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Dating: Premature Facebooking, Part 2

By: The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way
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 woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

Remember how we used to check up on our crushes and exes in the good old days? When we wanted to see what someone was up to, we just did a good old-fashioned drive-by past his house. (Oh, please! Don’t act like you’ve never done it!) With cell phones, email, Skype, Facebook, and other social media sites, now we can do a virtual drive-by pretty much anytime we want, which, as you mentioned, kind of sucks because you just never know what you’ll find when you do a drive-by on someone’s Facebook profile.

I think you’re smart to hold off on being any of these guys’ friend immediately. I have a rule for my Facebook friends: is the potential friend in question someone that I’d feel comfortable inviting out to a real-life dinner or party with a group of my friends? I think you should use this screening process for anyone who tries to befriend you, not just potential boyfriends. For example, would it be awkward to have that random person you never talked to who sat two rows behind you in Algebra I and Algebra II twenty years ago hanging out with the people you genuinely call friends? Likewise, would you normally introduce a man to all your friends after only one or two dates, either in the real world or on Facebook? Probably not.

So I advise you to use this cool little feature that Facebook has on its friend confirmation application. It’s called the “Ignore” button. Click it. If any of these guys ask why you haven’t accepted their friend invitation yet, I think a gracious way to handle it would be to make a flirty little joke about it. (Cue hair flip and coy laugh.) “Oh, I don’t Facebook with someone until at least the sixth date!” If he doesn’t get the hint and presses the issue, I think it shows that he’s concerned about all the wrong things when it comes to pursuing a relationship with you. He should be focusing on real-world you, not Facebook-you. If that’s not the case, he deserves a good, hard, real-world poke.

Check back tomorrow for the gay man's perspective by Darren Maddox. 

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 To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.