It's not new news that people share too much information on Facebook. Good god, people brag about their crimes on it. They flirt in front of their spouses on it. They bitch about their bosses on it. When it comes to Facebook, common sense seems to go out the window. But could it also be killing your love life? And not just because your husband's high school girlfriend has decided to send him naked photos. I'm talking about all of that stuff we share during the course of a normal posting day -- what we did last night, who we're having lunch with, who we're mad at. Just being yourself on Facebook can easily lead to putting a dent in your dating life. Take the friend of mine who met a nice guy while standing in line at the DMV (it happens). She left their encounter thinking, "Hmm ... maybe." But by the next day, she was thinking, "Hell no," thanks to Facebook.
My friend says the guy -- handsome, tall, reading a book she admired -- began talking with her in line, and when it came time for them to part, she handed him her business card.
Within a couple of hours, she had a Facebook request. She accepted. A little while later, he emailed her and asked her out. She said yes and then went on with her day.
Until the guy began cluttering up her feed with all of his complaints. Some (mildly paraphrased) examples:
"I'm cutting toxicity out of my life!!! That means YOU!!!"
"I am so done with certain people!!!"
"This week has been terrible!!!"
When you see that many exclamation points in someone's feed, it's a major turn-off. It was clear, from some of the details of his "terrible week," that the guy was going through a rough patch. With family. With friends. With his job. With seemingly everything.
This was like the opposite of catfishing. Instead of someone presenting a glamorous online facade that turns out to be fake, he was presenting his real self -- and it was WAY too soon.
She suddenly had absolutely zero desire to date the charming, relaxed, nice guy she'd met in the DMV line. Because this Facebook dude was something completely different. She cancelled.
Then there was the friend who accepted a guy's offer of a date -- and his Facebook request -- only to scroll through his wall and realize that he was deep into dealing with a family tragedy. None of that was his fault, of course. But it was clear it was consuming him. She began picturing nights at the hospital instead of out on the town. It's something she would have dealt with -- if she was in a relationship with him. But she wasn't.
These are the kinds of things you wouldn't have known about a romantic prospect in the past, when there was no Facebook. Back then, the romantic prospect probably would have kept his woes to himself, at least for a few dates. By then, chemistry may have taken hold and you like him enough to overlook his rocky circumstances.
So is Facebook a good early warning system -- warding you away from people who may be trouble long before you get attached to them?
Or does it turn you off too early? After all, a rough patch may be just a patch and not the way the person is in general.
I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that Facebookers who are actively dating should think about what they post. Or stop friending people you want to date.
Have you ever had Facebook ruin a romantic prospect for you?
Image via katerha/Flickr