Question From a Reader:
Carlos - What is your take on social media and relationships/dating? Or the internet in general.
So much is at your fingertips nowadays! Should there be boundaries? If so, how do you make sure you both maintain them?
Is there anything that you think is completely off limits? Thank you!
- Caitlin P.
Thanks, Caitlin, for a great question...
Yes, in this day and age, we have new challenges that we never had before.
After all, back in the days of the early settlers, pilgrims rarely had to rush home from butter-churning to check and see if Abraham had updated his relationship status on Facebook.
Or if Beatrice was done washing her clothes on the rocks by the river.
We could debate about how things were better - or worse - back then, but it would just be academic. After all, social media is here to stay.
So there are some pros and cons to using social media, and effectively navigating the tricky waters of dating websites and online dating - and how to keep your relationship alive in the age of everyone knowing everything.
Here are 7 Secrets you should know - online dating tips for the 21st century...
Secret 1: Beware Facebook Envy
In a new study, as many as one in every three people who use social media like Facebook experience feelings of jealousy and envy after spending time on these sites. Let's call this new syndrome "Facebook Envy".
With the skyrocketing use of social media as our basic communication tool, there is increasing evidence that suggests there may be a correlation between how often a person uses social media and a direct connection to mental health problems.
The fact that a large percentage of people check Facebook before they even get out of their bed in the morning is a red flag indication of the social pressure and anxiety that has been created.
Facebook envy was most often experienced by women looking at postings or photographs related to family happiness or physical attractiveness.
So it's worth noting that you'll be tempted to view other people's posts as true accounts of the quality of their life, while not really seeing all the negative stuff that happens to them.
Don't let those beautiful pictures of your girlfriends with their boyfriends or husbands throw you either.
They may have a good relationship, but they also have their down moments and difficulties.
Secret 2: Don't Open Your Kimono Too Wide
It's often very tempting to update your status on a daily basis, and to comment on every post that someone puts up.
There's a reason we feel so free to "express ourselves" online, and that's the illusion of insulation.
This is where we feel that we're not really accountable for our words and opinions.
Witness, if you will, the comments left on most YouTube videos, if you need any proof. Yeah, it's kinda scary how easily people are drawn into bickering, name calling, and juvenile attacks.
So when you post online, remember that:
A) It's permanent - forever. Until they erase the Internet, I guess.
B) It's visible to anyone. You don't want your next possible employer seeing your comments, no matter how right you might think your opinions are.
So keep some of your comments to yourself, no matter how tempting it is to express your thoughts on something you read.
Remember the crude saying my dad shared with me: "Opinions are like rear ends, son. Everyone's got one."
Secret 3: If you're going to use an online dating service, use 3.
Yeah, I'm saying if you're going to start dating online, you need to go "all in" as my poker buddies say.
- If you use more than one service, you'll multiply your pool of available men by a huge factor. And since it's a numbers game anyway, it's a good idea to swing the odds in your favor.
- If you use multiple services, you'll figure out which one works best for you. One of them will naturally fit your style, whether it's match.com, Eharmony, Plenty of Fish, or others.
- If you have more options, you won't feel as demotivated if you have a slump on one service. Remember my motto: Multiple streams of Dating Income! You want as many possibilities working in your favor, and that makes it less likely you'll quit or have your attitude go sour.
Secret 4: Healthy Boundaries means a healthy perspective
Look, I know you're going to do it. You know you're going to do it, too.
What is "it"?
Inevitably you're going to Google your date. You can't help it.
Nor should you try, because it's a losing battle.
However, you should keep a few things in mind before you do:
- Remember: The story you think you're seeing isn't the whole story. Sure he might enjoy porn (sorry, ladies, every guy does), but that doesn't mean he's a bad guy at all. He's just ... normal.
- If you intend to search on him, and you come up with something that alarms you, first of all make sure you're really seeing something by or about HIM. The internet is global, and you've probably noticed that there are a lot of people with any given name. So be sure before you make a fatal accusation.
- Remember: He will probably also Google you. So think about the "story" he might imagine from that as well. It will help to keep that in mind when you're reading his. In fact, you might suggest a little "social review" if you find a guy you like, where you exchange info about your Internet past.
Secret 5: Keep An Eye Out For The Signals Of a Possible Scammer
As much as I'd like to only present the shiny fun side of dating online and using social media, it's just a given that there are a lot of scammers out there.
Here are a few signs to watch out for:
- Look for a lot of bad grammar and odd mistakes in his language
Most of the scam stuff is a non-English speaker having their words translated - poorly. So they're pretty easy to spot in extensive chats or emails.
- Falling for you a bit too quickly
Watch out for the scammer who's trying to move your relationship along way too fast.
Women tend to fall victim to thieves masquerading as older, distinguished guys, while men tend to be hoodwinked in by thieves pretending to be younger women.
- Any mention of money that seems a bit out of place
It goes without saying that if he's talking about money - yours or his - in a way that makes you leery, cut him off and even report him.
Secret 6: Keep your private information off limits to any dating site or social media
It's so easy these days for someone to come along and plunder your privacy simply by scraping information off your Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
So keep that information as "non-personal" as you can.
You also want to control how much information you reveal on any online dating web sites, as well as in your online dating profile.
Avoid any location specifics, or any details about your address, family members, etc.
As a culture, we've become a bit jaded to the concept of privacy, especially with a new hacker attack or other incursion on our privacy by governments and corporations. But it is still possible to maintain a healthy online profile if you just use some fairly simple tips.
Secret 7: If you need help using online dating successfully, get it...
It's easy to spin your wheels and not get anywhere, and then blame the online dating service, or even a social media platform for that lack of success.
Unfortunately, that's like just assuming you can get behind the wheel of a car without a little training.
Make sure you get coaching to help you succeed when you're using online dating sites. It will shorten the time it takes you to get success - and it will make sure you get the success you deserve.
Not only coaching, but learning the secrets of how men think.
In fact, you can easily read any man and understand what's going on with him - if you can read his signals.
I just put the finishing touches on a new program that can give you that understanding in just a couple hours - and will last a lifetime.
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