“Hey there… after looking at an old college directory, thought I’d see if you were on Facebook. I rarely use it so it was a nice surprise to see your smiling face after all these years.
Upon opening my Facebook page this morning, I read the message above. It was from an ex-boyfriend. Like most people who at some point get a tap on the shoulder from the past, my first response was flattery. Then intrigue. Then, “why not?” Lastly, because I’m in a committed relationship, my final thought was, “Nope, I’m not going to step foot into opening up any form of contact, however brief, however innocent.”
Among other issues, I’ve been coaching men and women how to negotiate the slippery slope of Facebook protocol. Look, this isn’t anything new. For eons, humans have been dealing with temptation. Anyone who bamboozles their self into thinking they can simply control their own response or curb the other person’s enthusiasm is in a dangerous fantasy world.
I say “dangerous,” because I work with the devastating fallout from this perfect storm – when arrogance combines with ignorance. And you know what? Once the devastation hits, the pain is matched equally on both sides – the betrayed is in no more pain than the betrayer.
What shocks people who either respond to a friend request or who tap a friend-from-the-past is predictable. “How in the hell did this go from one simple innocent update to sending out a naked photo via text?!” We can thank the primal animal within. Our brains have not yet caught up with our bodies.
Even the nicest of guys and the most guileless of women can find himself or herself mysteriously aroused and daydreaming about sexual fantasies with a Facebook friend. The universal exclamation? “This isn’t ME!!”
Oh, it’s YOU alright. There’s more complexity to the good guy or the good girl. It doesn’t matter one bit between fantasizing or having sex in person – either way, you’re a cheater.
So, think about it. Yes, think. If you’re in a committed relationship, revisit your commitment and set new boundaries for yourself, and for one another. You can either swiftly (and irresponsibly) ASSume, “Nothing bad’s going to happen.” Or you can grow up, wake up, and avoid opening a can of wild worms. If you’re ready to really see yourself, to know yourself, here’s your test: True or False
Test Your Facebook Character Mark: True or False
1- I accept contact with friends of the opposite sex that I haven’t talked to or seen in 2+ years.
2- I search out friends of the opposite sex that I haven’t talked to or seen in 2+ years.
3- When/if asked, my Facebook page is instantly available for my boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse to view.
4- I sometimes find myself very slightly Facebook-flirting.
5- I don’t like turning down a friend request from someone I know or have known from the past.
6. I want my beloved to approach Facebook the same as I currently approach it.
7. I’m curious about and tempted to accept a request from a past lover.
8. I find myself lingering on the Facebook of friends off the opposite sex.
9. I don’t need to tell my beloved if I’ve accepted or requested a current crush or a person from a past romantic relationship.
10. I want to come to a mutual agreement with my beloved on our Facebook protocol.
1,2,4,8,9 (true) = -1 point each 3,5,6,7,10 (true) = +1 point each
under 5 points – weak character
5-6 points – average character
6+ – strong character