Date Hacks: Social Media and Dating
Dating expert Charly Lester streamlines your love life with #DateHacks.
Nowadays most of us spend a significant proportion of our lives online. Much of that time is spent on social media. Websites like Facebook and Instagram allow us to project a specific version of ourselves out into the world, either to our friends, or to complete strangers.
However, when it comes to dating, social media can add an extra layer of complication, which you may wish to avoid, for a number of reasons.
When you start dating someone, you gradually let him or her into your life. You select which information to share with that other person, and when; like building up a puzzle, using the best pieces first.
However, if you add a new match as a Facebook friend, you’re allowing them to see a full overview of your life. Think how much information is available about you on social media. Do you want your date to see all that straight away? Wouldn’t you rather tell your date in person about the marathon you ran, or the fancy dress party you went to, instead of him just seeing it on your news feed?
Not the full story
If someone you’re dating adds you on social media, it’s likely you’re going to look at their account. Everyone does it – checking out old photos, looking for mutual friends, and trying to get to know him or her from their timeline.
The more you study someone’s Facebook account, the more you may feel you know him. However, social media only showcases the part of someone’s life that they want to broadcast to friends and acquaintances. Often people only post the best pictures, and the most envy-inspiring statuses. Whilst that’s fine when you know someone in real life, it can be dangerous to try to get to know someone from that information. Facebook can’t replace face-to-face connection, and you run the risk of creating unrealistic expectations, which he or she won’t then live up to.
Did I tell you that?
Google can be a very valuable tool to a dater. If you know your match’s last name, you can use the internet to verify who he is, and double-check basic facts. However, once you go beyond internet searches for safety reasons, a surname can be dangerous in the hands of the wrong dater!
These days there’s a lot of information about us available online. The more information you search out about a match – whether on social media, or via a search engine – the more stuff you will learn about them, that they didn’t tell you. That’s when things get tricky. You want to be hearing stories for the first time, when they come up on a date. Not nodding along, thinking to yourself ‘I already know that’, or worse, bringing up something in conversation which you haven’t yet been told!
Case of the ex
Everyone has a past, and for most of us, that past is documented in photos on social media. By delving around in a potential match’s profile, you’re likely to photos of their ex-partners.
Don’t you want to get to know your date, before you contend with their ex?!
Other new ‘friends’
In the early stages of dating, exclusivity is no longer something you should expect. Until someone has decided who he or she wants to pursue, they may well be dating more than once person.
This can get particularly complicated, if you get into the habit of adding all potential matches as Facebook friends in the early stages of dating. All it takes is a tagged photo, or a misplaced check-in for questions to arise. And dating is complicated enough, without having to see who you’re ‘competing’ against for someone’s attention.
My advice? Leave social media out of the equation, until you know the other person really well. And even then, some of the most successful relationships I know are between couples who have never connected on social media!
Charly Lester is one of Britain’s most recognised dating experts. The founder of the UK Dating Awards, her blog 30 Dates is one of the most successful British dating blogs ever. The former Global Head of Dating at Time Out, Charly’s advice has appeared in most national newspapers, and she regularly appears on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
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