I have been diving into the power of social media this week, and as a result have been unusually aware of how many times my clients mention Facebook when we are working together in a session. Typically, the comments sound something like this:
“I can’t believe he posted that on his status report, and didn’t tell me about it first.”
“I think he is dating someone else! That picture I saw of him next to the blonde (I was just looking at the pics he posted on his page…not stalking…just looking) seems like more than “just friends” to me.”
“He told me he was busy with a work thing, but his status update said he went to the movies.”
“He must be a player. His pics are always taken with women who have wine glasses in their hands.”
Many women (and men, I’m sure) spend hours each night doing “research” on someone whom they have dated once or twice, a person they are currently dating, or are hoping to date in the future. Typically, women make a ton of assumptions regarding the character, personality, interests, and availability for a relationship of these men via status updates, pictures, wall comments and biographical information. In addition, women will determine how interested a man in his her, based on his comments to her wall posts, how often he Facebook chats her, or if it appears he is dating other women.
As these are all assumptions, based on what is merely written and NOT communicated directly, this can create the fears, fantasies, and obsessive thinking that we are trying to “undo” as we learn to date with dignity.
Here are a few tips, then, to make sure that Social Media does NOT kill your Social Life:
1. Find something else to do at night! If you find yourself on Facebook engaging in …
…Instant Message Chats that last longer than a few moments with friends and potential partners
…are searching for the guy you met at the bar, in the bookstore, or at a friend’s party in order to “frind” him….
…are chatting up ex’es and looking at their photos
….or just looking at pictures of men you are interested in
and it takes more than 20-30 minutes each evening, guess what girls? It’s time to find a hobby! Pick up a book, hook up your DVR, call a girlfriend to meet for coffee, meditate, go to an exercise or dance class, or listen to an audio book. Whatever it is, begin to move away from the obsessive behavior that can results from truly being “addicted” to Facebook. Need help creating an “My Life After Facebook” action plan? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Remember, assumptions go both ways! Translation? Men who are checking you out on Facebook are thus also making HUGE assumptions about your character, interests, friends, and availability for partnership. In fact, your status update is a consistent headline that describes you and your values in 40 words or less. That said, become hyper-aware about the messages you are sending via status updates and the pictures you post.
For example, if you don’t want men to think you “party excessively”….
….don’t be the woman who consistently posts updates that intimate you are hungover — again.
….limit the number of “Happy Hour-Woohooo!!” updates you post per week.
….ensure that you have a variety of photos posted — not just those that involve you and the girls whooping it up at weekend bbqs or “at the bars” for Girls Night Out.
If you want men to perceive you as someone they would take home to mom (which, according to Man Panelists nationwide, is exactly what they are looking for when dating to find a relationship), make sure your pictures are not suggestive, inappropriate or overtly sexual…
…. don’t post pictures from the hot photo shoot you did at work last week, especially if you are wearing lingerie or short shorts.
….. DO post pictures of you with your family members, your travel photos, pics of you engaged in fitness activities, or pictures of you connecting with friends in a non-drinking atmosphere. Post photos that say who you are — not just photos that tell a story about what you do — (especially if they are photos that, when taken out of context, can portray an inaccurate image of you.)
…. DO post status updates and comments that reflect your authentic self. Interested in yoga? Post something interesting about the moment you had in Shavasana. Post something about a book you are reading, or a new recipe you tried. Post something that reflects your values.
Remember, Facebook is YOUR PERSONAL billboard.
What are you advertising? And, as important, what does your Facebook messaging say about you and the brand you are creating via each status update, wall comment, chat conversation and photo? Let me know your thoughts…I am eager to hear!