By: The 4-Way Panel
About three months ago, a man I really like ended our six-month relationship. Aside from all the normal bad stuff that comes with a breakup, I also had to deal with the stupid detail of us being friends on Facebook. This may not sound like a big deal, but for a while, whenever I logged on and saw that he’d gotten a new friend who was female, or had exchanged wall correspondence with any woman I didn’t know, it drove me nuts. Like many people, I’m on Facebook all the time, and I just didn’t want to know all those things about him—it made my head spin wondering who those women were and it hurt too much. Now that I’m casually dating again, I’ve been getting Facebook invitations from some of the guys I’ve been on one and two dates with—guys I barely know. I do like a couple of them and want to go out with them again, but I’m just feeling cautious about accepting friend invitations too soon. Any advice for how to handle this graciously?—RK
The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy
If you haven’t already done so, delete the guy you dated from your friends list. He’s not your friend, in Facebook or in reality. You should’ve done this within a week of the breakup, but that’s okay. Do it now.
Do not accept these suitors as friends. It’s simple, because they are NOT your friends. They’re most likely trying to read up on you, look through your photo albums, and casually spy on you. I don’t see the upside for them to access all this info on you just as you’re getting to know them. Just say, “Thanks but I don’t add people as friends unless I’ve known them for a while.” This will keep any stalking potential at bay, too, in the likely case some of these guys don’t pan out.
If the guys are really hurt that you wouldn’t add them as a friend on a social networking site, so be it. Give them a cyber shove-off and hope they’ll find a real life … because the one they have now won’t be including dating you.
This brings up a point about social networking sites. I belong to a couple and they can be a nice way to stay in touch with friends and a good excuse for wasting time. However, it’s a bit juvenile to add people as friends when you barely know them.
The argument for not adding those potential suitors doesn’t hold up very well if you have 500 Facebook friends. No one has 500 friends. So if you have a very large number, go through your list and pare it down. Here’s another tip: if you’ve never met someone in person and never talk to him, you should probably delete him from your list. Simplify. Focus more on your true friends.
And one last thing, don’t be on Facebook all the time. Limit yourself. Set a timer. Do it. Come on, do we really need another reason to sit on the computer all day? (They got rid of Scrabulous anyway.)
Cut your Facebook time and book real face time with your real friends in real places. You’ll probably have real fun.
Check in next week for another Q&A series with The 4-Way.
The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at email@example.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.
By: The 4-Way Panel