The Role of Social Media in Online Dating

 

I just had a little ‘incident’ this morning and feel compelled to write about it to caution all women, and educate men.  It goes without saying that I don’t feel like I should have to educate anyone, but the fact is that some people just don’t get it.

Some of you may know that I not only write this blog, but I have a social media business.  That means I spend hours on social media each and every day.  As an online marketer, I connect with many people in the course of a month.  Business cannot be created without the right connections.  Many people connect with me because I am a social media marketer.  I know this going in.  While I absolutely love making connections with people who are sincere in their intentions, on occasion I run across a slimeball.  Yes, a slimeball – you read that right.

Please allow me to explain why I use such a harsh word.

In life, we naturally want to connect with people.  Many of us want to find someone to date, have a relationship with and even marry.  While dating sites may be frustrating for some, they are the appropriate place to show interest in someone you are interested in dating.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media platform are not.  While relationships may be built and grow into something else through social media platforms, one should never connect with someone on a social media platform with the intention of immediately messaging them with the intention of meeting them.

What NOT to do: Facebook Communication

His next line was “We should get to know each other.” To Which I responded, “Isn’t that what Facebook is all about?”  The whole way communication was started with no regard or respect for me.  He wanted to “get to know me” based on what?  A photo or two? I have no idea who this guy is.

Since I am online for my business, when I connect with someone on social platforms, my intention is the connection, not a date.  If someone immediately starts hitting on me or states they want to get to know me, they are disrespecting my workspace and disrespecting me as a woman.

First, if we just connected, you know nothing about me except what you read on that particular social platform.  This leads me to believe that you only want to know me based on the photos you see and not the content between my ears.  This annoys me to no end and I find it totally disrespectful and degrading to me as a human being.  I am a person, not to be objectified by male inappropriateness.  Unless you really take the time to know me before expressing interest, you will get shot down.  I don’t miss.  I go for the jugular.

You see, dating after 40 has some huge advantages to dating in our younger years.  First, we have heard all the BS and are not having any of that.  Second, if you think we don’t know your game, you are fooling no one but yourself.  Third, we have already established we do not NEED a man but merely WANT one.  That means you have to prove you are worthy of our trust and affection.

So, ladies, when a man friends you on Facebook, shows you some attention be VERY cautious.  Check out his profile.  Are most of his connections women?  If so, he is more than likely saying the same thing to many women hoping one lets her guard down.  Please be smart and don’t be that one.  Plus, you do not want to end of one of the many women in his life when he is insisting you are the only one.

There are many stories about women being wooed online by someone in a far off place, they come to town, disappear for periods of time.  Later the woman is left broke and alone, her life savings stolen by this “wonderful” guy she met online.  There are men who prey on women for money, sex, and other things,  Some are scam artists, and some have families in another state.  They create online personas to find their next victim.  Don’t be that person.  Be cautious!

This man’s profile says he is from Idaho.  I live on the East Coast.  In order for us to get to know each other one would need to travel.  A predator will want to either get you in his territory, where you are unfamiliar, or come to you if he is trying to hide a life he does not want you to know about.  Now, I am not saying that was this guy’s intention but is sure was creepy he way it played out.  Out of 116 friends, only 4 are men.  Not only that we have 7 common friends, all of which are networking friends on the East Coast, where he does NOT live.  It is obvious to me that he went through my friends’ lists and selected random women to connect with on Facebook.

I am absolutely NOT saying this man is any of these things, but there are many other concerns women need to be aware of when approached randomly like this.  There are rapists, child molesters and a variety of other deviant personality types on social media who target and prey on women and children.  Sadly, it has to be something we consider when a connection just feels off for some reason.

Now, men, this is not to say you cannot meet someone and get to know her on social media.  I am just saying be smart and be respectful.  Most women do understand that men are visual creatures, but that does not mean we want to feel like a piece of meat.  If you are interested in someone you connect with online, first make sure your intentions are honorable.  No woman deserves less than that.  Take the time to get to know her on her social media account.  Interact with her honestly and respectfully.  Take the time to learn about her interests, likes and dislikes.  In doing this, you will know if you really do want to know her better, and she will know if she wants to know you.

Allow the relationship to progress naturally.  Don’t force it. Forcing something before it is ready to show up may not allow it to show up at all. And please, above all, do not invade her online space by commenting on every post.  That tends to be creepy and makes you seem like a stalker.   Use good judgment and be smart about your communication.

Social media is NOT a dating site.  While we may find our true love on social media, the approach MUST be different than on a dating site or it is creepy and invasive.  Although I have used gender roles above, I do understand that gender roles can be reversed in these situations, also.  So the application goes both directions.  Since I am female and I write about my experiences, I do write from a female perspective.

