Facebook: Should You Add Someone You’re Dating?

Reader “Katie” asked me when I felt people who have just started dating should add each other on Facebook.

This is a very interesting question, and potentially complicated.

It depends both on how people utilize Facebook and how they date.

We’re Not Friends

Bill CammackI completely believe that men and women can be friends. I have lots of female friends. That doesn’t mean I’m not messing with or hooking up with any of them. It means that I like them as people and would spend time with them whether we were gettin’ it in or not.

Having said that.. For the most part, guys and gals that begin dating each other aren’t friends at all. They both want something from each other. It’s a dual-parasitic relationship, not two people working towards a common goal and focusing on togetherness.

This becomes obvious when one or both people no longer get what they want from the other one. Next thing you know, they never speak to each other again. That’s because their physical, sexual, sensual, romantic or whatever you want to call it interaction or attraction was the only glue that held their so-called “relationship” together. As soon as one ceases to derive their desired utility from the other one, that’s all she wrote.

If this is the way you date, you most definitely shouldn’t add people you interact with on Facebook. It’s only going to lead to a bunch of unfriending, which isn’t a good look at all.

Who Do You Add?

I was at a party one time that was thrown by a friend, and at some point, I met this gal and her boss and we were discussing social media & whatnot. This went on for about 20 minutes, and the boss walks away to get another round or talk to someone else. I say to this chick “Are you on Facebook?”… She replies “Yes, but I only add people that I know, IRL (meaning: in real life)”.

So I’m just standing there, looking at her.

She’s standing there like she just said something that makes sense.

I’m looking at her, not saying anything, thinking “You really are stupid aren’t you? πŸ˜€ .. We’re IRL RIGHT. NOW., you idiot. Either say you’re on FB and don’t want to add me… or add me”.

Another time, I met this gal, kicked it with her for a good amount of time at a party, and then when the FB question came up, she goes “You can ‘like’ my fan page! :D”, when I already had like 35 mutual friends with her actual Facebook account. GEEEEEEEEEEEET THE **** OUTTA HERE!!! >:D

More recently, I was introduced to this chick by a good friend of mine. When the question came up, the produced a business card that indicated that she was some kind of entertainer and had her FB fan page on it and other types of GO JOCK ME information. Unfortunately, I don’t carry a lighter with me, or else I would have set it on fire in front of her face. πŸ˜€ Do I look like a booking agent? Do I look like a talent scout? Did someone tell you I was looking to hire actresses or comedians?

Of course, I have my own FB fan page, but you’ll notice that I have 135 fans and 121 of them are friends of mine. Meanwhile… I have 2626 Facebook Friends on my actual page. I meet people all the time, and usually go +4 to +7 on Facebook just about any time I attend an event, party or get-together.

I don’t add people so they can sweat me or so my fan page can look like I have a lot of followers. :/ I add them because I’m interested in knowing whatever they want me to know, which is whatever they post to their social media streams. This is why it’s the big **** YOU!!! when people you meet in person go “You can become a fan of mine! :D”. They’re telling you to your face that they want the credit of your following them, but they don’t give a flying **** about anything that YOU post to the net.

No Thanks. Ain’t That Type-a Party. >:D

What Do You Share?

So.. Depending on how you view people you’re dating, you’re going to consider them friends, or you’re not. On Facebook, you’re either going to add everybody, add people that you’ve actually met, or add people that you feel like you’re going to be friends with going forward.

These are going to be the main two factors which determine whether you add a “love interest” as one of your FB friends. A third factor, however, is what you actually SHARE on Facebook.

Some people, every time you turn around, there are another 100 pictures of them from last weekend. It’s like they use still cameras as if they’re video cameras. There’s like one picture from just about every single minute since the last time you checked their profile. You know who they hung out with, where they went, what they did, what they drank, who they messed with, whose house they ended up at when the night was over…

Other people keep it tight, posting comments about social media or charities or business. They don’t actually reveal ANYTHING about their personal lives on Facebook, which means that a) there’s no reason for them to add you, because you’re not going to get anything out of reading their stream, and b) there’s no reason for them NOT to add you, because you can’t find anything out about them that might cause you to not date them.

