Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why You Should Facebook the Guy You Just Met


There is an opinion piece on Black and Married With Kids today about whether you should Facebook a guy you've just recently met. The writer suggests that you should never Facebook on a first date. My response? You absolutely should.

Now, my opinion on this topic comes from personal experience. I've learned the hard way that men--when they're interested in a new woman--aren't always totally honest about their current relationship status. Just recently I met a man who told me that he was single. I believed him--that is, until we became Facebook friends. That's when I saw that his page listed him as "in a relationship" and that he'd posted a photo of himself with his girlfriend.

When I asked him about this, he told me it was a "new" relationship, which made absolutely no difference to me because the end result was the same: He had a girlfriend. We had a date scheduled for the very day that I found this information on Facebook, so it really came just in the nick of time. I immediately canceled the date and informed him that his Facebook page had told on him.

But that's the beauty of Facebook--many people mindlessly post their relationship statuses without giving much thought to how this could affect them in the future. So for the man who is trying to be slick and meet women outside of his relationship or marriage, Facebook can serve as a warning to women to stay far, far away.

And for that, I am truly grateful.

You see, it's hard enough being a single woman and having to weed out the crazies, the jerks, the guys who are just trying to get in your pants. So I'm thankful for any resource that gives me the pertinent information--such as true relationship status--with the click of a mouse.

As for the BMWK writer's concern that Facebook provides too much information for potential dates, the answer is simple: Use Facebook privacy settings. You have total control over how much information people see on your page. Your closest friends might be able to see all of your photos, wall posts, status updates and links, for example, but you can restrict people you don't know that well so that they can't see your wall posts or status updates or even your photos.

And as for tagging a guy you've just met--as the BMWK writer did--in a photo? I'd advise against it. I recently could've done the same--after a birthday party where I met a new guy who I dubbed my Prince Charming for the evening--but I did not tag him in the many photos in which he was captured in the album of 60-plus pictures that I posted on Facebook afterwards. Why? Because I simply don't know him like that. He's aware of the album and can tag himself if he'd like, but I'm not going to do it for him.

While I believe in being Facebook friends with new guys (though I reserve the right to delete them later if things don't work out), I won't send the guy a friend request unless Facebook comes up during conversation and he tells me he has a page. That doesn't mean I won't do a quick search beforehand to see if I can find his page on my own--because some people leave their pages public and you can see their information without having to friend them. But he doesn't have to know that I've searched for him.

Still, not everyone lists a relationship status on Facebook. And in that case, you're just going to have to rely on good, old womanly instincts (and FabFem's list of 7 Ways to Tell if a Man is Married, Engaged or Otherwise Taken).

[For more on the dilemma Facebook poses for budding relationships, please read yesterday's post by Guest Blogger Nina Lovehall.]

TALK BACK:  Do you "friend" people you're dating on Facebook? Why or why not?

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for reading! I enjoy the work you do on your site.

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  2. Facebook is a rather large circle of friends and my total is currently approaching 400. In the past I've friended guys I'm dating early on and regretted it. It's tempting to post flirty things on each other's pages, and then if it doesn't work out (my guys are usually gone within a month), and I unfriend him, then some of my Facebook friends might ask 'how's that cute guy you were seeing?' I might check to see if a guy has a public page to gather some intel, but from now on I won't actually friend dates until I know he's going to be around for more than a minute.

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  3. Cherie, that's a good point, and something I didn't get into in this blog. But I *never* get into cutesey exchanges with these guys because I just don't know them like that. I usually don't comment on their pages at all and they usually don't comment on mine unless things are getting more serious. I believe in friending for informational purposes only -- but I don't use it as a tool to communicate. That's what the phone is for!

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  4. I wish I had that "I don't know you like that yet" filter. It seems to come in handy for a lot of people...Just another 'single gal' skill I'll have to develop... Thus far, I've pretty much been at 2 settings: open and closed. So unless I was ready to introduce a guy to my friends and to have him be free to say whatever might come naturally on my page, I was not ready to make him my friend on Facebook.

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