I’ll never forget the night I learned about the boy who fell from the sky.
My girlfriends and I were in the mood for yummy desserts and live music, so we all agreed to meet at one of our local favorite hot spots, Obzeet.
Julie was as stunningly beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, and each of us desired for her to find a mate who would love and cherish her the way she deserved. The last guy she dated, while a nice guy, just wasn’t what we had hoped for.
That night, as we all chatted and shared our monthly updates with each other, Julie introduced her sharing session with the words, “I have to tell you guys about the boy who fell from the sky.” She went on to explain that after seeing her RSVP for an event he was thinking about going to, Jake clicked on her Facebook profile to learn more about her. Intrigued and desiring to know more, he sent her a friend request. Julie was puzzled, trying to figure out who he was and if she knew him. After a brief conversation, making him promise he wasn’t a serial killer, she made a choice that would forever changer her life; she said yes, and accepted his friend request. Thirty-six days later they were engaged, and eight weeks after that they were married.
I was reminded of this fun and exciting story of how my friend met her husband when I had my own random Facebook friend request moment. As I got the request, I wasn’t sure if meeting him had slipped my mind, so I sent him a message and asked if I knew him. While waiting for his response, I clicked through all the non-private parts of his Facebook profile, hoping something would help me remember if we had met. While browsing through his profile, it dawned on me just how much we can learn about someone through social media.
As I clicked through his profile, Facebook told me where he worked, where he went to school, where he’s from, what movies, books and music he enjoys and which sports teams he supports. Having not even exchanged two words with this man, I learned things you wouldn’t normally learn without asking. If we aren’t careful, Facebook can take away the mystery that makes us want to get to know someone. One of the most fun things about dating is the intrigue of learning about the other person—learning their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, pet peeves and favorite things.
Sometimes I wonder if Facebook has become the free, social media version of online dating. As with a dating profile, we selectively choose which best-lit selfie we will share. Skip the intro, Facebook tells us the intimate thoughts of a person through status updates. And veto the guided communication, we skip the makes or breaks and go straight to messaging. With the click of a mouse, we can maneuver through someone’s profile, learning the details of their life, seeing photos of their family and gaining a better understanding of who they are.
Just as the things posted on social media can help us learn about the other person, they also leave room for assumption and judgments. And social media can be a deterrent, making someone chose not to pursue you based on what you post.
So here are some DO’s and DON’Ts to keep in mind when it comes to social media.
DO – Be intentional about getting to know someone by asking questions and giving them an opportunity to share.
DON’T – Make assumptions about what you see or read.
DO – Carefully consider what you choose to reveal to the public about yourself.
DON’T – Over-share; leave things private and allow room for mystery.
DO – Be sensitive in understanding that not everyone shares your same worldview.
DON’T – Bash other points of view, religions or political preferences publicly.
DO – Understand that members of the opposite sex consider how you act and what you post on social media when they are praying through whether or not you would be a good mate.
DON’T – Be ignorant in believing that what you post doesn’t matter and isn’t being carefully observed.
I caution you, be mindful of what you choose to share. Leave parts of yourself to the imagination. Leave room for mystery and intrigue. Give them a reason to desire to have 3-hour conversations with you, learning if you prefer cats or dogs, or if you’d rather eat peanut butter and jelly than ham and cheese. Allow others the chance to ask you questions, pursue you and connect with you as you share.
Who knows, you may end up like my friends Jake and Julie, celebrating a wedding three months later with a Facebook groom’s cake.