It's time for another GuySpeak/GirlSpeak, the most bipartisan debate in America right now. Over at Guyspeak, girls write in and ask real guys real questions. Together, a Guyspeak guy and I pick one of the questions and each answer it the only way we know how: correctly. Sometimes we agree, usually we don't, but either way you get two sets of advice for the price of one. This week's question:
This week, Panama and Emily take on Facebook stalking. It kind of makes sense -- you meet someone new, you're flirtatiously friended by him, and you're interested. Is it OK to explore all the information that he offered up by friending you, or should you get to know him the old-fashioned way? What is the old-fashioned way these days, anyhow? Read on to see what we think ...
Yes, I think that you're crazy. Psycho, actually. While I understand the desire to peruse buckets of information to help you make a more informed decision about somebody you're interested in, the fact is, Facebook isn't how you do it, darlin'. You only really get to know somebody by TALKING to him and being around him.
Facebook is only going to give you a prorated version of the person of your affections. Unless you see the dude standing around with AK-47s and AR-15s rocking a headband with a Swastika and a goofy mustache, how much are you really going to ascertain about him, especially whether or not he's a good dude?
Similarly, just because you see him hugging a puppy and saving some sea lions, it doesn't mean that he's your knight in shining armor. Heck, he put up those pics because it made him look good. Ever seen someone put up pics of him slaughtering cattle or standing in front of a bunch of whips and chains?
Further, just because he doesn't have a wall filled with comments that start out "B*tch, where is my money" or "I aww skeet skeeted all over your daddy's Volvo" doesn't mean he doesn't do those things. Emily thinks that a Facebook profile helps you get to know somebody, and on a completely superficial level, I think that's true. I suppose knowing that you went to Harvard Business School tells me SOMETHING about your study habits.
Or maybe it doesn't at all.
*cough* George W. Bush *cough*
I know our human nature inclines us to do as much info-seeking as possible, particularly in a place as vast and (potentially) informative as the Internet. Shucks, I've Googled myself twice since I started writing this. I just want to know who I am. But I already know me -- I'm just filling in the gaps. For somebody you don't know, Facebook is only going to tell you what they want you to see. A smart man would temper his profile so that he can get a job someday. You won't know if he's a good guy until you actually get to know him.
So stalk away, sister. Just realize that if you go looking for drama, you will find it. So why not give human interaction a try. Anything less is uncivilized.
All right Panama, I get it -- you think Facebook stalking is insane. But I can't live in such a black and white world. It's 2010, and checking out someone's online presence is pretty much a requirement for dating.
However, I will agree that with great stalking opportunities comes great responsibility. Here are a few cardinal rules to online stalking a potential mate that you must keep in mind.
First, I'm really glad this potential crush friended you on Facebook, because Rule #1 is that stalking without a friend request is not allowed. It's like rifling through someone's things when they're not home.
Rule #2 is that any information you glean from someone's Facebook profile about his interests must never be referenced in person. Sure, you can be aware that this guy is into Tarantino movies and Indian food, but those are just facts. Wait for it to come up in conversation and find out the context of his love for samosas. Nothing stops witty banter like "Yeah, I read that on your profile!" And if your interactions are going so awkwardly that you need to say something like "So I read on your profile that you like hiking," go ahead and hit the eject button on the courtship.
Rule #3 for Facebook stalking is that you cannot make any assumptions about any pictures or comments that you may see. Sure, you may file away somewhere deep in your brain that "Lissa" is in a lot of his pictures with her arm around him, but you cannot be suspicious or dejected because of that information. Again, what Facebook lacks is context, and context can only be found out with real live interacting, sans Blackberry interruptions.
Rule #4 goes all the way back to "The Brady Bunch." Remember that episode where Marcia had a crush on Harvey, the boy who loved bugs? Marcia spent the whole episode pretending to love bugs in order to get Harvey to like her, only to learn the lesson that a boy should like you for who you are, or else it's not worth it. Don't start "liking" the same pages your crush likes in order to fake a connection. Besides, it's hard to fake-like UFC or single malt whiskey.
Rule #5 is a simple one, but if you see anything on this guy's profile that strikes you as a red flag ("liking" racist fan pages, bragging about how many women he bangs, expressing that "The Marriage Ref" is his favorite show), remember that you have every right to nip things in the bud right then. Just make sure not to be too sensitive with your red flags.
Online social networking has really added a lot of layers to dating, but when used appropriately, it can really help you in the beginning stages of courtship. Happy stalking, but remember: The difference between Facebook stalking and hanging out with someone is as huge as reading the stats on a car and test driving it. Do your research and then take this guy for a spin!
What do you think?
Do you agree with Emily's rules or is your thinking more in line with Panama's? Leave your comments below or tweet to us @Lemondroptweets
with the tag #FBdatingrules -- we think there's a lot to say about this topic.
And as always, if you have a question you want both genders to take a shot at answering, head over to Guyspeak
and ask -- it might end up back here!