It’s a fact: We live in a digital world.
While many of us have at least some sort of social networking presence—whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or a personal blog—most of us stay connected through our cell phones. While the miracles of technology are many (for one, it allows us to stay in touch with our friends and families long-distance), our phones and Facebook profiles can cause some serious dating drama. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a “Why was she writing that flirty comment on your wall?” or a “Who is that guy who keeps liking all of your pictures?” interrogation, you know this to be true. Our ability to stay constantly connected can be a double-edged sword, and a sharp one at that. We have to ask ourselves: How much of a good thing is too much? When can constant connectivity get you in trouble, and what do singles look for when they scope out potential partners?
For starters, lose the passcode.
According to Match.com’s third annual study on the single population, 77% of women and 53% of men wouldn’t date someone who is secretive about their texts. In fact, women get pretty serious when it comes to digital transparency. 74% of women say they wouldn’t put up with a date that won’t allow them to use his phone (compared to 48% of men). Women are also more likely to pass on someone who passcode locks their phone (42% versus 29% of men). This need for transparency carries over onto Facebook, too, where 58% of women say it’s a no-go if their date has limited their Facebook profile (versus 37% of men). What it comes down to is this: If you don't have something to hide from a date, remove all signs that say you do. Women especially might see this as a red flag or potential deal-breaker. Even if the reason you limited your Facebook profile was to keep your grandmother from posting embarrassing stories in your photo comments.
In the digital age, technological “check ups” have become a litmus test for gauging relationship worthiness, especially among younger singles. While some may not feel this is a fair way to develop trust, it’s a definite reality of our current dating culture. Seriously, did you know that ¾ singles are on Facebook? Almost 2/3 singles (65%) say they don’t post their relationship status on their profile, and one out of four single women admits to using privacy settings to limit pics, posts, or both for the people they date. What’s more, 49% of women say they would cancel their first date because of something they found while checking you out online (compared to only 27% of men).
And these aren’t just empty numbers. Guys: Women do their homework. Nearly half (48%) of single women will research their dates on Facebook before the first date. Even though nearly half (49%) of single men think this is wrong, it doesn’t stop it from happening. Digital “screening” isn’t just limited to a pre-date check-up, either. Facebook plays a major role well into relationships, from checking a partner’s profile to even causing breakups (in fact, 16% of singles in their twenties have admitted that something they saw on Facebook triggered a split).
Some things to keep in mind next time you sign in:
• 55% of men and 36% of women have broken up due to a date’s pictures.
• 48% of women and 42% of men have ended a relationship due to a wall post on someone else’s wall.
• 21% of men have cut ties due to a date’s status updates.
• 27% of women backed off because of whom their date was adding as friends.
• 10% of singles say they would find the person they were dating more attractive if they knew their date didn’t have a Facebook profile.
Though Match.com’s study also tells us that it’s the youngest group of singles (twenties) that are most likely to check up on a partner’s Facebook profile, texts, and emails—it’s pretty obvious that your digital presence can speak volumes even before you actually go on your date. So what’s the moral to this story? Watch what you put online and save yourself from the speculation. When you enter the digital dating jungle, remember: Pass on the passcode and put your best Face(book) forward.
Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach