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The Facebook Dilemma

facebook-front_1796837bIt’s funny how advances in technology add to our life’s daily quandaries and conundrums.  I imagine when they started slicing bread, the cavemen had to rethink their whole meal situation.  The cave ladies were like “now we can slice the buffalo meat thin too and the kids can put it on the bread to take to their hieroglyphic lessons” and the cave kids were like “Mommmm, noooooo! I want a drumstick like the rest of the class!”.   Or when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, there was suddenly an excess of candles, and a whole group of people in formerly dark alleys wondering “where do we go now?!”.  Nowadays, the dilemma runs deeper and affects other people.  When is the time right to become Facebook Friends?!

ARE WE ACTUALLY FRIENDS?

I’m not sure if “Facebook friend” is in the dictionary yet, but it certainly should be, because it possesses a very specific meaning.  I would define Facebook friend as someone who you may or may not know, or you simply don’t remember because you haven’t seen them in 20 years. Whose birthday, accomplishments, political views and children’s’ pictures are all now a part of that useless knowledge section of your brain, but not in a way where It’s going to help you at a trivia night or inside Cash Cab.

For some it’s just a numbers thing (I think you have to be in Middle School), the more friends you have, the cooler you are.  For others, it’s just a venue to air passions, grievances, or feed their insecurities.  But by what standard do you keep when adding or accepting new friends?  How long should you have known a person before you take this deeper step into the friendship/I’m never leaving your life world?  The good news is, it’s not forever.  With a quick click of the unfriend button, poof! they’re gone, and they’ll never be the wiser.

WHAT IF YOU MET ONLINE

You’ve been emailing, texting, talked on the phone a few times, maybe even gone out on a few dates.  You feel like you know this person, you like them well enough, might even trust them with your dog. So what’s the risk with accepting their Facebook friend request?  They’ll be able to see all of your “friends”, gawk at your pictures, check out which TV shows, movies and bands you like and all of those other “likes” that are only there because you entered some contest a long time ago.  There’s the risk of them writing something embarrassing on your wall, but thank goodness for the delete post button.

The question is, what don’t you want them to see?  Say you go on a few dates, things fizzle, yet you remain Facebook friends.  Will you feel weird when they post a scantily clad picture with a potential love interest other than yourself?  Are you a “cut all ties when we stop dating” sort of person, or” let’s stay friends and here, let me set you up with my bff” sort?  That will help to make your decision right there.  If you are choosy with who enters and remains in your social circle, probably best to refer them to your MySpace page.  If you are inclusive, the more the merrier, then by all means, grant them permission to stalk away.

YOU’RE MAKING IT OFFICIAL

Facebook official, that is.  This term should be in the dictionary as well!  Is there a difference between being monogamous and telling the whole Facebook world that you are now off the market, you’re “in a relationship”, and here’s the lucky guy/gal?  I suppose it helps to keep you honest.  But on the flip side, you have to share the news with this same audience if/when things go south.

Writer’s commentary – please do not cry and whine on FB about your breakup.  It really just makes you look pathetic and sad. I had an ex-boyfriend go from “in a relationship” to “widowed” when we splitI presume that means I’m dead to him.  Awkward. 

A new romance is very exciting, especially if you’ve been single for a long while.  Now you found someone who you wouldn’t kick out of bed for eating crackers, that’s a big deal!  You want everyone to share in your happiness, I get it.  This online declaration will also help to explain the future and inevitable photos, tags and occasional wall post from this new figure in your life.  It kind of fulfills this whole celebrity for no reason obsession of the 21st century.  We want a bunch of random people caring about details of OUR intimate lives too, dammit!  So there you go.  Congratulations. You are now in a relationship, even Mark Zuckerberg agrees.  Good job.

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