I’m all about using social media to meet new people, including Facebook. I met several guys this way when I was dating (including my husband – long story). So, I’m totally down with searching through friends of friends to see if there might be any “potential.” But sometimes Facebook can screw with your dating life in ways you might not realize.
If you blog you know what I’m going to say – that likely you’ve confessed a thing or two online (like me) that you regret later. And it’s the same thing with social media. We put ourselves out there hoping to connect, but sometimes it bites us in the ass instead.
So what’s the best course of action when you meet someone new? Do you friend right away, or do you wait and get to know him first?
I think it depends on how much of your life you share online, (and how adept you are with using Facebook’s privacy settings).
Let’s take an example. You’ve met this really hot guy at a party, and you want to go out with him. Instead of exchanging numbers, you friend each other on Facebook. It seems more harmless than giving out your number, right? Well, before you even meet for coffee, he’s gotten access to those drunken pictures you took last week when you were out with your girlfriends. In fact, he’s already contacted one of those girlfriends to ask her out. You’re angry and jealous, since you met him first. You wonder what this guy is trying to do, and whether or not to de-friend him.
Another scenario: let’s say the hot guy at the party decides to scroll through your Facebook page, and you’ve gone on a few rants about politics, your ex, or your crazy workplace. Or maybe you go into detail about some embarrassing dates you’ve had recently. While this is hilarious to you and your friends who know you, it might be a turn-off for some guy who doesn’t know anything about you. Plus, he might think you’d write about him.
And what if you’re scrolling through the hot guy’s Facebook page, liking all of his photos or leaving lots of comments on his wall? It’s not exactly a turn-on to look like a cyber-stalker or someone who’s crushing on him.
Friending somebody too soon could leave you feeling cheated and vulnerable.
While Facebook is a public and social media tool, it also exposes your private life to the people you let in your circle. Sure, you can restrict access to some extent, but it’s hard to keep consistent for each post and each new friend. Which is why I think it’s a good idea to wait until you know the guy or are dating for real before you actually friend him – don’t use Facebook as an initial point of contact.
It’s tempting to navigate your social life over Facebook, especially if you check your feed as often as you check your texts. But it’s best to refrain from friending your dates until they know about who you are in real life first.