I admit that I’m an avid Facebooker. It’s a love/hate relationship.
I want to keep up on what’s happening with cyber friends and even the ones I actually know in flesh and blood real life. I like keeping up on what’s going on in the world (albeit with a grain or two of salt) in the casual, unobtrusive way this information is provided. I enjoy debates and discussions and even the occasional cute animal photo/video. The positivity quips on backgrounds of rivers, trees, and flowering fields—oh, yeah, love ‘em.
But I do not like private messages and pick up lines that make me feel like I’m a bar star. Eww, ick and yuck!
My FB relationship status is mute. Despite displaying few boundaries with much of the personal information I share (both on FB, in my personal blog and with anyone who might listen), I have areas in my life that I prefer to remain subtle with. (Plus, it’s bloody embarrassing when things in that area change.)
So what’s the point of FB even offering “relationship status”? Maybe this is a potential dating site, more like a jazzy lounge, not so much a bump and grind bar.
In that case, some guidelines are needed for effective Facebook communication. Here are some random thoughts from an average “single but not looking” gal:
- Private messages with something intelligent, interesting, or funny work better than “hi/hello/hey”, which are lame and leave nowhere for a conversation to go.
- If we don’t know the person but like some of their posts (assuming we can see their posts) then sharing a link—privately—of something that might be of interest to that person can be an ice-breaker.
- When we get no reply, that’s actually a reply! It means “not interested” (or “I’ve got way too many emails to sort through and only so much time in my day” for the popular crowd.) Don’t take it personally.
- Don’t mistake polite replies for interest, either. If there’s no question at the end of the reply or other obvious curiosity of further interaction, it means the same as #3. Don’t take it personally.
- No means No. If they’re not interested, whether romantically or otherwise, we are best move on and be thankful they didn’t lead us on. And don’t take it personally!
- Don’t mistake interest for romantic interest. If it’s not in-our-face(book) blatant, we may just be an interesting online person to IM with. Is that so bad??
- Unless we know the person well and know it is okay otherwise, only share links and private conversations privately. Seems obvious, but common sense isn’t as common as one expects.
- Do comment on the person’s posts if we’ve got something genuinely relevant to add to the conversation. This the cyber way of getting to know someone.
- Unless explicitly requested don’t send explicit photos of ourselves. (Personally, I think this is a tacky offering and major turnoff, but apparently it’s all the rage in some circles and age groups.) For the purpose of this post an explicit photo is a fleshy one that we wouldn’t publicly post.
- On the same note, be damn sure we’re at a point where it’ll be welcomed to ask for those photos. Some romantic relationships are solely (though, in my opinion, less soulfully) sexually based. If that’s what we’re after, no biggy, but we’d better know it’s mutual.
And by the way, have some self-respect and respect for our partner (if we are in a monogamous relationship), avoid engaging in conversations we know are indecent. We have our own barometer and it tells us what’s right and what’s not and what stage of cheating we’re in. Don’t be a douche.
Most, if not all, of these tips can apply to any dating situation and life in general. It’s about paying attention, being kind and respectful, being honest, not taking things personally and one other thing:
If we don’t try, we’ll never know! So, be courageous—it’s one of the sexiest qualities after all.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Yomo 13/Flickr