Social Media Etiquette for Online Dating

Social Media Etiquette for Online DatingOlivia was thrilled when a guy messaged her back on

He was the only match she actually liked out of the dozens kept throwing at her. She couldn’t figure out how their algorithm thought she’d like these guys with their bushy beards, serial-killer scowls, haughty smiles, or bare chests.

She just wanted to see someone who looked nice. Like he didn’t have a chip on his shoulder or an unsavory agenda.

So when this match came up—let’s call him Jack—Olivia felt a wave of relief. Look! A guy actually smiling at the camera in a normal, friendly way.

She noticed that his photo had been done by a photographer, but she didn’t care. She thought it showed professionalism. Reading his profile, she noticed the same attention to detail. This guy was cute, literate, entertaining, and—hooray!—grammatically correct.

So when a message from him popped up on her screen, she already knew they’d be great together.

They exchanged emails and started chatting. He told her what he did for a living and sent a link to his company website so she could verify his identity. She appreciated that. A man who made sure she felt safe—a true gentleman!

They arranged a date for the following weekend.

One morning, she logged into her social media account when a notification popped up. Jack had asked to be added as a friend.

Hmm. Her brow furrowed. She hadn’t given him her social media details. He must have done a search for her name. She didn’t like the idea that he’d get his first impression of her from social media rather than a face-to-face meeting, but she supposed she could add him. Maybe he wanted to check her out, too.

When the big day arrived, Olivia was excited. She bounced into the restaurant where Jack was waiting. He stood up to greet her. He seemed polite but reserved.

He must be nervous, she thought. Surely he’d chill out when he realized she wasn’t going to bite his head off.

As the evening wore on, it became clear that Jack wasn’t the winner she hoped he’d be. He was a nice guy, to be sure, but they had very different views and lifestyles.

Olivia woke up the next morning feeling sad but resigned. There wasn’t going to be another date.

As she logged into her social media account, she realized she had a different problem. What was she going to do about the fact that she’d friended him? Wouldn’t it be rude to delete him?

Dating and social media are a minefield.

Should you friend someone you’ve never met in person?

Should you get the social media details of the guys you meet online, so you can check them out in advance?

Is it appropriate to like or comment on his posts if you haven’t even met each other yet?

Tricky questions.

Luckily, we now have some answers.’s annual “Singles in America” survey asked 5000 singles about appropriate social media etiquette, and this is what they found.[1]

  1. Don’t move the conversation to social media until you’ve passed the first date test.

Even though it may not be as convenient, don’t go off the online dating site/app until you’ve met in person. Save the direct messages for once you know you’ll be seeing more of each other.

  1. You can check him out on social media, as long as you don’t leave a trace.

Of course you’re going to want to see what kind of person he is before meeting him. So go ahead, do a search for his name. Check out his social media. Just don’t leave any likes or comments.

  1. Don’t submit a friend request before you’ve met.

Nearly 80% of singles don’t think it’s appropriate to friend someone on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat before the first date. Why? Well, it’s hard to disappear from someone’s life if you’ve already let them in the front door.

  1. Save couple photos for when you’re really a couple.

So you had a great first date and took a super-cute selfie of the two of you hanging out. Should you post it on social media and tag him? 40% of singles say “nope!” Wait until you’re really seeing each other before posting couple pics. Even better, ask him if he minds you posting it.

  1. Don’t go official on social media until you’ve had The Talk.

You’re not a couple if you’ve just been on a few dates together. Wait to make it “Facebook official” until you’ve discussed going public with your relationship. And that includes changing your profile pic to a couple pic or changing your relationship status.

Not everybody has the same feelings about sharing their love life with the world. That’s why it’s best to keep your budding connection off social media until you both agree it’s time.


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2 thoughts on “Social Media Etiquette for Online Dating

  1. Pam said:

    Dear James,
    I have a question that doesn’t seem to be addressed on your site. And here it is-
    What is the reason that a man who is 57 and has never been married won’t consider marriage when he is Christian, says that he is in love with me, loves me, treats me with respect and kindness and we are aligned in every way shape and form? Spiritually, philosophically, sense of humor, work ethic, food likes/dislikes, physically, EVERYTHNG! We were together for 3 years, (albeit long distance-Denver/Orlando) but we flew to see each other EVERY single month. And for those 3 years, he called me EVERY single night and our conversations lasted 1-4 hours… we would laugh, talk, share… it was great. But at the beginning of our relationship he said he only wanted something light and breezy… however, again he called ME every night… I NEVER called him… and he told me he loved me every day as we hung up the phone at midnight. We never had an argument … EVER… the only disagreement we had was that I started asking him WHY wouldn’t he just commit to me for the long term and he said he didn’t want that. He had gotten engaged twice but those didn’t work out to marriage. I am now devastated as over the Xmas holidays (and I had said this before) that we were at a crossroads as I told him I would be willing to move to Denver but he said it was too much pressure on him. Any advice? I am so heartbroken as he was and is the love of my life. He doesn’t call me any more as he broke up with me in January right after Christmas and after showering me with such nice Christmas gifts… I call him periodically and we talk… I told him just yesterday that I know he misses me and he says that he just doesn’t “go there” What is this? Why would he be so attentive from the long distance for 3 years, so loving, kind sweet and relationship centric and then just not commit? I don’t get it? Any insight is welcome!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Pam. Your story is so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. As I read your comment, I find myself wondering a couple of things:

      (1) If he read your message here, would he 100% agree with it? Would he add anything to it?
      (2) Have you ever noticed any indications that he might be gay? I know you said there was a good match physically, but I still wonder about that.
      (3) Did he ever tell you his thought process about breaking off the two engagements? It may reveal something about his thoughts/feelings on commitment.
      (4) If he was enjoying the relationship, what was his reason for wanting to break up? Was it at the point where he realized you wanted something more?

      I wish you weren’t going through this pain. Thanks for letting us be a part of your journey. Feel free to reach out to our relationship coaches in the private forum.

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