Let’s kick things off with a hypothetical scenario here.
You have a free Saturday evening and decide to go on a date with someone who you have never met in person, (which is fairly standard dating protocol.) Whether this person came to you via the recommendation of a friend or from matching on a dating site, you very likely did something beforehand: “stalked” them on Facebook. Even just 10 years ago, this outlet wouldn’t have been possible but, now, with just a few clicks and effortless searching, you have access to the last 5+ years of their life. Pictures, knowledge of friends/family/social circles, collegiate background, career path, opinions, etc. are all at your fingertips before you’ve so much as said hello. While this may seem like a fabulous shortcut in deciding if this person is an appropriate match for you, your lifestyle/needs, etc., you are given a (likely carefully constructed) facade and superficial representation of who this person actually is. You are inclined to their strongest and most attractive qualities (and pictures, for that matter!) and you are making a crucial “first impression” in a way that is inorganic to healthy human interaction.
But, can you help it? Wouldn’t everyone want to research the specs on a car before making the decision to buy it? Duh. Specs and user reviews, however, can only tell you so much. Test driving the car and evaluating its features as they acquiesce your specific needs is also paramount in making that commitment.
So, since it’s inevitable, I’d like to extend what I believe to be rudimentary, but necessary ground rules to integrate into your social media stalking.
1. SELF CONTROL- Favorite analogy about social media stalking self control is eating Ben & Jerry’s out of the container. Once you open the container, sitting on a couch, armed with a spoon, it can be very difficult to stop eating it. But! One of two things often happen: 1) You eat the whole thing and hate yourself for it 2) You manage to stop yourself, but eat out all the cookie/yummy pieces, so all you have left is sad melted, then refrozen ice cream. Think of this parallel as it relates to someone new’s Facebook profile: super excited to dig in and learn more, but it would be so much more satisfying to have a little bit at a time over the course of a long time.
2. OVERSHARE- Stalking isn’t a one way street. It’s a pretty solid guarantee that the person with whom you’re going on a date had scoped you out, too. That being said, to put your best foot forward is to not be too forward on social media platforms. Discretion and sharing of only tactful, good content is essential to ensuring an image of yourself as a classy, desirable individual. Your social media image should reflect you, but as the best you you can be. Leaving a little something for the imagination only makes getting to know you a more exciting and fulfilling thing for the next potential person.
3. LET NATURE TAKE ITS COURSE- Okay, so things are going well. You’re dating, (maybe even exclusively!) but your hesitations in continually moving forward are stemming from overanalyzing EVERY ACTION ON THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS, (i.e. “Did you just change your profile picture instead of texting me back!?) RELAX! If they’re sticking around and trying to make things work, go with the flow and you’ll find the blissful, relationship happiness that you seek! <3
In today’s hustle and bustle, where do you prefer to meet potential partners? Do you feel social media negatively affects your relationships with potential suitors or friends? Share your success stories and tips with us!