Once upon a time, I was seeing this guy that I was head over heels crazy for. We had such an amazing connection – physically, mentally, emotionally. One of the things I remember best about our relationship was how we’d often stay up until the wee hours of the morning just talking. I felt like we’d known each other forever and that maybe, just maybe, he was The One.
That is until one day, I made the mistake of logging on to his Facebook. We’d been friends on Facebook for a few months before we’d started dating and I’d never noticed anything out of the ordinary. Because he worked in the public sector, he rarely posted anything other than YouTube videos of songs he was really into at the time. So, nothing could have prepared me for what I stumbled across that day.
One thing you should probably know about me is that I’m a huge Muppets fan. To me, the Muppets represent childhood memories and everything that is good in the world. If Disneyland ever branches out into “Muppet Land,” I’ll be the first person to buy a ticket – no matter my age. My date knew this about me, which makes the next part of this story particularly perplexing.
When I clicked on his Facebook profile, the first thing I noticed was a video he’d posted of a Kermit the Frog puppet doing something so obscene, so WRONG, that no person should ever have to witness a Muppet do to themselves or another puppet. I was shocked.
*Cue the immediate death of happy childhood memories.*
Did he not think I’d see this? Even if we weren’t dating, how could he possibly think posting something like this was a good ideas? These are questions I’ll never get an answer to because we broke up shortly thereafter for other non-Muppet related reasons. But, I will say this: not only did that video alter my childhood memories, it also changed the way I saw this person.
This is all to say that, when it comes to dating, what you post on social media matters. Here are a few social media moves that might be killing your love life without you even realizing it.
1. Posting NSFW content on your social media.
Whether it’s an uncomfortably sexual video that involves puppets, or something equally inappropriate to watch at work, social media is not the place to share these things. Not only do you run the risk of alienating your date, it also just shows a clear lack of good judgement. Same goes for posting anything that’s sexist, racist or otherwise offensive.
2. An Instagram that’s made up of entirely of questionable memes.
I really liked this one guy until we followed each other on Instagram and I realized his entire account was nothing but shirtless selfies and bro-tastic memes about drinking and sleeping in. #romancedead.
3. Using a photo of your ex as your banner image.
I have a friend who uses a photo of her high school ex-boyfriend performing (he’s a musician) as the banner image on her Facebook profile. They’ve been broken up for over a decade, but she still posts #throwback photos of them together that she tags with things like #firstlove #goodmemories #bestguyever. She’s dated lots of other guys since her ex, but the relationships never seem to last more than a few months. I can’t help but wonder if maybe her overt devotion to her ex on social media has something to do with this? If someone I was dating was doing the same thing, I’d be concerned. As a rule of thumb, it’s totally OK to have photos of your ex on your social profiles (hey, we all have a past!) just make sure they’re not the main focus.
4. Overcommitting on social media.
I call this How to Lose Someone in 10 Hashtags or Less. The same friend who uses her ex’s photo as her banner image on Facebook also has a habit of posting couple selfies whenever she meets someone new. The photos will always be captured with things like #datenight #inlove #happycouple #love #inloveforever. She’ll post a few of these photos before the guy disappears from her feed altogether (I assume because he went running for the hills.) Posting photos is fun, just make sure you’re not defining the relationship in the hashtags before you’ve discussed it as a couple.
5. Following them on every account, right away.
While social media has allowed us to share our lives with the world in a very public way, that doesn’t mean you have to follow everyone you date right away. I’m always a bit weirded out when I go out with someone once and the next morning (or even the same night!) they’ve found me on Google and followed my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Yelp reviews. My suggestion: allow for a bit of mystery. Just because your date has public social profiles doesn’t necessary mean that they want to connect with you in all of those ways just yet.
At the end of the day, not everyone is going to take this advice to heart. While it’s best to get to know the person as a whole (as opposed to judging them solely based on their social media habits), someone’s social media does give you some valuable insight into who someone is as a person and what their values are.