You’ve met someone you really like – congrats! You’ve been on a few dates (or maybe you’ve just connected online), and you’re enjoying sharing insight into your job, interests, and family with them on your own terms – until their inevitable Facebook request appears. All of a sudden you’re a little concerned that declaring to this person that you “don’t really party often anymore”, might conflict with the 150 posted photos of your friend’s Bachelorette party last weekend, and a silent panic ensues.
Here’s what to do next:
- Conduct a photo audit: Because the first thing this person is going to do is click through every single one of your Profile Pictures, start with those. Ensure that any photos featuring your exes, beer bong, or blurry nights from the early 2000’s that happened to be immortalized on film and seemed hilarious at the time have been removed. And because I know that no email strikes fear into someone’s heart quite like “your friend has tagged you in 25 photos on Facebook” (which raises its own set of questions), you may need to embark on an un-tagging spree.
- Pick your Privacy Settings: Your date has probably already perused your Public Profile by now, but it doesn’t hurt to tighten up your Privacy Settings anyway. Lock everything down and make sure all of your content is only visible to friends. Aside from being completely necessary to portray a professional image for job prospects, it might even heighten the intrigue when it comes to your future love life. You don’t need this person’s friend’s friend’s friends seeing anything you’re not ready to share yet.
- Take care of TMI: A few years ago you may have gone through a bad break-up and posted an extra emotional status, or maybe you used to swear a lot more, or maybe you did something silly like publish your personal contact information. 600+ people, or however many Facebook friends you have certainly do not need access to this. Scan through your old activity and delete any posts you aren’t proud of, and reel in any of your shared phone numbers and outwardly visible home/work addresses.
- Give your Timeline some TLC: By this point you might be feeling a little bit down on yourself, so why not flip the script by highlighting Facebook activity you are proud of! Scroll through your Timeline and use the Highlight button, by hovering over a story or photo and clicking on the star. Consider photos from that volunteer trip you took abroad, work related milestones, and interesting places you checked-in at like concerts or festivals. This will be the content that stands out during a preliminary Facebook creeping session.
- Calm Down: The most important way to avoid freaking out when someone you’re interested in adds you on Facebook is to remember why they friend requested you in the first place – they already like you! Your Facebook profile doesn’t need to feature only perfectly manicured photos and profound statuses around the clock. You’re a real person, and your online identity should merely be a fun extension of your real-life self, so when you’re ready, click ACCEPT. Pretty soon you will be looking at photos of your date… passed out at his 2003 frat party with pen all over his face, and you will probably like him just the same.