“Send Friend Request?” When You Should Facebook Your Online Match

By Kristin Manganello, Copy Cutie

If sparks are flying between you and your latest online match, you might think that friending them on Facebook will help ignite a full-fledged flame. But transferring your online meeting into a real life greeting  doesn't mean you should immediately link up with them on the net. Before you send (or accept) that friend request, here are some questions to help you figure out if the time is right:

1. Do you feel comfortable having a Facebook connection with them?  Facebook habits can bring out the worst in people, so you should know someone relatively well before giving them free admission to all your information — especially if you think sharing is caring. On the flip side, what if that person you’ve seen a few times is super annoying on Facebook? Duck face pictures and a dozen daily status updates will make you wish fervently for a dislike button every time he or she pops up on your newsfeed, ruining your perception of a potential lover.

2. Are you seeing other people who are also on your friends list?  This can be awkward if your other paramours post suggestive messages on your wall or tag you in some wild pictures. And while you shouldn’t feel like you need to commit to anyone, it’s not cool to display exploits for a match to see. Aside from the rudeness factor, you also have no way to predict how someone will react — even if the person you’re seeing is dating others, too. Think about putting these people in a limited list to restrict what they have access to.

3. If the spark fizzles out, will their Facebook presence bother you?  Haphazardly friending every person you digitally woo can leave you with a friends list filled with missed connections, which can be depressing in times of online dating recessions. Instead of finding your match on Facebook after your first date, connect only with the people you’re sure you want to have continued contact with.

4. Is your intention simply to gather more information on them?  If yes, stop right there. Close your Internet browser and slowly back away from the computer. Since you met on a dating site, you probably already know their interests — it’s why you two decided to hang out in the first place. What you're really digging for is a closer look into how your match lives their life in between the spaces of what you’ve gleaned from the About Me and Interests sections. Everyone knows that Facebook’s allows for easy stalking, but peeping into the online window of a digital house is a passive — and borderline creepy — way to get to know someone. 

The point of online dating is to find each other on the web and then meet offline. Continue exploring a potential future with each other during face time — not Facebook.

How do you use Facebook in your online dating life? Tell us about in a comment below!