Rules For Navigating The Dating World In The Age Of Social Media


Living in Houston, I can’t help but perpetually be in my feelings about being single. Mostly, that’s the weather’s fault. Either it’s rainy and you want to be inside cuddled up under a blanket with bae, or it’s sunny and you want to be at the park with bae, or it’s inexplicably and unseasonably cold and you want to be holding hands and sipping cocoa…with bae. One would think that living in the city offered a wide variety of dating options, but that’s just not true. It seems that everyone who is worth your time is already spending it with someone else and you simply don’t have the time to be wasting time with someone who isn’t top shelf.

Whether meeting someone in real life and trying to get to know them, or trying to date online, it’s always two swipes forward, one swipe back.

I always end up griping to my parents and my brother and sister — who are seven and ten years older than me, respectively — about how hard it is to date. They try to give me the best advice they can, but then it dawns on me: none of them ever really had to date. My dad met my mom when they were both 19 years old on a Sunday and proposed that Thursday. They’ve been married for 40 years. My sister and her husband dated and got married within six months, and my brother just sort of ended up married. One day we looked up and he introduced this woman as his wife…I still don’t know the details.

Either way, it’s disheartening to think that I am here, in all my glory, still single.

The problem can’t be me, right? I mean, I think I’m dope as hell, independent as Boosie and Beyonce want me to be. So what I’ve resorted to is blaming the one thing every web site blames when they don’t really know who to blame: the Internet. No doubt about it, that’s the one thing my older, married relatives didn’t have that I’m fully immersed in. My job is Internet-based, so I wouldn’t be able to get off of the darn thing if I wanted to, and it seems like a good way to get all the rest of my important business done — naturally it’s where I do my dating too.

But, there are some serious differences between how my parents and siblings’ generations dated and how I’m forced to date, which is why any advice they have tried to give me is, well, useless.

1. Be “Filter Aware”

Filters exist on Instgram for a reason, and the days of only designers and professional photographers having access to Photoshop and Lightroom are gone. Anyone and everyone can have access to photo editing tools, and honestly, you’d be silly not to use them, ESPECIALLY if you’re single.

The only problem is no one can tell what anyone else looks like in real life. This has never happened to me personally, but I imagine it’s pretty terrible to get to a date with someone you thought was super hot and they end up being… less so. It’s like beer goggles, but for online dating and social media.

Bumble bifocals, if you will.

2. Digital stalking is still creepy (but expected)


Not gonna lie, I Twitter search people’s handles and “America” before I decide to even be friends with them, let alone date them. If something favorable about “MAGA” shows up, they’re canceled. I’m not trying to convince you to do that, but I have every right. I don’t wait to see if everything else about them is wonderful. I have made my judgment and I am sticking to it.

We have the luxury to see if a prospect is awful by stalking his or her likes, comments, and posts before even meeting in real life. The person could be completely perfect for us, but their social personality sucks, therefore, we are done before it starts. Our parents got stuck with awful unwittingly sometimes, and had to learn to deal with it, so they ended up in relationships in which there was an area in which they didn’t agree, but they had to learn to compromise to stay together.

Maybe it’s a good thing and maybe it’s a bad thing because I definitely remember my parents arguing about politics, but perhaps if they had known how different their opinions were beforehand they would have never ended up together and been so happy with the rest of their relationship. Also, I wouldn’t be here. And that would be awful.

3. The danger of the ex-factor

Back in the good ol’ days before social media, when you broke up with someone, you were BROKEN. UP. That meant the person could fall off the face of the earth and you wouldn’t necessarily know the difference. Now, however, your ex can be all in you and your new boo’s business even if you block him or her by creating a fake account or looking on a mutual friend’s account. That wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t usually involve the person commenting, screenshotting, and/or otherwise hating on your new relationship and/or lamenting over how they want you back.

Which leads me to my next point…

4. Beware the comment section


Social media will ruin your relationship if you let it by making you and your S.O. suspicious for no reason. True story: I was dating someone who knew one of my exes. Ex Boo and I remained friends, and Current Boo felt very insecure about that, naturally, but claimed he was going to be okay with it…until Ex Boo went on a liking spree on my profile on Instagram. I tried to explain that Ex Boo didn’t really get on Instagram that much, and because of the algorithm, he probably logged on and saw a ton of my photos all at once. That worked…until I commented on Ex Boo’s photo ONE TIME and Current Boo flipped his lid.

All of a sudden, that meant we were clearly having social sex. That relationship might have really turned into something special if I had known the rules, or even better, if the rules were the same ones my parents and older siblings got to play by. Those were much nicer.



There is nothing more annoying than being on a date and the person looks up at you only between timeline updates. I’m sure we have all been on dates where the person is distracted or busy, but there’s nothing quite like accepting the fact that a screen is more entertaining than the live action version of you must be. I, too, am guilty of engrossing myself in the timeline during a #BlackTwitterFamily event, but most of the time, if you get me out of the house, I’m trying to connect with a real person on a real level.

It’s an eye drain to stare at a computer or phone screen all day, and if you’re easy enough on the eyes for me to go out with, I want to look at you as much as possible.

6. Either way you spin it… your posts are awful

There are couples who post too often about how in love they are. That’s beautiful, but can be very annoying to those of us still looking for love, and some things should just stay private. For instance, I laughed, too, when Cardi B posted a tweet where Offset was sleeping, clearly as a result of some strenuous activity they completed together, but that was definitely an overshare. Then, there are the couples who subtweet each other, argue, or otherwise display their more childish side for all to see. Look, we all know who “somebody” is and we know who you “wish would act like a man.” And God forbid you break up. Immediately, we know who did what and how, and the cycle continues as man and woman get back on Tinder, find someone to date, and get to tell their parents how damn hard it is find a relationship in the digital age.

If you’re one of those few who has found love online, I salute you. You beat a real life algorithm of a whole different caliber.