A couple of days ago, another blogger discussed the many negatives that come with the intersection of Facebook and the dating scene: overanalyzing your crush’s posts, staying updated on your ex’s dating life, public beginnings and break-ups, having a digital record of relationship blunders, and the possibility of a significant other becoming jealous over posts to your wall from other people. I thought this was a really interesting take on Facebook/dating, as I might not be married right now if it weren’t for Facebook. Given my more positive slant (and also the irrelevance some of these items seem to have for adults—you’re jealous of your girlfriend’s other guy friends because of wall posts? Wow…), I have decided to dedicate a post to the positive impact Facebook had on my dating experience.
1) Solidifying a new friendship.
When Jeremiah and I first met at a Christmas party in 2009, we both were in need of more friends at Fuller. Thus, we friended each other within a couple days. This facilitated no fewer than three important things:
First, when I needed a ride from campus to my apartment complex one evening the next week and had already asked everyone in my phone/online that I actually knew, I (pathetically) used my Facebook status to try to recruit a ride. Jeremiah felt sorry for me and volunteered, which helped me decide he was a halfway decent guy rather than the arrogant pre-academic he appeared to be at the party.
Secondly, as we went on Christmas break, instead of a month of no contact, we continued to communicate through wall posts, article comments, and even chat. What one might learn during the first couple times hanging out with a new friend, I was able to do during our month off, through Facebook. I’m not sure if we had had a month-long gap in communication that we would have actually become friends during the next quarter.
Lastly, when I needed help moving to a new apartment in January and again, pathetically, had to ask for help on Facebook, Jeremiah again volunteered. He ended up being my primary moving buddy, and we ended up hanging out almost every day the next week, cementing him as my new best friend at Fuller.
2) Initiating conversation.
Jeremiah and I both post tons of articles on Facebook, along with our commentaries. When I was first getting to know him, I learned a lot about him just from reading articles he posted on Facebook, as well as looking through photos of his life pre-Fuller. When we hung out in person, sometimes the conversations sparked by Facebook would continue, usually on a deeper level. Also, even as we started hanging out all the time, we continued to chat on Facebook daily–during class, as well as most evenings (sometimes well past our bedtimes–but we won’t disclose any more embarrassingly gushy details!). Thus, while Facebook can’t be a substitute for real-life interaction, it was a positive addition to our growing friendship.
3) Introducing friends & family.
When we first started dating, my friends and family started friending Jeremiah and vice versa. Because we were both living thousands of miles away from home, everyone appreciated being able to get to know each other a bit. Between what we said about each other to our friends and their getting to interact online, see each other’s profiles, etc., a few closer friends actually ended up feeling like they knew us before we met in person. It was really neat to have them involved in our relationship from the beginning like this.
4) Sharing our story.
It was also cool to get to continue to invite people into our story as we moved toward marriage. Through pictures and status updates, people got to watch our relationship grow and even be present at our wedding from a distance. Clearly, it’s not the same as actually being there, but this was still really nice for us, given that we had many friends in California, friends in North Carolina, and family members who couldn’t travel to a Texas wedding.
5) Preserving memories.
Lastly, while I know it’s cheesy, I’ve really enjoyed having a record of our story. Since many of our first interactions were on Facebook, it’s been fun to look back and see posts from before we liked each other or before I had successfully convinced Jeremiah to like me back. Our relationship moved quickly, so it’s sometimes hard to remember the details of the process. For me, this makes it especially nice to have memories preserved through Facebook.