’s female friends and potential homewreckers know I’m his girlfriend?

3) How to maintain your Facebook once you’re in a serious relationship – Many of us out there are Facebook friends with exes, former crushes, drunken hook up buddies and the occasional one night stand. Mostly, we don’t concern ourselves with these profiles except for the casual passing of time stalking. We’re likely not Facebook chatting or messaging them and most definitely not publically posting on their walls. But sometimes that happens. An ex you’ve stayed friends with is a regular chat buddy while you pass the work day, they post something on your wall, they send you a private “happy birthday” message, whatever. Being on Facebook suddenly makes you that much more accessible to your exes. And makes your current significant other accessible to their exes. So here’s the question – when you’re in a serious relationship, do you purge your friend list and remove anyone who’s seen you naked? You might have to, or you’re risking your current relationship for a former flame. As in most cases, I don’t personally want to do this, but wouldn’t mind if someone I’m seeing decided to click the unfriend button on every person with a vagina on his friend list, except maybe his mom.

4)What you know on real life versus what you know on Facebook – this is single-handedly the biggest issue for me with Facebook and the dating world. Even if I just know your name and we’re not actually Facebook friends yet, I’ll probably try to track you down there. Likely this is because I’ve met you at a bar and can’t really remember what you look like. It’s also because I’m just plain nosy. And if we are Facebook friends, I’ll leisurely peruse your info and photos just to make sure I do actually like you. Because clearly I’ll learn more about you from your Facebook profile than from spending time with you in real life. And then the complications set in – did I remember something you told me or am I remembering something I saw on your Facebook profile? BE CAREFUL here. Only the most experienced lurkers can get away with this behavior indefinitely.

My advice to all is this: Practice safe Facebooking.

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Posted on December 21, 2011, in dating and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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