Proper Facebook Etiquette

#2041 I still feel young and naive

Thursday 6th September, 2012

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Dear Dr M,

I think I am (finally) in need of your advice. Over the past month or so I have left the secluded spaces of scholarship and tried to live a little in the summer sun (clearly not in the UK). Three gentlemen in particular smiled at me during my travels, but the ensuing social media interaction has been most confusing.

Mr X googled my name after a fleeting conversation on a plane and has been in touch for a while, without, however, a clear proposition, though he subsequently eagerly accepted an invitation I made to afternoon tea.

Mr Y, after a couple of impromptu dinner & drinks, asked a friend for my email – but got the wrong one so I never got his message; however, when I (quite a bit) later found out and got in touch he did not respond.

And Mr Z, who was all charms while we were (briefly) acquainted, has not accepted my facebook friend request (though his buddies have!), nor replied to the added message.

Can I safely interpret each as case studies of: X: keen but shy guy, clear potential, if I am entrepreneurial about it; Y: initially interested, but a technological blip got in the way and he has now turned his attention elsewhere; and for Z: I should have played by ‘The Rules’, not got in touch, and he would now be calling me every evening?

I appreciate your advice, I still feel young and naive in matters of the virtual heart, but does the usual etiquette apply? – Ideally I would ask my close boy buddies for their comparable experience, but I fear they are too immature to be suitable advisers.

From a respected Astute Academic.

Ah, the murky world of mediated communication with a little bit of titillation; this at once involves a *wink. And then… Nothing for ever more [insert large clap of thunder, and feel the chill wind rush past your body, or the draft of the laptop]

Those aren’t goosebumps, those are Googlebumps as other ‘suitors’ aside from Mr X also Google and prod you across the Social Media.   This is what I call penetrative flirting. This is that level of flirtation that intrudes (nearly) into your social world, and then just as quickly disappears. Leaving you acutely aware of a slight element of fraud-ish behaviour (if not invasion); from what was ‘promised’ or at least proposed; compared with what actually was on the cards and has/n’t emerged.

This is centuries old ‘stuff’. Friends of mine have also ‘recommended’ The Rules. How utterly depressing and inappropriate. Note [ladies] that both these authors have at least one set of Divorce in their lives. So The Rules clearly do work – if your aim is to ‘get’ a husband. However, they fail to deliver on long-term happiness, or to even keep a husband for longer than a few months. And quite frankly anyone who falls for such game-ry are not the type of partner you would want anyway.

Obviously you are a well traveled and distinguished young lady. I can imagine a meeting of eyes and minds across crowded spaces, your wit and charm gaining any mans attention, so they hunt and track you down. Then, nothing. Here you incur the wrath of any level of inconsistent communication. In the moments you met it is unlikely there was time for a cross-examination of who/what/where they were. Yes, you could get through some splendid getting to know you topics, but their real, note ‘real’ background might be more murky.  Take Mr X, sounds married. Mr Y, poor imagination and poorer show. Mr Z, disconnected, or has shaved his head and is living in Peru where there is not this thing called wifi. Yet. So he send his friends to entice your interest.

Seriously though, there is much up for interpretation here. ‘Afternoon tea’; I like this invitation, it is always a good ‘test’ of the male skill of being ‘seen’ in public spaces, and how a chap tackles his scone will say much for how he likes his jam spread. If this is enough metaphor for you.  There are what we can term as ‘generalised social attitudes’ which make an organised self possible. Across social media, there are certain ways of acting under situations which are essentially identical to those we know about in the pub, but fail to arrive with a G&T. These ways of acting on the part of the heart may excite us, whilst at the same time completely overwhelm those we are in communication with. Add mix a strong sense of smarts, wit and a sexy walk (or Profile) – well then you are just too much.

So my response is this; you are too much for these chaps. They prefer the more mundane common response in the community in which they live, and such responses are what we term ‘boring’ and do not come with scones. In the case of Mr Z, I wonder if his friends might be of more suitable game for you hunt; one would expect them to act out and to carry on the dance of social behaviour, and who are you a woman in demand to turn them down.

Any introduction and invitation in its best sense ought to express a natural courtesy to everyone else. Mr X, Y and Z need to leave aside their oppressive, stereotyped, ultraconservative replies – which by their more of less rigid and inflexible unprogressiveness do come across as rather tedious. So unless they are hideously good-looking, or fabulously wealthy I’d take a look at any Mr A, B and C’s.

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