Social media has changed the rules of communication and dating, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Facebook has made connecting with others much simpler than ever before … or has it? Here are five tips for women navigating life and dating in a Facebook world.
Don’t be offended if a guy makes his first communication with you over Facebook. There is a good chance he doesn’t have your number, and he doesn’t want to creep you out by getting it from someone else. Communicating this way is part of the way we live, and it is a simple method to get in touch with someone. I don’t think conversations should live here long, but I don’t think it is emasculating for a man to initially persue a woman via Facebook. If he is worth your time he will move on to more personal forms of communication soon.
2. Sleep. Don’t creep.
I was very guilty of this before I got married. Especially since most of us have smartphones, an easy thing to do at night before falling asleep is scrolling through the day’s Facebook feed. Then, before you know it, you have “liked” 20 pictures and lost an hour of sleep. It is also a vulnerable time of day to lust over others’ lives and find yourself getting depressed or jealous over new engagement and baby announcements. This is your life — remember that. If you think Molly’s vacation looked fun, instead of feeling resentment and jealousy, ask her about it and maybe plan your own. Facebook is good for some things, but don’t let it consume your life. Get your beauty sleep.
3. Be YOU.
Facebook is an advertisement of you, your life, your character and your priorities. Or it can be an advertisement of who you want to be, the life you wish you had, the character you pretend to possess, and priorities that don’t imitate your own. If you are using Facebook to engage with true friends and to give a true reflection of yourself, make sure your profile and your real life are in step. Don’t say things you wouldn’t say in real life; don’t post pictures you wouldn’t want your parents to see, and don’t create a false you. Let’s be real — Facebook may be the first place interested men go to learn more about you. Do you really want his first introduction to be with someone who isn’t even you? Men like authenticity much more than we think. Be real. Be you. Be the woman God created you to be.
4. Facebook official.
This is a tough one. When you and your boyfriend finally become “official,” the first thing you might want to do is tell the world, and making it Facebook official is an easy way to do that. My opinion is to wait, get settled, see how things go and ease your way into it. There is no rush. Go ahead, call your parents and your girlfriends to tell them the exciting news, but don’t let the Facebook world rush you into making a premature announcement. Because let me tell you from experience, as much fun as it so become Facebook official, it is that much worse to break it off.
Steven and I broke up after a year of dating. The real breakup was hard and painful, but the Facebook breakup was almost worse. I waited and waited for it, and when he finally “ended it” on Facebook, it was like breaking up all over again. All sorts of people sent me messages and commented on my wall, and some people even “liked” the status. Then we got back together six months later. It was a dramatic rollercoaster of events that got a lot of people involved when really it should have been a private matter.
If I could do it over again, this is what I would do: Discuss together when you want to make it official on Facebook. And maybe you don’t want to, and that is fine, too; just make sure you are on the same page. It isn’t a bad idea to wait until you are engaged or at least very serious. If yo do happen to break up, when you know it is really over (because everyone just loves on-again, off-again Facebook couples), end the relationship and be sure to check your settings and make the change in relationship status to stay private. This way it won’t advertise “Brittany is single” all over Facebook.
5. Delete your ex.
This point may get lots of nods, followed by, “But I don’t need to … I just look sometimes … I just like to know how he’s doing.” Hey, you. Yes, you. GO DELETE HIM RIGHT NOW. As strong as I feel about this, I know it cannot be a blanket statement. Maybe you are the rare exception who was able to maintain a healthy relationship with your ex. But everyone else, please heed my advice.
Facebook has its pros and cons, and being able to constantly see inside the life of someone you once loved would definitely be a con. Even if you have moved on to someone else, the emotions will linger even longer if you continue to “just see what he is up to.” This one I know from experience, too, and you are only hurting yourself and your current or future boyfriend by allowing yourself to stay emotionally attached. You may not think it is harmful, but the moment you get upset with your boyfriend and allow yourself to see what “Good-ol’ Billy” is up to, your mind will wander to what-ifs and maybes, and before you know it, you might be leading yourself down a destructive path.
Deleting your ex-boyfriend won’t fix the heartache you still have, but it will help you move on and train your mind not to think about him so often.
What difficulties have you faced in a Facebook-saturated world, either in day-to-day life or in dating? What advice might you have for women trying to navigate this space?