Do you think that’s his kid or like, a nephew?

She has 3000 friends and I only have 300. She’s going to think I’m a loser!

She posts selfies often, so she must be a narcissist.

He hasn’t called me but I see he has time to post on Instagram.

Should I even send her a friend request, or is that just creepy?

Social media has completely changed the rules of the dating game. In the past you would be set up by friends and family or simply meet and arrange a date. Ultimately, the person within was a complete mystery and every time you would meet another piece would be put together. These days, most don’t even go on a date without a Google search at a minimum; and some go as far as checking pictures on Facebook that go back years! The combination of accessibility and curiosity can lead to snap judgments. Before deciding whether you like someone even before meeting them in-person, check out the new rules for dating in the era of social media.

1.  Don’t add your date to your social networks...yet

We used to wait until the date to see our crush but social media has given us a window to see who we want, when we want. However, let’s leave some mystery and stay safe while dating. First, you don’t want to add every person you have had one date with. You never know how people will interact with your friends and family or how they will take it if you don’t reciprocate feelings.

Also, if you are head over heels you do not want to get in a habit of online stalking, stressing out about what status updates mean, or analyzing hash tags. Let’s not complicate dating unnecessarily!

2.  Don’t judge based on social media

Social media can definitely offer insight but don’t let it be the judge of the person you are dating. You may see that your date’s friend tagged him in a drunken, party picture from Vegas. For all you know this was a once in a lifetime trip he had to be talked into, not his dream vacation. Or you see a picture of your date with kids and assume they are hers but she could just be proudly posing with her nieces and nephews. Social media only offers a piece of the puzzle but the real individual can only be realized through face-to-face interaction. This is why it is better to leave him or her off your social platforms until you get to know each other better and to not judge on pictures alone.

3.  Save Important moments for real life

After you have added each other on all networks, checked pictures back to 2009 and still like what you see it is tempting to start DM and Messenger conversations.  This is fine for small talk and sharing funny memes but leave the big stuff to the real dates. Don’t make the relationship official, say you’re in love, or if things don’t work out, break up over social media. It is very tempting to use these platforms as an easier path to self-expression but let’s give others our real selves and let people know in person how we really feel. So no hashtag, #inlovewithhim or #notfeelingthis!

Social media has changed the dating game. How has it changed dating for you? What rules do you follow?