In the beginning stages of a budding relationship, Facebook is a crucial flirtation tool. If you are careful and conscientious, you can use this social network to score some real face-to-face action.
Start by keeping your profile up-to-date and representing the version of you that you hope to bring to a relationship. If you’re only looking for a good time, feel free to keep up the pictures with you kissy-facing your girlfriends and tossing out peace signs with every guy in the bar (wearing their hats and sticking out your tongue, naturally). But if you want your crush to see you as a bit more serious — or at least nice, funny and cool — choose pictures that demonstrate that you like to have a good time but that you also have some self-control. Pics that reflect a variety of interests and a large social circle are good; pics that represent a variety of blackouts and a large risk of STDs are bad.
Once you’ve met a crush, it’s important to friend them in a timely manner. If you friend too early, you’ll lose your air of mystery and show all your cards up front. Do not go home and friend your classmate after you spoke your first words to him or her. (“Hey, do we have a quiz on Friday?”) You are not friends yet! If you have to look hard to friend someone on Facebook, you are friending too early. If you meet someone at the bar or at a party and numbers are exchanged, it’s absolutely OK to friend them the next day. But after brunch, please. Patience is a virtue. If they friend you first, you should accept right away — it’s polite, and delaying acceptance proves nothing.
Once you’re officially friends, Facebook offers many tools for flirtation: The Poke. The Wall Post. The Private Message. Knowing the significance of each of these and how to use them to your advantage will serve you well.
Poking has no point. It can be mildly amusing to get involved in a poking war with a friend, but it’s seen as an act of desperation when it comes to the opposite sex. “Look at me! Look at me! Please, please, pleaselook at me!!!” It’s immature, and the word “poke” is vaguely sexual — but in the harassment sense. And if you do poke … then what? They poke back. Aannnddd … scene.
The Wall Post is ideal for a beginning flirtation. It is always appropriate to write on a crush’s wall after the friendship has been accepted. You should start with a post that’s nice, simple, and relevant to the initial conversation or meeting: “Hey, it was fun hanging out with you last night! Good luck with your interview today!” Generally, the friender should write the first post, but it’s totally okay if the friended goes for it.
Once you’re friends, it’s appropriate to stalk the crap out of them. It is not appropriate to let anyone you know you did this. You can play dumb about weekend activities that are evidenced through pictures. Even if they post an album Sunday morning entitled, “Saturday Night I Went To The Football Game,” you’re still welcome to ask them what they did Saturday night. They’ll appreciate your non-creepiness. Try not to let on that you know anything about them because you study their Facebook profile for hours a day. If your crush tells you something and you say, “Oh yeah I know,” and it’s their address … you have a problem.
But if you slip, own it — especially if it’s their birthday or related to something they put prominently on their profile. If they post pictures with a celebrity, for example, go ahead and stroke that ego. “OMG, you met Fallout Boy?! How’d you get backstage?”
A Wall conversation can keep going for a while if it’s flirtatious or contains funny one-liners, but you shouldn’t have long conversation via Wall. Don’t ask “getting to know you” questions in this space. If what is being said involves long sentences or personal details, it’s best to upgrade to Private Message.
A Private Message is a forward step. Because it’s for their eyes only, it has an innate sexiness. Even if you’re saying something mundane, the implication is there: I want to get to know you. Maybe in the Biblical sense.
Because of that, you have to be careful with Facebook messages. Take it slow. If they message you, respond in a timely manner — wait at least an hour, but no more than five hours. We all check Facebook a million times a day; this isn’t a time to play it cool. However, you can try to time your messages so it’s easier to segue into weekend plans. If they message you on a Wednesday night, you can write back Thursday afternoon, when it’s appropriate to bring up the upcoming weekend.
A Private Message is the space for numbers, screen names, and e-mail addresses to be exchanged. Yes, this stuff is in their profile, but it’s best to get permission to use it.
Once you’ve started hanging out more in person, Facebook flirting should decrease. It’s time to upgrade to the next technologies: texting and maybe even a phone calls every now and then. But if you haven’t spoken in a while, it’s great to go back to basics and write on their Wall to re-ignite that spark.
To make it in today’s dating world, becoming a good Facebook flirt is crucial. Mess up and here, and you might find yourself “Single” longer than you’d like.