Earlier this week, we received an SOS text from a friend. She asked us to check out a picture she uploaded to Facebook. “What’s the big deal?” we wondered. Evidently, a guy she met on there, and whom she’s been talking to for the past couple of weeks, asked her if all she had were “glamorous party pictures” of herself.

Naturally, she was cautious about what pictures she was posting and wanted to make sure that this particular one wouldn’t fall into the “high-society party girl” category.

Be careful what pictures you upload to Facebook. They could come back to haunt you. (Photo courtesy http://vi.sualize.us/)

Be careful what pictures you upload to Facebook. They could come back to haunt you. (Photo courtesy http://vi.sualize.us/)

We checked our own Facebook profiles to see what was visible to others, and how we could possibly be perceived by people, especially those who don’t really know us. We were shocked to realize that our lack of sharing pictures and updates was not mysterious as we had hoped it to be, but rather boring and weirdly anti-social.

Now, if you knew us in person you would know we’re anything but the latter! We then checked out our friend’s profile page, and indeed she comes across as a party girl. This is a shallow and false representation of our friend. This made us think that although our generation, Generation Y, spends a lot of time building and creating a virtual identity, we aren’t truly aware of how we’re coming across to others. By controlling what we share with others, we become our own PR managers. So, how would you like to be perceived by others? As interesting? Fun? Popular?

Now, why is this relevant to your dating life? Think about it. Our generation can be described as a bunch of serial monogamists, bouncing from one serious relationship to the next, often in a very short amount of time. Every relationship, every encounter, every experience with a love interest shapes us, and we carry that bag of memories around with us. Sometimes this bag weighs us down, and it takes time to regain our strength and toss it in the Dumpster.

However, when we can’t rid ourselves of the bag, we find a way to utilize it, so then it becomes our shield, like an airbag protecting us from getting hurt. So, if you have an airbag, and you think that you are ready to meet “the right one,” and you put yourself out there, you will most likely meet someone with an airbag as well. Perhaps you already found that someone. You go on a date, you talk about things that are “safe,” making sure you only share certain things that you think are fun and sexy. You then go home with a feeling of euphoria, but it only lasts until you realize that a week went by and you still haven’t heard from your potential significant other.

But hey, it’s not you, it’s L.A., right? No, sorry, you’re wrong. It is you! You’re walking around with a shield that screams “Do not come closer!” which doesn’t align with what you actually want, which is a true connection.

So, how does that apply to Facebook? Well, Facebook is a place to connect with people. What you share has to be in alignment with your authentic self. What our Facebook profiles communicate is that we’re private, closed off, afraid to reveal ourselves. We used to take this quality with us on dates, not realizing that we were carrying around our own airbags, which would not let anyone in. In our friend’s case, there is an amazing, smart, sensitive woman hiding behind her party girl identity.

So, if we really are in control about what we share of ourselves, then why not show who we really are, rather than an inauthentic version? And why does it matter? It matters because Facebook is the largest social platform online — the go-to place for people to “check you out.” In this day and age, it is actually a must to have an online presence. We all check out someone before we meet them, whether professionally or personally. It’s smart, from a security standpoint alone. If you have no online identity, you might as well be a ghost, non-existent or shady.

Here are some simple things you can do tonight to make your Facebook presence more appealing to future partners: Ladies, take down the pictures of yourself sloppy drunk at parties or bars. These types of pictures scare off men who are ready to settle down. And gentlemen, take off the pictures of you and your buddies partying in Vegas, playing beer pong, and surrounded by girls wearing only bikinis. Quality women will not take you seriously. Also, refrain from posting multiple times a day. Nobody cares that you’re bored, taking a shower, just got back from the gym, or having a bagel for breakfast; this is a serious case of social media overdose and should be regulated immediately. Over-exposure kills your allure and shows that you have nothing else to do. And one final point. When it comes to potential dating partners, don’t accept their friend requests until you’re dating or at least have met in person and see a dating future.

So ladies and gentlemen, think about your virtual image. We’re all attracted to confident, authentic people. So dare to be yourself! And remember, all is well.

 

 

Simone is pursuing her master’s degree in psychology and serves on the Commission for the Senior Community. She prides herself on having had more marriage proposals than shoes. She can be reached at sgordon1@uoregon.edu. In her inner circle, Limor, a screenwriter, is known as the “wing woman” and her cell number has become the hotline for dating advice. You can reach her at limorygottlieb@gmail.com.

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