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Ponderations from our team on the rules of online dating. Your questions answered.
If you’re like most, social media plays a significant role in your life. For many of us in our 20’s and 30’s, it’s hard to remember when we weren’t glued to technology. Even before we had smartphones, we grew up with cringe-worthy Myspace accounts and spent summers on AOL chatrooms. (Who can ever forget logging in an out of MSN to get noticed by your crush?) Despite being social media natives, navigating social media boundaries in new relationships is still confusing for the best of us.
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Online dating can be frustrating and time consuming, with limited if any results. Or maybe you just don’t know where to start.
Avoid being a creep!
So much of our personal information lives on the internet. And whether or not you think that’s a good thing, it can be a catch-22 for online dating.
Nobody wants to come off as creepy by adding someone on social media too soon. At the same time, playing it too cool can make you seem disinterested and out of touch. For this reason, it’s best to leave the unspoken rules of social media and dating to the professionals. Here’s everything you need to know about navigating social media boundaries with new dating relationships.
Should I delete my ex’s photos from my social media accounts? -Cathy, 37
Deciding what to do with the traces of past significant others is an inevitable part of the dating game. Before you start dating again, you need to decide what to do with your ex’s photos on social media. Deleting the pictures of your past relationship is a therapeutic part of the post-breakup healing process for many people.
Are you on the fence of what to do with your past couple of pictures? Dr. Jesse Fox, Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Ohio State University, shares this advice on Cosmopolitan: “I would ask yourself why you want to keep them [on your profile]. What are other people going to get from seeing this information?”
Dr. Fox also explains that it’s not that your ex needs to disappear. Instead, seeing pictures of the highlight reel of your time together won’t help you get over the relationship.
According to Thrive Global, therapist Laura Heck recommends taking a different approach. She believes erasing all photos from social media is too harsh of an ending. “Select a couple of your favourite photos of the two of you. And keep those as a part of your social media history.”
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At Shift Dating, our take on the situation is simple. Only keep two or three photos on social media if you were dating a year or more. Keeping a few pictures of shared trips or special dates to football games or concerts on your social media is best. However, hanging on to the cheesy “Happy Birthday” post of an ex-girlfriend on your Instagram is something you want to avoid. As to be expected, new people that you’re dating are going to be looking through your social media feeds. You want to be mindful of this on your social media accounts. It’s important to show respect to your ex, but your social media needs to reflect you’ve moved on.
Is it weird to add someone on social media before our first date?
Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid allow users to link their social media accounts to their dating profiles. Shift Dating experts always recommend connecting your Instagram to your dating apps.
Doing so lets you show off more parts of your interests and lifestyle to potential matches. Instagram is also less intimate than Facebook, which tends to have a lot of personal details about your life.
Adding your Instagram is also an excellent way to verify your profiles. It helps future dates feel more comfortable knowing you’re a real person and not a bot. So if the conversation is rolling and your match also has their Instagram linked to their profile, it’s fair game to send over a friend request.
If they don’t have their social media on their profiles, our experts advise on waiting until a few dates. Likewise, according to Match.com, 41% of singles are okay with friending each other on Facebook after a few dates.
Is it okay to Google the person you’re starting to date?
We’re all guilty of Googling someone new that we’re dating. While there are a lot of pros and cons to researching a new partner, sometimes it’s best to keep the mystery alive. If you’re cautious about the safety of a first date, Googling helps with some peace of mind. But it’s important not to go overboard. Just because the information is out there, doesn’t mean it’s best to learn about it before they’re willing to share it with you!
One Reddit user, a woman in her mid-forties, explained how adding someone on Facebook affects her relationships. “Once we connect online – I notice patterns, and it can affect how I see them. Are they friending people on every new business trip? Do they like every bikini photo of every strange woman they see? Are they publicly flirting a lot?”
Our team of online dating coaches advises resisting the urge to do a deep dive into someone’s social media accounts or online history. It’s better to get to know the intimate details about someone as a real person and not their online persona.
Of course, it’s one thing to look through a future date’s Instagram photos. It’s another thing entirely to read their work history on LinkedIn. Although it’s tempting, we suggest avoiding the latter at all costs. It comes across as more creepy than clever.
When is it okay to start posting someone new on social media?
There are a few things you need to consider before posting someone you’re starting to date on social media:
First and foremost, did you get their consent? It’s essential to prioritize your partner and check-in before posting anything, sex therapist Vanessa Marin explains in The New York Times.
“This is especially important when it comes to sharing details, photos of the two of you, or details of your lives or dates,” she writes. “Often, in relationships, one person is more private than the other, a difference that can lead to fights.”
Secondly, start slowly. If you’re going on a hike for your fourth date together, take a photo of the view. If you want to post it on your Instagram stories, ask if they would like to be tagged. Tagging someone in a story is a more casual way to share what you’re doing together.
Lastly, don’t post photos of your adventures with one another on social media too soon. Your friends and family will be excited for you. And those heart eye emojis can be pretty awkward if you haven’t defined the relationship yet. Wait until you’ve agreed that you’re mutually exclusive before making it Instagram official. After that, cue the cute couple posts!
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