Managing Your Facebook Footprint

You are an amazing human being armed with class, intelligence, good looks, and a heart of gold - but if you aren't representing yourself that way online, you may be doing your dating life a disservice. By now it should come as no secret that prospective employers look for information about you online. The same goes for prospective dates (and the myriad of people you are connected with that could be fixing you up on dates)! Think of your social media activity as the potential reputation/'feeling' someone will gather about you, and conduct yourself accordingly.

Even if you are not much of a social media person, it is likely that the one social media account you have is a Facebook profile. Here are some online behaviors you should avoid in order to clean up your Facebook presence and make yourself more attractive to others!

1. Posting negative or "passive-aggressive" statuses.

How would you feel about someone who complained or ranted on a date? You probably wouldn't find their personality very attractive, and you wouldn't want to be part of all the drama in their life. Posting negative statuses on Facebook gives people the impression that you are a negative person in general; furthermore, over-sharing the uglier details of your life and/or airing your disagreements with others comes off as tacky. So next time you have angry words to say to someone, consider contacting that person privately instead of letting off steam to the rest of the world. If you absolutely feel the need to share about a situation in your life that is less than ideal, think of the most positive, mature, and healthy mindset one could have about the situation - and only speak of it that way! (This applies to political and religious opinions as well).

Example:

Yes: "Thankful for the great friends and family who have been so encouraging throughout the process of starting my own business!"

No: "Happy that I've finally made some progress on my business plan. To those of you who doubt/doubted me, happy that you're hating from behind your computer screens while I actually go out and make things happen...you know who you are...#getalife"

Passive aggressive comments should also be kept to oneself. 

Don't post this:

"I wish if people had something to tell me, they'd say it to my face instead of behind my back."

Conclusion:  It makes you look bitter at best, and weak at worst.  Don't.do.it.

2. Engaging in "comment wars."

Inevitably, there will be that person on your newsfeed who posts something provocative or controversial, and the heated comments will start piling up - resist the urge to join in! You will have plenty of opportunities to share your opinions in person on dates, but if you lower yourself to the level of squabbling online via lengthy, vicious paragraphs, you may never even get to go on those dates. Think of engaging in comment wars as akin to having a shouting match with someone in public. It just makes everyone else feel awkward.

3. Having photos that you would feel uncomfortable letting your boss see.

This is a tricky one because different people may have different standards they should adhere to. Think of it this way - there is a difference between what is appropriate for someone running for president to say in public, and what the infamous rapper Kanye West can get away with saying. You should approach uploading photos with that same honest self-awareness. You may not be showcasing yourself in your most attractive light by uploading a profile picture of a "mirror selfie" you took showing off your beach body in the bathroom - unless your career as a fitness model is flourishing, and your agent encourages this type of self-promotion via social media. Different photos work for different people, but a rule of thumb is that if you have to question the appropriateness of the photo, just play it safe and refrain from posting.


4. Constantly updating your relationship status.

This applies to more than just the changing of the status itself. Think about this situation: One month you're mass-uploading photos of yourself with someone, accompanied by profusely sentimental captions declaring your undying love. Now three weeks later the photos have been replaced with angry statuses pronouncing how disappointed you are in your failed relationship. Fast-forward another two weeks, and you are once again mass-uploading happy couple photos again - but this time with a different person. Perhaps you're really a great catch, and you've just had a string of bad luck when it comes to finding people who treat you right. However, showcasing the fact that you jump from relationship to relationship with none of them lasting long can make you appear dramatic. People will wonder if there is some flaw in you that prevents your relationships from working out, and your sincerity may be doubted the next time you claim online to be "so in love" with someone. A good idea is to only start posting couple photos with someone when you have reached the level of a serious, exclusive and stable relationship.

5. Friending someone you've just started dating on Facebook.

Relax -- you don't need to send a Facebook friend request to someone you've just gone on one date with. There are many reasons to hold off at least until you have been on a couple of good dates: Firstly, in the early stages of dating, it might be detrimental to have a bird's eye view of their entire life and past, and vice versa. Quick and often wrong judgments are made when you "stalk" people online rather than getting to know them naturally through actual conversation. Secondly, if you go on one or two dates and things fall flat, you might be stuck with a Facebook friend whom you barely even know and will now likely never get to know any better. Of course you can always delete them as a friend at that point, but why subject yourself to that awkward situation in the first place? And lastly, sending someone a Facebook friend request immediately after meeting them can come across as over-eager, which is not the most attractive first impression you want to make.

What if your date is the one to send you a friend request first? In that case, it is best to politely accept - but you can keep them as a "Restricted" friend until you feel more comfortable with him/her. (FYI: The "Restricted" category of people can only see posts on Facebook that you make public). For more information on how to use Facebook and other social media sites appropriately, feel free to speak with one of the coaches at Smart Dating Academy!