DO connect, but be smart in communication and be cautious when meeting. If you choose to meet someone in person you meet on social media, I would consider doing a background check if ANYTHING seems off.  It is better to be cautious and alive than the alternative.  On a side note, I do want to say that most people online are legitimate and their intentions are true.  This article is about the ones who are questionable.

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Single, Divorced, or Other

  One of the mistakes people make with their online dating profile is they do not properly classify themselves. You may ask what the big deal is if you are not attached and honestly looking for someone.  Again, I must revisit the honesty aspect of dating.  You need to be totally honest if you are to find someone who is right for you.  If a prospective date feels you are not being totally honest, you will either lose their interest or their respect.  If someone is looking to have a long term relationship, this is one area that you cannot compromise in your search.  While all of this should go without saying, we have all seen our share is information on profiles that is either not true, embellished, or downright fabricated.

SINGLE

You are only single if you have NEVER been married.  Period.  There is no discussion or “but if’s” that should be taking place here.  Single is single.  There are many reasons this may be important to others who view your profile.  One reason is that some people, for religious reasons, are not comfortable dating someone who has been divorced.  This may be hugely important to them!  Another reason this may be important to someone is if someone has children, they will more than likely be looking for someone who fits into their children’s life also.  They will consider maturity level and lifestyle, and never being married does come into play many times.  One last reason I want to address here for a single status being of importance is that if you are over a certain age (for example 40, just for my example’s purpose) and you have never been married, there are certain things that a potential date will be considering:  1) What is wrong with this person? 2) Does this person have a commitment problem?  3) Is he a womanizer? or 4) What other issues are going on with this person that prevent them from having been married by this age?  While some of this thought process may not seem fair, there are very valid reasons to think about each of these questions.

Do not mistake me here, there are many, many wonderful people out there who are single and have never been married for a multitude of reason, including they just haven’t found the right one yet.  However, I am suggesting that for some, there is a lot more to it than that.  So if you find someone who has never been married and is over 40, dig deep to find out everything you can.  This does NOT suggest there is anything wrong with them – they may just not have found YOU yet!  I am only saying to tread with caution!

DIVORCED

Again, divorced is divorced!!  PERIOD.  This also should be a no-brainer, but for some it is a whole discussion.  Divorced means you have gone through the whole time period of a legal separation, as required by your state, and been granted a divorce by the state.  Divorced never, ever means you are separated.  IF YOU ARE SEPARATED, YOU ARE NOT DIVORCED – no question about it!  On almost every dating site, there is a category for separated – use it!  While some may think this is no big deal because they WILL BE divorced, it is a HUGE deal to others who are looking and sincerely want to find that right one and get married.  Separated means you are not available to get married, maybe not for a very long time.  You should not be misleading someone who really wants that in their life.  It is just not right to lead someone into a relationship that cannot be what they are looking for.  Some may argue that if the two parties have a great relationship then there is nothing wrong with it.  I disagree.  While you may have a great relationship with each other, you are still preventing that person from living out their life hopes and dreams of marriage, or you are asking them to wait until you are available.  If you are willing to be this unfair to someone now, how do you expect them to think this would ever change?  There is just nothing right about lying about your real availability when dating.  It hurt others and breaks hearts, and there is no acceptable excuse for it.

OTHER

Another kind of man (or women) we find is the one who is already in a relationship, but not married.  Yes, unfortunately, they are out there trolling the dating sites.  They will act in a similar manner to the married men.  They will be secretive about where they live, come to your neighborhood for a date (of course, they will say if is for your convenience), they may avoid phone calls while on the date, but they will always be charming.  They are trying to woo you into being their side thing.  If you are seeing any red flags, or even question marks along the way, get their last name and google them.  Check out Facebook tagged pictures (many are public).  There are so many things you can find out online without paying for a background check.  Property searches are public records – I once found out a man was married by the property search (the document included his wife’s name).  Be diligent if you are serious about marriage in your future.  There are many fabrications on dating profiles.  Unfortunately, it is a buyer beware marketplace.

There are great people to meet online, but you need to be smart about it!  Do not give up hope if you run into these characters, for you surely will.  Just know that for each of these characters, there are also well-meaning wonderful men online.  Enjoy those you meet and appreciate the experience.  As we get older, the gems are harder to find, but keep looking – he is out there.  He may find you if you keep the right attitude about your search and enjoy the moments instead of being discouraged.  Seriously, have fun with it!  Life is an adventure – enjoy the ride!