Let’s face it, in this age of social media you don’t have to be on an online dating site to find the love of your life…for forever or tonight. I’ve been online dating since the chat rooms back in the 1990’s…and before that I somehow seemed to meet people by phone (including my second husband). Technology has played a huge role in my dating life, so I’m not sure why I was surprised when I received my first random friend request from some creepy guy, who I’d never met and with whom I had NO friends in common. Duh, he somehow saw my profile picture and thought he’d try his hand. He was unsuccessful. A few others have been luckier and so have I.
Online Dating Is NOT for ME! But Social Media …
Well, if you happen to be one of the handful of people who doesn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, I could go on, then you may be correct, but for the remaining billions of us, opportunities to meet fun and interesting people abound.
Admit it, I won’t tell, you’ve been scrolling through pictures on your friends’ timelines and come across a pretty attractive person a time or two. Oftentimes we appreciate visually and then keep it moving, but more and more folks are reaching out to the mutual friend to inquire as to the relationship status of the object d’desire. I have a friend who did just that and she and her Facebook-met beau have been together happily for almost two years!
Before you dive head first into your friends’ photo albums we should discuss the pros and cons of such connections, as well as the right way to initiate contact. And trust me, there is a right way.
The up side to meeting the “friend” of a “friend” or OOMF (one of my followers on Twitter) is that you often already share a social circle and/or social interests. A potential downside is that depending on the nature of how you meet, if you’re introduced and the relationship goes south it can negatively impact other relationships in your circle. Now, as in any dating, please beware of the creep factor. The following tips are geared toward helping you break the ice, receive and respond to interest exhibited by others, and safely navigate your dating options via social media, while keeping your existing relationships with connectors in tact.
Wow, He’s Kind of Cute…I Wonder If He’s Single
Tip ½. It’s a pre-tip because it should be stating the obvious, but please make sure that the person is single. OK, the tips commence:
1. Tip Número Uno, and this can not be stated forcefully enough, do NOT poke someone you don’t know. Poking someone you know is creepy, even when done by your grandmother, true story. In the alternative, you can say something flirty or cute on a picture or, better yet, send a short and simple inbox message. If it’s Facebook or you are connected to the person through someone who you’re comfortable asking you can also ask for an introduction. A good wingperson/advocate never hurts!
2. If you’re on a professional site, like LinkedIn, you really must be mindful of the way you and the person are connected and use your best judgment as to whether reaching out or asking for an introduction for personal purposes via a connection is appropriate at all. In some cases you may have to forego reaching out in favor of professional mores. One of my lawyer girlfriends has had a “LinkedIn crush” on the CFO of a company for years. While I don’t suggest pining, it just may be best to admire from afar and hope the stars align for an offline meeting some day. Or, of course, just move on, I mean you don’t actually know the person.
3. When you are contacted by someone, if the advance is wanted…yay! Enjoy. But if the contact is unwanted or makes you feel uncomfortable it is perfectly fine to take any action ranging from ignoring the message, politely declining the advance, to completely blocking or reporting the person.
4. When meeting someone through a mutual contact, it is important that you ensure that you are not stepping on any toes and that the person does not mind making the connection, or doesn’t have a crush on her himself. Depending on the nature of the connection you do not want to put your friend in a position that compromises his or her relationship with the person you want to learn more about.
5. Finally, social media police (i.e., employers, school admissions official) aside, be YOU authentically, on all of your social media platforms. Have fun. Live life to the full and BE your quirky, unique, geeky, silly, shy, fabulous self at all times. The best thing about social media is that you can scream (or whisper) into the wind, and someone may just reply!