I believe that this is where the opinions diverge, as far as adding people you’re dating as Facebook friends. You’re either from the school of “They’re going to find out, anyway, so I want them to know what my steeze is ASAP”, or the school of “I hope they don’t find out who I know and what I do and ‘judge me’ before getting to know me as a person”.

Hit The Bricks / Kick Rocks

I personally try to keep my online presence as congruent with my IRL demeanor & presentation as possible.

This is because, ultimately, what we do online is vet people to determine whether we’d hang out with them in person. I’ve met lots of people that are playing a character when they’re online. It doesn’t generally work well for them, because when people meet them IRL, they’re expecting to be this person that only exists when they’re filming themselves with their own cameras and reciting lines from their own scripts.

I’m not having fun if I’m not being myself. Being Me is LOTS of fun! >:D If people can’t stand what I write or what I post to the internet, they’re SURELY not going to be able to hang out with me IRL, because we get right down to the nitty gritty and the real deal when we’re debating relationships live, over brews.

I’m not interested in spending time with people that aren’t willing to get down & dirty. Those people can change the channel. Hit the bricks. Kick rocks. Take a long walk on a short plank. Don’t let the door hit’cha where the Good Lord split’cha.

So, I’m on the “Add Everybody ASAP” side of things. If I meet a gal that I’d like to mess with, I’m going to offer her a Friends Request. If I meet a gal that I WOULDN’T like to mess with, but she’s cool or intelligent or whatever, and I’d like to keep up with her social media offerings, I’m going to offer her a Friends Request. If I meet a gal and think she’s a JERK, I’m not going to say anything to her at all……………. unless, of course, she’s *FOYINE*!!! >:D

Then again, I can afford to do that.. Not only because I already have a couple thousand Facebook friends, so what difference does it make if some chick sees how I conduct myself online and unfriends me, but because that’s how I feel people build strong, authentic communities. Whomever doesn’t want to be around can bounce. That leaves only the people that want to interact with you, which is what you were striving for to begin with.

So I say that if people are planning to date each other, they should friend each other on Facebook, immediately. Get the information out in the open and if they still want to kick it with you, great. If they don’t, great.

Bait & Switch

The other school of thought says that people that start dating should NOT friend each other on Facebook.

The overall gist seems to be that the goal is to avoid being ‘judged’ by someone before they get to know you 1-on-1.

I get that, and I appreciate what they’re trying to do… Unfortunately, the truth is going to become evident sooner or later. If you like to drink your ass off and hang out until 3am with your friends, hiding that fact until someone becomes interested in you only sets you up for an argument. If you know 200 chicks and every time you go to a party, you spend the entire time glad-handing and socializing with people OTHER than your date, hiding that only sets you up for an argument.

OTOH.. If you just learned how to dress this month, and you look like a Herb in all the rest of your FB pictures, it might be in your best interests to hide that because it’s no longer representative of who you are now and what you’re bringing to the table.

If you have random chicks that you know leaving posts on your FB wall, talkin’ ’bout “When are we going to hang out again??? :D”, that’s a part of your current life, and I feel that hiding that is fraudulent. If you’re playing that “lonely guy” role, acting like you’re looking for one gal to make your life interesting, and selling that dream to every woman you meet, sucks to be you if you get busted.

If you’re the type of person that switches significant others every few months, and even likes to go so far as getting engaged and unengaged to them whenever you feel like it, your best bet is untagging yourself in those pictures and hoping your new chick never finds out. This is still underhanded, but unless she’s friends with friends of yours, she never would have received that intel anyway.

If you’re the type of person that plays a character online that’s completely different from who you are IRL, you might want to hide your FB profile from potential love interests. If they’re not able to discern the difference between your dual personas, or if they’re not able to understand WHY you would want to represent yourself as someone different under different circumstances, this is going to weigh against you and seriously undermine your rap.

