Facebook is Not Your Diary

Back in the day the girl’s biggest complaint was, why won’t he call? Today, we don’t hear much of that one anymore. Why? Because we are less hung up with when he is calling than we used to be. Today, we are more hung up on other means of communication, one of them being Facebook. We spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about this. Why is he poking her? Why is he liking that photo? What did he mean by that cryptic status message? I’ve had three dates with him why hasn’t he changed his relationship status yet?

I’ll tell you why. But it’s complicated.

For some couples Facebook is the not so unbiased third party in their relationship. I, personally might spend just a few minutes a day on Facebook, like any other website, once I have what I need I am out. My guy is the same. I don’t care what he’s doing on eBay or Amazon either, any more than he’s concerned about what business I’m carrying about on Facebook.

Keywords there, “like any other website”. And yet, Facebook crops up in more dating advice questions than you would imagine. My answer to those questions is always, “Get off Facebook.”

See, here’s the thing about your favorite social media site. It’s just a website. It’s not the real world. And if you can’t trust your partner on Facebook, then you have much bigger problems and Facebook is not going to solve them.

Remember that! And also keep in mind, I’m not knocking Facebook at all. I think it is a wonderful invention that keeps me close to the people that we love, when we can’t connect with them in the real world. But Facebook is not a replacement for the real world. It is only meant to serve as an additional tool to fill in the blanks when we can’t connect with people face to face. It isn’t a relationship fixer, it isn’t a dating dilemma solver, and in more cases than it doesn’t, it causes more harm than good in love. When? When we forget that it’s just a website, and not the real world.

So, if you do decide to include Facebook in your dating, as an additional means of contacting him, as a means of sharing photos with him, or as a means of declaring to the world who you love, just…don’t forget that it is just a website. If you are looking for relationship advice regarding Facebook, here are some of my tips on how to include Facebook in your relationship, without using it as a tool to destroy your relationship.

But I would never do that, you say!

Yes you would, without even thinking that this is what is happening at the time. I’m trying to help you prevent those mishaps. Mishaps which do happen, more often than you might think. One wrong like and the two of you are done, and it never would have happened without the help of social media.

So, my Do’s and Don’ts tips for you when including Facebook in your relationship are as follows.

1. Don’t add each other onto your lists until you have reached a committed long term state. Spouses of course have each other on there, and this is the kind of commitment I am talking about. You don’t need to be married, just in this place where you already trust each other completely and are completely okay with WHATEVER they do on Facebook, ebay, Amazon, or any other website in the world.

2. Don’t discuss problems on Facebook, via Facebook, with Facebook... you get the picture. You should never for example be sending private messages that look like this: “Babe, I saw you liking something on your exes page? What the eff is that about?? I thought we HAD something?? Why couldn’t you just talk to me about this??”

Do you see the irony? You want someone to communicate with you, but you aren’t doing so with them. And I’m sorry but, Facebook private message is not the way to communicate with your partner.

3. Do declare to the world how much you love the person, change your relationship status, post a status update, however you choose to make this declaration. People that love you want to know these things. They want you to be happy. And he gets a little extra boost when you have proclaimed that he is the only one for you….BUT…

4. Don’t declare to the world how ticked off you are that he left the toilet seat down. Again. And you’re pretty stinking tired of it because seriously, who’s raised that poorly? And what’s it going to take for him to GET this simple concept?? Don’t do that. Do not be the person that sends hundreds of people an awkward moment in their day via status update. Nobody wants to see that. When I see that on people’s statuses in the morning when I log on, their statuses get blocked from me if it happens too many times. I repeat, nobody wants to see that. And the brief moment of satisfaction that you get from posting the things that he’s done to tick you off that day are just that, brief. The fall out from that could last much longer, and could very well end your relationship.

I tell you, if I woke up one day to see my guy posting something negative about me, our relationship, or anything even remotely unbecoming…he would get a phone call. And I would be saying, “It’s not me, it’s you. Enjoy your Facebook, and have a nice life.” It’s just disrespectful. You’re better than that. He’s better than that. If you have an issue with him, it stays between you. Facebook was not invented so that you could have a place to air your laundry. Just think how you would feel if he did that to you. And if he has? Read back a few lines about what an appropriate response to that is. Don’t let him disrespect you, and don’t disrespect him either.

5. Do remember that everyone he knows is on Facebook. Even if he says that they aren’t. They probably are, and he’s just being cool. Do you really want his mom to see that toilet status update? Or the one on his Wall you posted after the really great night the two of you had? You don’t. That will be a really awkward Christmas dinner, if you are fortunate enough to make it that far with him after that. The last thing you want to happen is to have mom call after him on his way to the loo, in front of the entire family, to put the toilet seat down just to prove you wrong. He doesn’t want that either, by the way.

6. Don’t use Facebook to communicate about things you don’t have the courage to say in person. This is up there with point number 4. Unless you are saying sweet things about him. If you don’t have the guts to tell him you are upset with him, you have bigger problems than Facebook and your relationship probably won’t last anyway. But blasting it to 300 of your closest friends and family doesn’t make you a woman that is not afraid to speak her mind. And he knows that. And so do the other 299 people reading it.

7. Do use Facebook to be smart about your dating security. But also use it to be mysterious. This one is more for people that have just started dating. This is one of the good things about Facebook. We hear so many horror stories about online dating situations gone wrong. This is where you can include Facebook in your relationship, without him even knowing it. Post where you are going with him, but you don’t need to name names. “Heading to Tapas Bar with a cute new friend!” Check him out however you can through Facebook, especially if you’ve never actually met him in person before. Did he show you his Facebook page? Does he have lots of authentic looking friends? Anything less than 50 is a little suspicious. But don’t blow him off just because of that, because some people just aren’t Facebookers.

Are his photos real? Has he been on Facebook for over a year, or did he just create a new account when you started dating? Be safe, and follow your instinct. Cross check via Google, the more stuff that seems to pan out, the better. If it seems weird, there’s a reason for that.

This list is a good starting point. As time goes on and Facebook continues to change, there will probably continue to be more Do’s and Don’ts down the road. But just because our times have evolved doesn’t mean that ALL elements of dating have changed. The one thing that has stayed the same is the need for trust and honest communication in every relationship. If you don’t have that, Facebook won’t be able to save you, no matter how many times you try to poke and like your way into forcing it to happen.

Just remember, when you are looking for relationship advice and Facebook is in the question, take Facebook out of the equation. How would you handle this problem without Facebook? That’s right. So call him.