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Should You Become Facebook Friends With Someone You Just Started Dating?

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To friend, or not to friend? This question comes up all too often from singles I?m coaching when they first start dating someone new.

My advice is always a firm no. Not just yet.

Although you may be enthusiastic about your phone conversations, have sent a few text messages back-and-forth, and enjoy spending 1-3 hours every day on Facebook,? it might seem like the next logical step to add your new date as a friend on Facebook. I call this trend “premature friending” and it might lead to a startling ending of a relationship that never had the full chance to move forward on a normal digital course.

Setting romantic boundaries on Facebook and other social networks can be quite tricky. However, it really doesn?t have to be so complicated after all.

So without further digital adieu, here are some of the most popular questions I?m asked, with answers to help your love life, both online and in real life.

Should you ignore a Facebook friend request before meeting your date?

If you regularly ignore other requests from strangers or friends-of-friends, then do the same with the man or woman you have not yet met. Think about it. Your new date might be secretly cyber stalking you to check on your where-abouts to see if it adds up to the way you described yourself. Sound creepy? Well, it is. So yes, ignore it. They aren?t a friend yet, nor are they your boyfriend or girlfriend.

You had a great first date. Is it safe to send a friend request?

No, not just yet. Unless you discussed a business deal or partnership and want to ease your way in with a Linkedin request, he or she is quite likely still on the market. They won?t want you gazing at their online activity, nor should you be staring at theirs. Avoid posting comments about your date or post the cute photo that you snapped on your iPhone after your first martini. It?s too soon to go spreading the news on the public Internet.

You had sex. Are you ready to be Facebook friends?

Just because you spent time together between the sheets, doesn?t mean it?s time to change your status to ?In a Relationship.? Make sure you have the talk first about your relationship. If you?re both on the same digital page, then go ahead and change the relationship status together. If you aren?t in a committed relationship, you?re likely to have your feelings hurt when you see his arm around another girl or her in an uncompromising photo with another guy. If either one of you is sitting on the digital fence, then stay friends offline before becoming friends online.

The relationship never took off. Can we just be friends?

If you know for certainty that there was no chemistry or a chance for romance, and no one feels jilted, go ahead and become friends if you truly like each other and know it will be platonic. If you find yourself staring at his or her wall wondering what they?re up to, then you?re not being honest with yourself. Politely unfriend them until you know you?re over it.

At the end of the digital day, don?t let your feelings be hurt if the other party ignores your friend request. Everyone has their own prerequisites for friending and unfriending each other on the world?s largest social network.

Julie Spira is a leading online dating and netiquette expert.? She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice. Connect with Julie on Twitter @JulieSpira, Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert and Facebook.com/RulesofNetiquette

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