Updates & Deletion

If you elect to add someone you’re dating as a friend on FB, you have to be concerned about relationship status updates. Some people take those very seriously, and playing it the wrong way can have detrimental effects on your situation.

If you’re all hugged up with someone, calling them GF/BF/whatever, and then they check your FB page and you’re listed as “single”?… No Good! πŸ˜€ You’re going to either hear it or feel it… actually, NOT feel it, Nah Meen? >:D

Same thing if y’all haven’t officially declared anything. If the other person receives a message that you’ve indicated that you’re in a relationship with them, you might be in for a rude awakening when they decline your notification. Even if they ignore it, that’s going to lead to one of those “Where is this relationship going?” conversations that nobody likes to have.

Same thing if your page indicates that you’re attending a party that your SO wasn’t invited to.. especially if you don’t send them an invite to go with you. haha TROUB-BLEEEE!!! πŸ˜€

Same thing if you show up tagged in pictures from when you were partying the night before, but you told your SO you were staying home sick or going to sleep early, hehe BUSTED!!! >:D

So you have to think about whether you actually want someone you’re dating to have access to your whereabouts and activities. That doesn’t just include Facebook, but also Location-Based Services like FourSquare or even Twitter, where your business MIGHT COULD end up in the street or even become a trending topic! o_O

Another consideration is how you interact with people (or not) once the romantic segment of your relationship is over.

If you know that once you break up, you’re going to delete all traces of this person from your Facebook profile, you might not want to add them at all until you’re pretty confident y’all are going to stay together for a good amount of time.

If you can still be cordial to somebody, even though y’all aren’t messing anymore and they’re hooking up with someone that you know and most likely met solely because YOU introduced them to your social set, then, by all means, add them on FB and stay in contact with them so their relationship updates can populate your “Top News” stream.

The Question

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your style.

If you think you have a better chance of getting a rap by hiding your online presence from someone, good luck with that. πŸ˜€

If you know that you’re not friends with people you date to begin with, it doesn’t make sense to add them so you have to keep repeating the Dump & Erase cycle.

If you’re cool with people that are cool with you, regardless of what stage your ‘relationship’ is currently in, I say add people ASAP to Facebook and any other social media sites you share in common. Let them decide whether they like you as a person or not and then select your dates from a pool that’s already interested in you instead of trying your luck with randoms.

If you feel your Facebook presence is wack, well, that means you need to step up your game, now, doesn’t it? πŸ˜€ If you don’t have anything interesting to say, stay shut. If you’re not saying things about yourself that put you in a good light, STFU. If you feel like your online presence is hindering you from getting raps IRL, what’s the point of maintaining that presence at all? o_O

If you elect to utilize the Bait & Switch method, how does that conversation go when you’re explaining to them what you were hiding, why you were hiding it, and why you’re telling them about it now?

What would you do if you met someone new, had a great time getting to know them that day, and when you were parting company, they say “So… Are you on Facebook?”

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13 thoughts on “Facebook: Should You Add Someone You’re Dating?”

  1. So the whole point of this post is about authenticity. I might not put all my business in the street but I am authentic.

    Regarding “you can like me on Facebook”, yeah meh. That’s about the same as people outright asking you to follow them on Twitter but never follow you back. I don’t see the point.

    I use Facebook differently that you do and wouldn’t offer to friend someone there first. I’d offer Twitter or LinkedIn before Facebook. But if it’s someone I’m dating I probably wouldn’t mind Facebook. I’m from the “there’s really nothing there to use against me” camp. If some dude gets upset about old pics of an ex, wants me to add a relationship status or tries to friend all my relatives and former coworkers, then I will have learned something about him and his IRL demeanor. There’s something to be gained on both sides.

    1. Hey Kenya πŸ˜€

      The first point of the post is authenticity. The second point is *WHEN* you elect to offer authenticity.

