#753 Knowing the limits: Have I gone too far on Facebook?
Thursday 23rd July, 2009
Also he appears all the time on my Facebook feed in the ‘People You May Know’ list. After I posted my comments on Flickr he sent me back a really quick response saying thanks and all that. So a few days later I messaged him on Flickr and sent him a Friend Request on Facebook. Both of which he replied to, but without accpeting my Friend link. I’m perplexed. What’s going on. Does he like me? Have I gone too far?
I should add that none of my friends know that I’m gay, and this is my first time pursusing someone like this.
For most of us – and I include myself here – the nuances of interaction and person-to-person communication are full of complications with subtle variations and consequences. These can be unexpecedly strong, compelling and form (for the most part) a necessary part of our everyday social lives. So far, so without pitfalls. Just. HOWEVER, as your dilemma hints the things that occur when we’re poking on Facebook, commenting on Flickr etc. are not, nor should they be, dismissed as purely ‘cyber’ friendly. In fact what happens, or as is more often the case, what doesn’t happen, have at their heart very real life consequences. A form of which you are experiencing with your anticipated sense of wanting to make a connection with this guy, and his un/reply to you.
Thus far, you have nothing to be ashamed of with how you have conducted yourself – and you should be applauded for not falling into needy stalker territory. It is not like you are seeking to follow the guy round uni, or are overcompensating for desire with a deluge of inappropriate messages. Keep at the heart of your intentions the utmost diligence, respect and consideration for another and these are steps that are to be admired.
At times it is all too easy to forget through friendships that are initially pursued on the web (even with a offline context such as the same uni.) that there are various social negotiations – hoops if you will – that one has to leap through in order to establish a reasonable level of communication and contact. In short, what you seek is a reciprocated and mutually shared friendship. So far you have only an indication of his recognition through a ‘quick response’ – was this extensive? or just a friendly/polite ‘hello’ to your comments on Flickr?
I am inclined to say that your approach reveals a shy side, it is creative and subtle, but perhaps too subtle for his notification to acknowledge you as a Friend – which could explain why he has not accepted your Friend Request. It may also be that his criteria for accepting friends on Facebook is different from your own – perhaps he would feel more comfortable with an in-person introduction. Be very careful if you do decide to approach in this way. At this stage you are essentially strangers.
It can be frustrating that one cannot always predict how the other person will react or receive a prompt via Facebook. Your intention may be implicit in the content – so your comments on Flickr were intended to open up the friendship field of discussion with a (think Monica from Friends) easy breezey: ‘hi there, this is an introduction to me, oh btw love your pictures’. Such comments could also be interpreted as ‘hi, yeah you don’t me, and this isn’t intended to be, but could be desperate/stalkerish, can we now be friends?’ request. Eeek.
What I am suggesting is that the same message can be interpreted a number of different ways – especally when we consider how these also come in a number of guises e.g. a Facebook Wall Post, email, blog comment etc.
The best Mission Operandi is to let things take their own turn, be prepared for the possibilities of the unexpected – or rather misdirected – as you seek to establish a connection. On your side the attraction is strong. On his, you may fall below the line of interest/ing.
In short the mutual acknowledgement of a friendship or even your ‘hey we know each other’ may take time and involve a co-present meeting – as you do down the pub, around uni etc. Then this can lead to more formal set of relations beyond being ‘just acquaintences’ and hopefully (from your point of view) a friendship which will carry forward into a romance.
From what you have described it sounds like he has kept a distance, not becuase he is rude, or self-serving, but that he is already caught up with his friends, activities etc. In a similar situation (and I have been) the advice to me has been ‘he’s just that into you’. Harsh. But honest, and you know where you stand.
In terms of how to conduct yourself from here on in, continue by being open. You may want to push things with a ‘hi’ greeting next time you see him in-person at uni. Then you have a much better idea of his response as we reveal ourselves more by our body, rather than Facebook, language.
In short keep things genuiene and non-freaky. Generally one cannot, nor should, force these things along. Keep it open, keep it light, keep it casual.
As an aside, that you state you are ‘gay’, has no influence on how you sh/could pursue this friendship. Such incidences are as full of dilemmas for us heterosexuals too.Tweet