Social media and dating

A friend recently sent me a link to a wonderfully funny and insightful blog post titled Being Single 14406096347_9a3c83b3a0_bin 2013. While I was entertained, the post also caused me to reflect on this whole business of being single.  This is my response to his witty post with a few of my own thoughts sprinkled in…although I’m not nearly as funny.

Calling vs. Texting

My mama beat the words “girls should never call boys” into my skull on a regular basis.  This caused me to spend at least two decades sitting by the phone.  I didn’t leave the house until cell phones were invented.  I respectfully disagree with Mr. McMurran’s statement that women love to text.

Sure, texting is convenient and doesn’t make much noise. It’s helpful while in meetings or if you need quick info that doesn’t require a phone call.  But if you want to get to know me and let me know you are truly interested, pick up the phone and dial!

I went out on a date with a man who doesn’t text.  At all.  Ever.  He’s very proud of it and a bit critical of those of us who are smart phone addicts.  I turned my iPhone on Do Not Disturb and put it in my purse for the duration of the date.  To my surprise, I didn’t suffer any ill-effects from technology withdrawal.

Did this man pick up the phone and call me to ask me out? No!  He sent me a message on Facebook.  So much for eschewing technology.  To his credit, he first mentioned it in person at a group gathering (I call that “testing the waters” or “sending out a trial balloon”).  And while he didn’t ask for my phone number at the time, it’s easily accessible since we belong to the same group.  He had no excuse for not dialing.

He did ask me for my number in that initial Facebook message. Has he called me? No.  But I got another Facebook message relatively promptly post-date. Maybe he was paying attention.

I recently received a phone call from a man I met nearly a year ago but hadn’t heard from in months.  What did he want? He wanted to know if he could call me sometime. That made me scratch my head and look quizzically at my phone.

Frequency of communication

The line between showing affection and stalking is a thin one.  Waking up to a good morning text makes me smile.  Seeing a goodnight text on my phone, or talking to a special someone before going to sleep, will give me very pleasant dreams.

A text every hour for no reason? Not so much.  Especially if he sends a text to follow-up on why I didn’t answer the last text.  Men also get mad if you don’t text back timely – so don’t say women are being sensitive.  Feeling rejected is an equal opportunity emotion.

I’m also confused about when or how often to text, so men aren’t alone in that department.  Bottom line:  if I’m dating someone regularly and exclusively, I expect to hear from them every day.  Why would I put all of my eggs in a basket that only calls me when it wants to play?

I have occasionally broken the “don’t call boys” rule.  But if he’s not calling me on a regular basis, I’m not calling him.  No chasing guys that don’t want to be caught — there are plenty who DO want to be caught.  They jump right out of the water without me having to bait a hook.

Social media

To friend or not to friend, that is the question.   As a public relations practitioner, I understand the metrics associated with social media.  Likes and shares are good things — they show that your audience is engaged (not in the romantic sense), fond of your brand and paying attention. Isn’t that what we want in a potential romantic partner?

If a guy is offended by posts or photos that indicate I’m out with someone else, he needs to remember he would be there (literally, or by asking for a commitment) if he really wanted to protect his territory.  If he doesn’t want me to date other people, he should just say so!

Social media and online dating have made it easier for shy people to date.  People will write an email when they don’t have the guts to call you up.  Recently, a really nice guy emailed me on Facebook to tell me how much he adored me but never had the guts to tell me.  I appreciated the gesture, even though I’m not interested in dating him.

Recognizing this effort took a lot of courage, I thanked him profusely and told him how much I appreciated it and was sincerely flattered.  Right before I told a fib and said I’m in a relationship*. He graciously accepted defeat — and didn’t unfriend me.  I’ve been unfriended by men because I rejected them.  Fine, who needs friends who can’t take no for an answer?

Relationship status

I have a relative who changes her relationship status on Facebook with some regularity.  On any given day she could be engaged, in a complicated relationship, in an open relationship or  married.    I know a guy who announced his divorce by changing his relationship status on Facebook from “Married” to “Separated.”   When I separated from my husband I hid my relationship status on my page.  I eventually changed it to “Single,” but I keep it hidden.  If people want to know, they can ask.*

If I were in a mutually exclusive relationship with someone and he asked me to change my relationship status* to “In a relationship” and make it public so that people would know I’m off-limits, of course I would.  If he wanted to link our pages so that it says, “in a relationship with….” I would do that, too.  But if he doesn’t want to do that, I wouldn’t cry and think he doesn’t love me.

It’s the real connection that counts.  Isn’t that what all this dating stuff is about?

*Since this blog post was written, I’ve entered an exclusive, committed relationship and changed my relationship status on Facebook at the request of my beloved.

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