      I say offer as much of it as will give a good perspective of who you are as a person, without getting into the TMI categories that people don’t REALLY need to know about.

      For instance.. If you’re a popular person, you want someone you’re starting to date to understand that. OTOH, you don’t need to explain to them every single relationship you have, how you met that person, whether you’re messing, etc.

      I’m not saying to open the books 100 percent. I’m just about positive that I’ve NEVER done that in ANY relationship I’ve had, friendship or otherwise. I’m saying that if there’s information that you make available to the general public, by way of your social media offerings, it doesn’t make sense to exclude one person from that, ESPECIALLY if you’re supposed to be trying to build something romantic with that person.

      Hiding who you portray yourself as until they’re sweating you and then jumping out and screaming “GOTCHA!!! >:D” is wack. :/

      I don’t personally use Twitter at all. Too much noise, not enough signal. I don’t have time in my day to deal with the randomness of reading people’s comments, following their links, chiming in on their discussions about nothing important to me… I focus on Facebook, because that’s where I get good, insightful, focused commentary on topics that I start or topics that I join voluntarily because I’m interested in them.

      Being a content creator, I have to have time to think up, craft and output content. The rest of my social media time is going to be spent checking for focused threads and popping in to Twitter once every 4-6 hours to check my @replies.

      If someone doesn’t say something to me directly on Twitter, I don’t see it.

      I wouldn’t offer linkedin because I’m not trying to do business with everyone I meet. My “Rolodex” would be useless if I had 2,600 Linkedin contacts instead of 2,600 Facebook friends.

      Also, when I’m socializing, I’m trying to meet new people to socialize with. I’m not networking. I want to know what they like to do. I want them to know what I like to do. When overlaps occur, it’s ON and POPPIN! >:D

      I’m also from the “There’s nothing to use against me” camp. My online presence mirrors my IRL demeanor, except for the fact that I actually curse instead of blocking words with ***** πŸ˜€ Watching my social media stream is a version of spending time with me, except only like 1% of it. Reading my blog, you get the information that I pass out to the general public, but you don’t get the nitty gritty that we kick when we sit down over brews and get REAL with each other.

      There are a lot of people, however, who AKK THA FOO in social media and then they want to be taken seriously when they meet people IRL. All I can say to those people is “Good Luck with that! ;)”.

      1. >>There are a lot of people, however, who AKK THA FOO in social media and then they want to be taken seriously when they meet people IRL. All I can say to those people is β€œGood Luck with that! ;)”.

        Seriously.

  2. I only have a few hundred “friends” on Facebook because I only “friend” people that I’m already friends with, or ones I sense I will get to know better/am getting to know. Because I keep the circle close, I feel more comfortable putting up statii like “I’m so excited about my date tonite!” or alternately “Boy that was a boring date.” Since I talk about my life, I don’t really feel it’s proper for people I might be dating to potentially see minutae about other people I’m dating that aren’t them. And same goes for me, I don’t need to see about their dates. I assume that unless we’re exclusive, we’re both dating other people, and it’s just good etiquette to not shove it in someone’s face.
    Now, if the person I’m dating is like you and “friends” everyone they meet, then a little status like mine is going to get lost in the flood, and doesn’t matter. But, I just think it’s good manners to not involve someone in Facebook circles until it’s more “serious.”

    1. So interesting, Charlene.. And a completely different perspective… πŸ˜€

      The tradeoff is that I don’t get to make personal statements like the examples you give. My presence is more of a public dissemination location, not somewhere that I kick “tha real” with people that are close to me, know how I operate, and understand completely what I’m saying.

      I decided more than a year ago that when the next big thing rolls around, I’m going to have a private account and a public account. I’ve experienced the difference between having 200 and 3,000 followers on Twitter and having ZERO and 2,600 “friends” on Facebook. There’s a crossover point where the site or service changes from personal expression to friends to public announcements.

