Okay kids, it is time for another class. This time we will be focusing on Dating which is why we need a part A and B to address the romance and inevitable break up and how to conduct yourself throughout with both dignity and class.
Yes, young love is in the air and of course you want to share it with the world, namely your 742 bestest friends from facebook, and what better way than to update your status, update your profile picture, and write gushy/semi salacious comments on your significant other's wall...
Sadly the internet has taken romance back light years to Jr. High when you thought everyone cared that you had held hands on your local school bus. No one cared then, and most of your 742 friends are not interested now. Here are some handy guidelines for internet usage while you are dating.
Rule #1: State you are indeed 'In a relationship'
I feel that it is best practice to let people know that you are in a relationship, especially if you use social networking sites to troll for men/women. This is up front, honest and pertinent information. You are not required to tell us who you are dating, if you don't feel like it. I was mutual friends with a couple who had dated and been dating for a few years. They never felt the need to update, most of their friends knew who they were dating and according the the male half of said relationship "Anyone who doesn't know who my girlfriend is, is probably someone who I wouldn't want stalking her on facebook, anyway." Conversely, I knew another couple who were dating, she blissfully announced who she was dating, but he never had the courtesy to update his status to show that he was dating her. I think we all see where I am going with this. He would add friends continually and did not want them to know that he was off the market... crash, and burn, to that touching relationship.
Rule #2: Do not post pictures of 'The Kiss'
We SO don't care. My friend has a theory (which I sadly witnessed first hand at a production of Fiddler on the Roof, recently) that only ugly people engage in over-the-top PDA--when I say over the top, let me clarify, anything that would be inappropriate to do in front of children, or your grandma. A nice kiss here and there, some hand holding, the ole arm around... no harm there. But when you are going beyond that level, you have something to prove. Just like the uglies, making out to show that they could, indeed, find someone to mate with. Congrats to them, but not something I want to watch-- Therefore, don't update your profile pic to a gratuitous picture of the two of you kissing. You are trying too hard, and yes, I am judging you.
Rule #3: Keep it simple and don't reveal 'Too Much Information'
We've established at this modern day and age everyone has a blog and everyone wants to share every single detail with the world... when you are dating, this is tricky. Sure, you've just met that special guy/girl who convinces you that you don't utterly hate humanity as a whole, and you want to share that. I get it, and I hate to crash the wonderful bubble which you and 'the one' have insulated yourselves against reality, but most relationships do not work out. I'd give you a statistic, but most statistics are manipulated, and I think more of you, dear regular readers of CPR, than that. Just trust me, of the people I dated, was interested in, stalked, was stalked by, etc, I only ended up marrying one of them... and that is as it should be. Using the assumption that you are all reasonable adults and would one day like to settle down with ONE person hoping that it works out, I say, use some common sense people. Show some respect for yourself and that future ONE PERSON by not plastering your blog, facebook, twitter etc with information about your current boyfriend/girlfriend that no one needs or wants to know. Please, do not ask for examples, because I could rip them from blogs and status pages and it would be embarassing to both you and I. Just trust me on this one. Less is more. Personal things should probably go to that personal recepticle you call your 'journal' or your 'poetry notebook' or your 'angry chick guitar ballads' (yes, I am talking about myself here). Leave the rest of your image nice and clean for any other person who might want to date you in the future when you and snookie pie inevitably break up.
I have been posed several questions that I will touch on but that didn't merit specific rules.
What about internet dating?
I honestly have no idea. I have never found the need myself, though understand why others have chosen that avenue. I would be highly skeptical of ANY information listed on any dating site including/but not limited to profile pictures and liberal use of the phrase 'athletic physique'. Be cautious, and above all, discriminating.
Should I add my girlfriend's family as friends?
Ummm... I wouldn't, but depending on the situation it might be 100% okay to add or accept friendship invitations from the family of the person you are dating. Just be aware, we will be addressing this during part B.
Is facebook/blog/twitter stalking acceptable?
Hmm... I am torn. On the one hand, knowledge is power, on the other, seeking that knowledge makes you look desperate, but you might be desperate so it is really your call. I think people fall into the trap of LIVING via the new social media/networking as opposed to having real conversations with people face to face, and I think that is dangerous. I think we lose something in a relationship when you are having a casual conversation with someone who you have previously stalked and you ask "What is your favorite book?" already knowing from various stalkings that it is none other than Peyton Manning's new tell all football book. It just seems contrived and false. That being said, I love nothing better than facebook stalking people that I am not even remotely interested in because then I never have to bother hearing about the Paris vacation. I have seen the pics and read their blog. Done and done.
Stay tuned for Part B. I have also enlisted some guest bloggers to go through what an engagement should look like, and also usage in the professional sphere.