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
I 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? :D .. 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. :D 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! :D 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!!! :D
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.
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. :D
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? :D 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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