Have you stopped to consider social media affects on dating?
If the only thing that stood between you and the love of your life is your social media persona, do you feel confident you’d ride off into the sunset together? Or would your social avatar send them running for the hills?
In a time where digital privacy is a thing of the past, it’s essential to consider how you show up to potential matches on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Certainly, privacy settings can minimize social media affects on dating in the short-term. There are the usual social precautions of protecting your personal information like where you live and work, and the members of your inner circle. But if you like someone, you’ll eventually let them into your digital world.
So consider the long-term ramifications of your social avatar’s behavior.
Review your profile as someone on the outside looking in. What overarching story do your social images tell? Do you comment without thinking? Are you overly opinionated on political issues? Do you bully those you disagree with in social threads?
“Social media isn’t all bad,” says Kelleher International CEO, Amber Kelleher-Andrews, “It’s a great way to stay connected with friends and family you don’t see all that often. And it can provide a sense of community with others who share your same interests or support the same causes. But when it comes to dating, it’s important to consider that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like are your social resumé.”
As matchmakers, social media serves as a tool for us as well when we’re vetting potential matches for clients.
Director of matchmaking, Kimberly Colgate, explains, “It is amazing what you can learn through a basic google search. However, we are skilled at what to look for, and it is a single avenue for generating intel. On the flip side, I have had some great clients find themselves on blast on social media or fall victim to false or exaggerated reporting, or lingering negative press from a business dealing. I always advise clients that it is completely normal to do your research on a new match, but it is so important to remember that often there is more than meets the eye. An online portrayal is one piece of the greater puzzle.”
If the idea that your social media persona is the gatekeeper to discovering love, would you make time for a social facelift?
Matchmaker Nahla Grafer recently had a client faced with this question. Nahla discovered many similarities between two Kelleher singles and proposed they connect – despite one glaring difference. Their politics were polar opposite. But, the pair hit it off on their first date, and both reported back to Nahla feeling the sparks of chemistry.
Post-first date, the woman searched the man she was excited about on social media. She was shocked scrolling through his social feed discovering crass language and hateful political rants. As a public figure, she couldn’t risk hitching her wagon to his. And that was it. No matter how great they might’ve been, he couldn’t be her guy.
If this cautionary tale hits too close to home, there are several things you can do to ensure social media affects dating in your life positively.
Consider simple ways you can give your social persona a facelift. All it takes is a little time and a willingness to look at yourself through the lens of a potential mate.
Make time to review and clean up your social profiles and news feed. Scroll through your own pictures and posts as if you’re “Facebook stalking” yourself.
- Delete anything questionable or in poor taste.
- Do you see a pattern of negativity or complaining in the content you share? Consider flipping the script and posting positive content or helpful things. Avoid complaining; it’s certainly not attractive.
- Rather than engaging in arguments that drain your energy and clog up your news feed, find ways to use social media as a platform for expressing gratitude. Spread love and positive vibes and see how that transforms your experience and social reputation.
- Clean up your friends list and social groups. We’ve talked about the implications of data and dating before. A simple way to curb what you’re sharing is to create a more intimate social network. If you don’t know all of your social “friends” start deleting them. Remove yourself from groups that you don’t engage with or that no longer align with your values.
- If the idea of using social media in this manner doesn’t sound appealing to you, perhaps do everyone a favor and delete your profile.
Social media can be a massive time suck so make sure you’re online community adds value to your real-life and is a sincere reflection of your best self.
It’s also essential to use social media cautiously during the courting phase of dating. Premature friending, posting, and tagging a new love interest can complicate things if you decide things are going to work out after all.
“Whether we like it or not, social media affects dating and plays a bigger role than ever before,” says Nahla. “Decide to use social platforms intentionally and allow them to enhance your dating experience.”
Maybe you missed out on a great match like the guy in our story. But it’s not too late to set yourself up for success moving forward.
Recognize the power of social media and use it accordingly. Let your social avatar be your “digital wingman” that enhances your chances of finding the love you desire rather than blocking your efforts.
If you have a cautionary tale around social media and dating, please consider sharing what you’ve learned with the community in the comments section below.