Being ‘Asked Out’ Online: Starting to Date in the Digital World


The Internet has essentially erased all the rules of the dating game. Now, asking someone out on IM (gasp) has been replaced by Facebook relationship confirmations and status changes (bigger gasp).

In middle school “asking out” online gave teens the courage to confess their love for crushes without suffering in-person embarrassment. Now, young adults have moved on to confessing love on Facebook.

CNNU recently “broke” a story about Facebook and dating. Its “How do you know your love is real? Check Facebook” asserted that a relationship isn’t offical unless it is declared on Facebook. I’m not totally sold on this concept, and was bothered by CNNU’s assumptive way of presenting the story as new, when in fact it has been an interesting development for a few years now.

I don’t completey agree with Facebook dating since I have known plenty of couples against online declaration, but on the other hand I have lots of friends who have been surprised by a relationship status change. For example, A friend was confused when the guy she was seeing for a few weeks, changed his “Single” status to “In a Relationship”. Since they hadn’t EVER talked about it, she didn’t know if the change was referring to her or someone else.

Although I would never do it myself, I think Facebook gives people an alternative way to discuss preliminary relationship measurers. For one, I guess you know where you stand if you’re denied, but then wouldn’t that kill any opportunities you may have had at making it work? But for some, getting through the awkward online, may be all they need to start a great relationship in person.  I think its rediculous because at some point these people will need to face difficutl situations face-to-face. So, Seriously, talk about it first.

Anyway, the best take away form CNNU’s article was one college guy’s desire to be “In a Relationship With” multiple girls, “not for polygamy or anything, but for multiple dating.”

UPDATE: After posting, I found more info, like a study done at Harvard, where most students preferred not to declare their relationship status on Facebook. I also found that CNNU may have stolen their article title from a June 2006 article on TMC News, “Is he your boyfriend? Check Fackbook” seems sneaky…

-Sarah Hutton

Image/photoshop job done by Will Wheeler.


6 Responses to “Being ‘Asked Out’ Online: Starting to Date in the Digital World”

  1. Wow, the “Cancel Relationship” option (shown in your screen shot) is pretty harsh :)

  2. 2 Will

    i made/photoshopped that screenshot, should go and give myself credit!

  3. -taps lip- Not everyone takes this so seriously, though… I too grew up in the throes of Facebook in college, and half the fun is “fake marriages” etc. I know people who were “in relationships” online that were purely for amusement and not at all intended to be serious; you know, the joining of two people who never otherwise would have. One of my friends even belonged to the “Facebook Wives Club,” a play on the First Wives Club… yanno.

  4. Even harsher than the ‘Cancel Relationship” button is the fact that it publishes a story about your breakup in your friend feed. Even worse is that if you select a user as your beau, canceling the relationship also broadcasts it to all of their friends.

    Breaking up is ugly, but breaking up online is nothing but public humiliation. I’d recommend never advertising your partner’s name on Facebook except *maybe* if you’re married!

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