Oh Facebook, you magical love machine, you. =D
I have a crush on a guy that I don’t know, but am friends with on facebook. I guess he technically isn’t a complete stranger because he is an acquaintance/friend of some of my friends in real life…So my question is, in the age of facebook and friending strangers is it ok to express interest in someone you don’t actually know, and how does one go about it with out it being too awkward? I can’t really judge his accepting my friend request as anything much since he is in a band that is fairly well known and has a lot of friends. On a side note, I have noticed through random news feed posts that he definitely has an interest in meeting someone, so is that an open invitation to introduce myself? Do you think that he might get the impression that I’m weird for having searched him out or that I read what he posts? Honestly I don’t even know how I’d begin.
…but, yknow, you’re talking to one of the biggest internet nerds ever. I don’t think it’s weird to friend people and to socialize online as you would in “real” life. This is the digital age! Embrace it! Love it and cuddle it! I believe it can do a lot of good in our “real” lives. The dating game online and IRL have a lot of overlap. Here are 3 things to consider when you’re approaching a stranger on Facebook:
When you’re pursuing someone through Facebook, it’s worth being aware of how you might come off to a person who doesn’t know you. They don’t have your body language or voice to read, so it’s worth thinking about how you’d like to transfer your personality through a digital medium. Things that I personally try to avoid are bad grammar/spelling, caps lock, humor that might be deemed a little too whacky/out there (at first), and too many emoticons. I guess I feel like these things can can come off sort of strange.
2. Why You’re Messaging
When you’re messaging a stranger with interest, you can avoid the “creeper” vibe by letting them know why you’re interested. It’s not strange to search/read more about people who interest you if there’s a non-creepy reason for doing so. You may have similar friends, similar interests, similar political views, etc. Make sure this is known in your first message to them if you want to let them know that this more than just a “hey, your pic is hawt” type of thing (even though their pic may in fact be hot).
3. Starting a Conversation
People feel comfortable with questions about themselves. If you approach the initial message as a way to get to know their personality & interests a little better (and offer compelling reason for them to want to know yours), it will serve as a leeway to more conversation, and maybe after a little exchange, a reason to get together in real life. Proposing a get-together too early is something that happens a lot in my experience. Let it come naturally after being affirmed that you jive a little online.
A Word About Feeling Awkward
It’s normal to feel kind of weird about a new form of social interaction, especially when expressing interest is something so many people feel anxiety about anyway.
It might help to keep it cool and light, don’t set too many expectations about where it could go, and of course…try to have fun with it! E-flirtation is a practice & an art, but getting better at it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s all about your state of mind. Don’t allow yourself to drown in thoughts like “omg this is so weird”, or that’s going to seep into your conversation with them. It’s not weird. A bajillion people use Facebook, and the exchanges aren’t just between people who know each other. It’s a powerful platform that goes far beyond your proximal social circle.
Do They Want To Be Messaged?
While being chatty and flirty online is all good and well, some people are simply not interested in talking to strangers, even when you have mutual friends. If they say or indicate that they are not interested in chatting on FB, respect that, and don’t approach them. BUT! If they do say they are interested, that is a green light for approach. If there is no comment about that, approach it thoughtfully & don’t take it personally if they don’t respond or don’t respond in the way you’d expect. It’s Facebook, which most people don’t sign up for as a dating site. If you’re intentionally looking for an online place for dating, I’d recommend OK Cupid!
Good luck & have fun! :)
PS: I hope it would be extremely obvious that you should always be thoughtful & safe in online encounters! If it’s *not* obvious, you’re probably not quite ready to be using FB to meet people. It’s not very savvy to go traipsing off in a secluded area with some random person you know nothing about. Always meet new friends in public & confirm their character with someone else. If they make you uncomfortable in any way, online or off, that’s your queue to shut down the exchange!