      Same thing with Location-Based Services like Foursquare and Gowalla. In the beginning, they worked they way they were supposed to. At some point, it became trendy to follow people on LBS, so now, I have two more broadcast stations that I can’t use in the way I originally did, because they don’t have privacy settings that allow you to group your contacts and only send updates to certain people that you might like to come see you when you’re chillin’ somewhere.

      So.. If I used Facebook the way you do, I wouldn’t add women that I’m starting to date, because it ain’t that type-a party.

      If I got to know them and then counted them amongst my friends.. people I wanted to have insight into my life and experiences that goes beyond what I make available to the public, then I would definitely add them on FB.

      As far as comments getting lost in the flood, I can’t count on that. I’ve painted myself into the public corner with the way I’ve decided to promote my online presence. I have to assume that random people, romantic interests and business associates are going to have access to anything I say.

      So, the way I’ve set things up, I can’t type “Charlene was looking GOOD today! >:D”, even though that might have been what I was thinking. My personal expression is being suppressed for the sake of my general presentation, which is why I’ll be splitting accounts, going forward.

  3. I’m with Charlene on this one, I think its best to hold off until you are more serious. It’s best to get to know someone IRL first instead of someone judging you on a few late night unflattering pictures taken by your friends!Plus you can avoid the whole ‘in a relationship’ issue for awhile!!

  4. I don’t like to add people I’m dating to FB or Twitter but sometimes it’s unavoidable. It’s hard to have a DJ name for so long and be “ungoogle-able”. How I avoid this being a problem is that I’m like you in the sense that I usually talk about my mixtapes or crack jokes. I was on Twitter before Facebook and I do most of my networking there. I only joined Facebook because of family but I found I became very choosy about who I want to add there. My family can be nuts and although I’m sure I’m not adopted, I don’t want a potential mate to see that before necessary.

    There have been times when this has become a sticky situation. I tend to “dump and mute” because out of sight out of mind and the guy doesn’t think I have hard feelings about dumping him. Once I had to delete a guy although I was still dating him: he freaked out over a picture of me kissing my brother (he didn’t take the time to read the caption) and I realized he had too much access and not enough sense.

    If I got serious with someone, that person would have to be understanding of my male friends and be able to cope with my jokes. Single is fun because right now?..no questions on my social media activities lol

    1. I’m going to have to write a follow-up to this post because of all the interesting comments like yours that I’ve been getting to read, DJ Diva.

      To me, it’s just common sense to be social media friends with chicks I’m hooking up with because… I meet chicks *THROUGH* social media! πŸ˜›

      If I don’t meet women online, I meet them THROUGH women I know online. I meet them at parties that I found out about online. I saw them in pictures with my friends online.

      On top of that, I’m sometimes a very social person. How in the world would I be dating some chick and somehow exclude her from all of my social engagements? πŸ˜›

      Having said all that, the VAST MAJORITY of people have responded negatively to the concept of having someone they’re dating able to see their social media interactions.

      In the case of the picture with your brother, I totally get that, but unfortunately, that’s the result of dude’s insecurity and ridiculousness, not the fault of social media! πŸ˜€

  5. Bill, I thought this was going to be a good read. That is, until I got to the “Who do you add” topic. You sound bitter! Chatting with a person for 20 minutes does not equate to knowing them so why SHOULD they want to add you to their facebook page? Sounds to me like you’re the one with the hang-ups!

    1. 20 minutes was a generous statement.

      Women know off the bat if they want to give you some. It doesn’t take you 20 minutes to figure out whether you want to ever have contact with gal, and you probably wanted to hit it before you approached her in the first place.

      Having said that.. I got into a similar conversation with reader “Steve”, and what I’m talking about only applies to people with dynamic lives. People with static lives, where pretty much nothing interesting ever happens, don’t have to worry about how quickly they get to know someone new.

  6. Sorry hit enter before I wrote the rest =D Dude you have more of a handle on the social media thing than anyone I have ever read. There’s like 4 PhD’s worth of content alone in this one blog post………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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