A lot of singles ask me how to use Facebook for dating- some thoughts on the topic.
If the friend of my enemy is my enemy, then is the friend of my date going to be my date? A lot of guys may want it that way. (and some girls too.) What about the Facebook friend of my date? Facebook doesn’t make it easy to keep your dating life on the down low. If you are Facebook friends with your date, then chances are she has her ways of finding out who else you are dating. And that’s a good thing in my book. If you are really trying to two-time your girlfriend with her best friend you should at least have the decency to be stealthy about it.
The public nature of Facebook also makes it complicated to use Facebook for dating. You want to use your social network to find dates, but you also don’t want everyone in your social network to know everything you’re doing.
So a lot of people try to keep their social life and their dating life separate. I have been a dating coach for over a decade. I teach singles how to expand their network to try to get more dates. And I have to say from my experience, on the prospect of keeping your social life and your dating life separate: “How stupid is that?” Sorry if that doesn’t sound very professional. But it gets me all riled up when I see inefficiency. Dating is an inefficient process anyway. Trying to keep your social network and your dating network separate is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
It’s been scientifically proven that your mate is highly likely to be within 2 degrees of separation from you. [I read this in Scientific American] One of the biggest complaints that I hear from singles is that it’s so hard to meet people. So you have to start with who you know and the easiest way to find them, i.e. Facebook.
So I’ll bet (if you’ve been listening and not checking out on my little tirade) that you think I’m saying: Start Poking away! Friend everyone you want to date! Ask your ex-boyfriend to set you up! But you’d be wrong, because I’m a little sneaky that way. ;-)
As I said, dating is inefficient. There are social norms in dating that keep you from being able to be direct. The Poke feature is creepy. And it’s a terrible idea to be Facebook friends with everyone you date. 9 times out of 10 you are never going to want to see your date again after the first date. And it is very rare indeed that a scorned blind date will set you up with the man (or woman) of your dreams.
So how do you use Facebook for dating? Well, let’s just say that you meet someone at the Barnes & Noble and get to chatting but it’s awkward to exchange numbers. It’s easy enough to say: Are you on Facebook? This doesn’t mean that you have to friend them or even find them on Facebook at all but it opens up the conversation. It’s universal lingo for “I want to be social with you” and it’s actually easier than asking for digits because it allows you to reserve judgment as to whether it means friends or dating. You can look them up and see if they are listed as “In a Relationship” and/or if they have 20 photos of chugging beers with the frat boys or eating sushi off of a naked girl. Information is power. Facebook is an information feeding frenzy. You can see who their friends are. And asking a girl if she’s on Facebook may just lead to her giving you her number instead. And you barely had to risk rejection- Facebook took that hit for you. So much easier than my day, where all we had was the bevnap. (I know, I’m dating myself here.)
You can also expand your friend network to increase the pool of who you might encounter- in a post for comments, at a Facebook event your friends join, or on the list of their friends when you are Facebook stalking. (c’mon, everybody does it.) And speaking of which, I have a secret strategy for Matchmaker Café members: if you see someone on Facebook that you want to meet but it is awkward, tell me who it is. I will reach out and invite them join Matchmaker Café, thus finding out if they are single. If they join, I can set you up with them and they are none the wiser. Ya see, I told you I was sneaky like that. ;-)