By Eileen Lee
On a recent visit to the popular social networking site, Facebook, I came across a message from a certain Mr “Lee Sharpe”. It read, “Hey, you are pretty! Can we be friends? Can I take you out to dinner sometime?” Out of curiosity, I clicked on his profile. This Mr Sharpe bore no resemblance whatsoever to ex-Manchested United player Lee Sharpe; instead, he looked decidedly Asian, pudgy and had a list of over 300 (mostly females in come-hither poses) friends.
Needless to say, I deleted the message. This is a classic example of how a footballer name-on-loan, dubious buddy list and cheesy pick-up line will certainly not get you the girl you’ve been secretly stalking for the last few weeks on Facebook. Even online, girls would want a guy to stick to the basic rules and display finesse like a true gentleman.
First, be aware that the photos you post speak volumes about yourself. Delete those images of yourself in compromising (drunken/greasy-looking/with-your-pantsdown) types of situations because they are not going to help you score any points. In other words, make sure your pictures portray you in a neutral (if not positive) light and not someone who can’t be taken seriously or is simply waiting to score.
The people on your list of friends (it doesn’t matter how close you are to them) also make a telling difference. Girls are typically wary of guys with too many gal pals. If 389 out of your 400 friends are female, you’re probably either George Clooney or a desktop lothario.
What about the guys who are already attached? Chances are, your girlfriend wouldn’t want to discover that you have way more female friends than they do. So strike off those you’ve not spoken to in years. (If that’s the case, they probably wouldn’t count as your “friends” anyway.)
This brings us to the million-dollar question: What about the exes? Tread carefully, depending on how receptive your girlfriend is towards you being friends with your ex. If she maintains she’s not comfortable with it, then the adage “out with the old” would serve well in this instance.
And don’t go sneaking behind her back sending flirty “gifts” to your ex either. Facebook is a place we all live out our inner Sherlock Holmes. Don’t feed your current squeeze the temptation of visiting your page or your ex’s page on a regular basis to see if there has been any action on either party’s part. It’s not worth stirring up an argument or risking your relationship over something that’s history. Flirty messages or Superpokes from the ex might drive her antsy, so save yourself the trouble and lay those old skeletons to rest.
With all that said, there are a number of ways you can make Facebook work for you. Friends of mine have said (and I agree) that an honest gesture of friendship is always best. We can sense what’s sleazy and what’s not. I have not declined friend requests that come minus the extra slick. If you’re keen on interacting with that cute girl who’s your friend’s colleague, drop her a note that reads sincere. A simple “Hi, I saw you on Joe’s list of friends and I was wondering if we could be friends?” is a good start. The point here is to try, but not too hard.
Alternatively, find a talking point to help you spark off a conversation. For example, “Hello, I couldn’t help but notice the picture you were in. Was that taken in Italy? I’ve always wanted to go and seeing you in this picture convinced me I should! Care to tell me more?” might just be the start of a beautiful friendship. Used the right way, Facebook can work wonders in widening your social circle and cementing your friendships. Sign up if you haven’t and send her that growing candy heart already.