Dating rules for the digital age

To "friend request" or not "friend request"? We have the answer...

Dating has always been an intricate dance, but the Internet has brought a whole new level of complications. Before we were ignorant to how tangled our love lives were, but now, thanks to Facebook, we know our new crush is best mates with our high school BF. Awkward.

Sure, it’s easier than ever to meet someone but do you “friend request” him now or later? We asked dating coach and matchmaker Samantha Jayne from Blue Label Life to update us on the dating rules for the digital age.

Dating rules for Facebook

Don’t over share. You might feel like you two will be forever, but if things don’t pan out, do you really want to explain to everyone where your new “love” disappeared to? Even if you are excited in the early days, limit your info.

Avoid posting your relationship status on Facebook. It goes without saying that posting your love dramas (“Fighting again. Why is he such a jerk?”) is just super awks. But even setting your status to “in a relationship” can be troublesome. You never know how a relationship will pan out. Do you need a thousand concerned phone calls when you change your status to single? There are lots of people who are happily married without a status confirming it. The same applies for dating.

Let him request you. In the early dating phase, always wait for him to “friend request” you before you do. If he’s interested in you, he will. It might seem exciting to have access to all this potential data on him. But it goes both ways. Do you want to him reading all your past posts before you’re ready? Things can be misinterpreted on FB too, so try to spend some face-to-face time with him before you take the digital friendship leap.

Avoid making too many comments on his page or liking everything he posts. It’ll appear like you’re stalking him.

Wait until your boyfriend puts a photo of the two you up as his Facebook profile before you do! There is no rush. You have plenty of time to make your friends sick from your smug love photo uploads.

Facebook Ex-factor

Make a clean break. Just as you would in the non-digital world, “de-friend” your ex even if it’s just for a while. You'll be too tempted to check him out and vice versa. Everyone likes to present a glowing my-life-is-awesome image on Facebook, so he won’t be posting tormented selfies anyway.

Don’t use Facebook as a tool for getting back at the ex. It will rarely have the desired effects and don’t you have better things to do - like being fabulous?

Likewise, avoid constantly posting Facebook status updates. It’ll appear like you’ve nothing else to do and something to prove.

Online dating: how to win him over online

Repeat after me: flirt, flirt, flirt. It’s so important to flirt online, even more than you would face-to-face. There is so much competition in the E-world and people aren’t always portraying themselves honestly. You almost need a marketing plan. A lot of your humour and vibrancy can be lost in emails, so it doesn’t hurt to ham it up a little bit.

Be playful and not too serious. Contact in the virtual world is very different from your corporate work emails. Re-read what you’ve written and make sure you don’t sound too stuffy.

Keep your emails short, sweet and mysterious. Don't tell him your life story; there is plenty of time for that late (hopefully). Give him the opportunity to ask you out - you don’t want to get to the date and realise there is nothing to discuss.

If he’s not taking the bait:

Samantha’s story:

“I had a girlfriend that was frustrated with a guy as they kept emailing back and forth online. I said to her ok, "What can you do to get what you want and change your situation?"

Focus on your common ground. Instead of toing and froing on email I said to her go for the kill, your frustrated anyway so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Men today need direction from women! They are not psychic and he probably thought the same way she did.

So we wrote her next email. It was short and sweet and very cheeky:

Hello Mr Sailor, (he loved sailing)

I love the sounds of your Christmas party and your family sound incredible.

(Acknowledge his email)

A little bird tells me the ice-cream is incredible at Ben and Jerry's in the next time your around I'd love to share a chocolate mocca almond fudge. (Be cheeky and suggestive)

Better run I'm off to the beach with the girls then off to a party tonight. (He loved the beach too – it’s all about tempting him with common ground and mentioning the party made him think of competition. This painted a picture of what life would be like with her, adventurous and fun!)

Have a sparkling day!(fresh, fun and fabulous way to sign off)

Amanda x

As a result of her short and direct email he responded immediately asking her out to dinner. (Or course, she waited a day to respond with my advice). It has been happy days since then!”

The digital realm may have added a lot of complications but it’s also brought with it a lot of opportunities. So why don’t you have some fun with it?

What are your digital dating rules?