Social media has changed the dating game vastly compared to generations ago.

We now live in a world of instant gratification where people want things and they want them now, they’re not necessarily prepared to wait or work towards things and often times opt for the next best option that comes along. Social media plays a huge role in this and more so in the dating game, there are more options, more platforms, more ways of connecting with people than ever before and hence we have more choice available to us. Gone are the traditional days where women waited for a man to make the first move, nowadays and thanks to social media, women are taking the initiative and too putting themselves out there.

So what are some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to dating and social media?

The Do’s:

  • Be yourself, don’t put on a façade or try and be someone you’re not, people will quickly see through this as it’s unsustainable over the longer term.
  • Have a nice profile pic of your face and preferably smiling – we are naturally wired to connect with people’s faces and eyes, a smiling profile pic says you’re friendly and approachable.
  • Personal safety is key so ensure you have the necessary safety measures in place to protect yourself. Spend time getting to know someone before agreeing to meet with them, make sure your first meeting is in a public place and someone knows your whereabouts.
  • Before you go online dating or dating in general, you need to know what it is that you are looking for in a life partner – type of person, physical attributes, values, interests/hobbies, family and career aspirations, spirituality, financial values, bucket list items/goals/dreams etc. The more you know what you are looking for, the more you will realise it when someone fits that picture vs. dating the wrong people/getting into the wrong relationship or for the wrong reasons. It will save a lot of heart ache along the way.
  • Give someone a chance before throwing in the towel, generally after 3 dates you will have a good feeling about whether there is any relationship potential with the person you are engaging with.
  • Be honest – if you’ve met with someone and decided they’re not for you, tell them. In the long run we appreciate the honesty far more than being strung along or being ghosted!

The Don’ts:

  • Do not become a stalker or chase after someone – if they’re not interested, they’re not interested. Move on.
  • Don’t send inappropriate pictures of yourself or make sexual innuendos or derogatory remarks.
  • Don’t be late for your date, especially not the first one. First impressions last a long time.
  • Take care of your personal hygiene and how you dress – nothing is more off-putting than someone who has BO, looks like they crawled out of a wash basket or is wearing too revealing clothing.
  • Don’t spend your entire date talking about your Ex.
  • Don’t date on the rebound, if you’re looking to get over someone by using someone else – that’s really not cool and only ends up hurting people.

After the date, message and thank the person for the date but don’t barrage them with umpteen messages. If the person wants to see you again, they will let you know.

How to make your relationship work in the age of social media

  • Be real – in other words be yourself
  • Manage your expectations – it takes time to build a real connection with someone, you may have to date a few people first before you meet someone that sparks some kind of connection with you.
  • Don’t expect fireworks from the go. Really get to know a person before you judge them unfairly.
  • Don’t go seeking a perfect man/woman; seek a man/woman who respects him/herself enough to project the respect they have for themselves.
  • Drop the drama, find out who you are and what qualities make you a great catch, and present these to a prospective catch who will see you for the great catch you are.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to online dating – chat away all you want but at some point you either have to take it to the next step and meet the person or move on. You can’t keep stringing people along if you are not interested or have no real intentions of following through.

Social media platforms are different to online dating platforms so be conscious of which platform you are using and for what reasons. If you’re not ready to date then don’t go onto an online dating site, rather stick to FB, Instagram and Snapchat where you can chat and engage with your friends, share updates and like/follow each other’s posts.

Lastly, have fun in the process!

Paula Quinsee is a Relationship Expert, Tedx speaker and author of Embracing Conflict. She works with individuals and organisations to cultivate healthy relationships in both their personal and professional arenas by focusing on personal growth and development, emotional skills, behaviour profiling and more. This article is adapted from the original one that appeared in True Love Magazine June 2018

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