My mother-in-law wants my help writing an online dating profile for Match.com. Should I do it? What if she meets a cyclops on there?
Good on your mother in law for embracing new ways of dating! You must have a special relationship if she feels comfortable asking you for advice.
Before you whip out your iPad and start swiping right, take a step back and have a good chat, in real life. It’s good to recall that while the forums for dating have evolved, it is still plagued by its old analogue issues. People can be less than kind, truthful or responsive. Is your MIL aware that some people are truth-y about their profiles? Does she know that there are some serious creeps out there? Does the term “hook up culture” mean anything to her? Is she aware of how shallow and crass some sites are (swiping, like shopping for shoes, “looks good, I’ll try ’em out!”). If yes, great! She’s a grown woman and might be on the cusp of having a ball. She’ll likely meet lots and lots of cyclops, but she just might meet a gem, too.
The ratio of jerks to gems online is likely comparable to that of a cafe, anyways, it’s just a new medium for meeting them. Help manage her expectations that she’ll likely have to go on some snooze-worthy dates in addition to some fun ones. Such is dating. Help her pick out some photos for her profile and find a great date outfit or two. She’ll likely need a few in the rotation!
I saw a good guy friend on Tinder. I’m not interested in him romantically, but should I still swipe right?
If you saw that same platonic friend at a bar, would you flirt with him out of politesse? An excellent gauge of whether to do something online is to ask yourself if you’d do it offline. Don’t feel pressured into courtesy swiping. Sure, you might fluff his feathers, but what if he’s been in love with you for years, and your innocuous swipe is the sign he’s been waiting for? Or what if he has no feelings for you, and thinks you’re coming on to him? That would mess with a friendship.
Swipe left, then text him to tell him he has a huge booger in nose in his profile photo. That will instantly diffuse any awkwardness and put you firmly back into the friend camp.
Of course, if you’d like my opinion to swipe left or right, please send me his photo — strictly for my professional opinion, of course.
I only accept friend requests from true friends on Facebook. How do I tell my boss and everyone else who wants in to politely f— off?
Do you only go for coffee with “true” friends? I’m curious why you’ve drawn lines around acquaintances versus friends. Do you share extremely intimate content on Facebook? If you do, then I applaud you for being so fastidious with keeping your content congruous with your audience. It is when those things get funky that issues arise.
Don’t feel compelled to accept every friend request that you receive. In fact, you don’t need to accept or even decline them. You can leave them in request purgatory, if you’re worried about hurting feelings. If a colleague, not a “true friend” by your measures, sends you a Facebook friend request, hop on over to LinkedIn and add them there. Include a short message explaining that you’re awful at keeping up on Facebook, but that you look forward to keeping in touch on LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: if you’re taking this course of action, check that your profile privacy settings are such that no one can nose around your profile, to call your bluff on your alleged Facebook inactivity.
I was creeping my ex-boyfriend online and accidentally clicked on his LinkedIn profile. Can I somehow change my settings so he doesn’t find out?
Busted! Well, it happened and you’ve been caught clicking red handed. The bad news is that no, you can’t undo your snooping. But if you plan on future espionage, yes, you can make yourself anonymous on LinkedIn. Hover your cursor over your photo in the top right-hand corner, and the Account & Settings menu will drop down. Click on Privacy & Settings, then scroll to the bottom for Privacy Controls section. Click on the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” to edit your settings. Le voila, you can make yourself virtually invisible.
Now that the tech support portion of this column is complete, can I ask, why the creeping? No one ever feels better after creeping their ex online, ever. So when the temptation to see what he’s up to strikes, channel it somewhere else. Update your own profile, make a new playlist, scheme an amazing vacation, enjoy some excellent cat videos, what have you. Instead of googling his name, Google “best hiit at home workout.” Much more cathartic than looking at his mug.
Each week, etiquette expert Karen Cleveland answers your questions about life online. Tweet her your questions: @SchoolFinishing
(Originally appeared in the Toronto Star, September 2015)