It seems simple enough: those with social media accounts share their thoughts, accomplishments, banal interactions, and cat GIFs from Reddit with anyone who will be their internet friend. However, when it comes to the person you’re dating, social media can be precarious. It’s complicated enough to have access to someone via texts, phone calls, and email, but having access to their random thoughts, images of their lunch, and the number of times they’ve checked in at the dumpling place on their block is a bit much when your interaction is new.
There are few ways you can make sure you’re not following the person you’re into too soon. And keep in mind, these don’t necessarily have to go in order.
After The Second Date
Cool it on the social media. Technically, you don’t even really know this person. We all know that people Google each other before they go on a first date (unless they’re on Catfish) but do you really want to hear about someone’s day via tweets and Facebook statuses when the goal of going on dates is to get to know that someone – in person? Unless you’re a high school senior with the ability to have your cell phone taken away when you’re grounded, Facebook and Twitter serve no purpose when you’re just getting to know someone.
Hazards: None, unless the person you like is social media dependent and can’t separate life from the internet. This person may have issues with actual social interaction. Run.
After You Sleep With The Person
Add them on Twitter but not Instagram if you’re so inclined. As someone who uses Twitter as a professional tool, I do find it a little strange to add someone on Twitter as a part of dating, but hey, if you’re willing to let that person touch your private parts, it’s probably okay for them to see your thoughts on last night’s episode of Scandal or the weird thing you saw at the airport this morning.
Hazard: Twitter is the quickest way to annoy someone who doesn’t know you all that well yet. Unless you’re sure you’d be okay with hanging out with the other person for an entire day, knowing they’ve got an incurable case of word vomit, you may want to hold off until you’ve done that in real life, too.
When You’re Comfortable Saying You’re ‘Seeing Someone”‘But You’re Not Yet Ready To Be Exclusive
As long as you actually want to see this person again, go ahead and add them on Facebook. It could seem like a lot to offer up, but it’s an equal step for both parties since it requires friend requests – unlike Twitter, which is public and completely creepable. You both have to take a leap of faith that says “Since we’ve seen each other naked more than once, you can probably handle my embarrassing high school and college photos now.”
Hazards: If you’ve slept with the person, but aren’t exclusive, be aware that there may be other Facebook suitors and potential someones in the mix. Facebook stalk cautiously and try not to get jealous.
When You’re Exclusive With Someone
Go ahead, add them on Gchat and if it’s your thing, Snapchat. Gchat takes some of the pressure off of your interactions – fleeting instant messages in the middle of the day are easy and breezy. Just try not to narrate your day for the new person in your life; you should probably doing some work anyway, right?
Snapchat is fun because it implies something a little naughty (after all, those images only last for five seconds, people), but it doesn’t require anything sexual. Just make sure you have an actual conversation with your new Snapchat buddy about whether or not they’re up for sexy pics before you opt for a topless (or bottomless) selfie over a clothed one.
Hazard: If you’ve got a chatty Cathy or other variation of over-sharer on your hands, just be aware that this could result in a lot of work time distraction. Just be open and tell your new special someone that you’ve got a big project/meeting/etc. and you need a Gchat break. If they’re normal, they’ll get it.
When You Start Calling Someone Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend
Then, and only then, should you add that person on Foursquare and Instagram. Instagram seems harmless, but it’s often used as visual Foursquare, with people giving away their whereabouts via picture. If you’re the sort of person who’s attached to either of these social media platforms, you know how quickly they can out you for telling your boss a little white lie about being sick when you’re really sampling every flavor of ice cream at a diner you found on your awesome last-minute, spontaneous road trip. These two can get you into some hot spots with the person you’re dating, too.
Unless you’re at the point at which the other person knowing your whereabouts at most moments of the day, hold off on these ones.
Hazard: None, unless you’re doing something you shouldn’t.