Ugh. As much I love to Tweet in my daily life, when it comes to dating, social media can be a pain in the ass.
I’m not really talking about meeting people via social media, although I’ve heard of this happening (ending in successes and failures alike). I’m really talking about how our use of social media affects dating and our relationships.
In a nutshell, it causes a lot of drama (in my experience, at least).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when I meet a guy, or start talking to someone, I do like to scope him out online. That might mean a simple Google search, or a check on Facebook, Twitter, and if I’m really feeling nosey, Instagram.
The thing about doing that is, our online image might create a picture that’s not entirely true. Even though a lot of my life is online through this blog, my column, my Twitter and Facebook feeds, it’s still not ALL of who I am.
About a month ago, I went on a date with a guy I met through Ok Cupid. After we exchanged names (online dating sites utilize usernames to protect privacy), he Googled me, and found my blog, which he told me before we met in-person. No big deal.
But when we actually DID meet up, he had done more than Google me — he’d actually Facebook-ed me, read my Twitter feed, and Wiki’d my hometown, to the point he ‘d memorized its population. He knew things I didn’t even know.
“Your actual picture comes up first in Google,” he told me. “Impressive.”
What’s impressive was the size his balls must have been in order to admit that he’d spent a chunk of his life stalking me online. And considering I’ll never talk to him again, it was a complete waste of his time. Although he did purchase my book, so thanks bro.
Aside from the fact that it was a little creepy, I wasn’t sure how to continue a conversation with someone who openly admitted to knowing so much about me. What was left to talk about if he’d already done the research?
My point: if you’re going to stalk, especially in the beginning, keep in mind that more than likely, you’re looking at just a small portion of a person’s life.
That’s why you want to actually go on dates and have real, face-to-face conversations — to get to know them better.
Once a relationship is established, it’s difficult to define exactly how social media can safely play a role in a relationship. Since I’ve been cheated on so many times, I’ve gotten into a bad habit of using social media to see what women my then-boyfriend was talking to. Facebook wall posts were usually proof of flirtation, if not full-blown sex.
It’s not a fun road to travel down.
Looking too closely at a significant others’ social feeds can lead down either path — either you discover something you needed to, or you’re about to pick an unnecessary fight.
I’ve never been one to wish for that whole “relationship status” on Facebook, mainly because I’m built to believe that a breakup is inevitable and then everyone will see the giant “HOLLY PHILLIPS IS NOW SINGLE” post on their feeds. Ugh.
But when I dated my last boyfriend, I was kind of surprised he never wanted our profiles to “link up.” I started to get paranoid when I saw posts on his wall from other women, and asked him about each one. He started hiding posts from me, and when we broke up (via email), he blocked me from Facebook and immediately linked his profile to the girl he’d been cheating on me with, for the entirety of our relationship.
In a way, my gut feeling was right — he was hiding something. But on the other hand, I never wanted to be that kind of girlfriend who was whining about something on Facebook.
Granted, he was (and is) a loser all around.
The final side of social media I want to address, is one that I almost forgot about, until my favorite modern dating guru Patti Stanger, reminded me of it on her website: don’t compare.
If you’re constantly looking online at other people’s feeds, there’s a type of depression that comes with it. People (yep, probably talking to you) do a really superb job of snapping cute selfies when they’re on a date, or mentioning the beautiful five-dozen roses they got #JustBecause, or how blessed they are for actually finding “the one” 10 years ago.
And we’re all happy for the proverbial YOU! We are! But when all I see is rainbows and glitter, sometimes it makes me feel like I’m without — even though I’ve never, ever been in a relationship that compares to anything I’ve seen on Facebook.
So, tell your friends congratulations, give their roses a “like,” and pull yourself away from the feeds for a while. Remember, social media only displays a part of someone’s life; chances are, it’s the part with the sunshine and not the rain.