Trying to navigate the the online dating scene and feel like you're swimming upstream? Get your digital dating questions answered in geeksugar's Tech Dating 101 series, where I share my take on topics like gadgets in the boudoir and texting during a date. Today I'm tackling how to tell if someone is using the Internet to flirt with you, or just playing the friend game.
Unfortunately, it's often easier to figure out that he's just not that into you than it is to establish his intentions are of the Don Juan variety. If he doesn't IM you back after an hour and you know he's online, he doesn't see you as a priority. If you've had the "relationship talk" and he hasn't changed his relationship status, he's hesitant to announce he's off the market. But, just like happy hour flirtation, it's important to look at the whole picture if you think he wants to get fresh: Is he single? Is he dropping flirtatious hints and innuendos? Is he singling you out specifically or playing the field? And most importantly, is his aim true?
If you suspect a certain someone is trying to bust a virtual move, play PI and track his online interactions, both with you and others. If he's hitting up your Facebook wall weekly, sends you personal emails and links, shares items with you via his reader because he "thought you'd like this!" and Tweets back, chances are high he's interested in you on some level. He wants to know what you think about things. If he's spamming every girl he knows, he's just fishing around and looking for someone to take the bait. For a list of questions you should ask yourself when trying to categorize his intentions as romantic or purely platonic,
- Does he comment on all your status updates, blogs, or Flickr photos? If he doesn't comment (or "like") everything, does he comment more than other friends or potential lovas? Weigh his interactions with you against your BFF and a casual acquaintance for perspective.
- Does he comment on obscure things? If he's dropping links, hints, and comments on random social network sites you've signed up for, or random pics you uploaded a year and a half ago then he's intentionally seeking you out.
- Does he tweet back more than once or twice a week? Most people don't tweet back unless they truly appreciate a Tweet, or want to engage with you.
- Is he following and friending you everywhere? If he's suddenly taken an interest in all your online activity and started following you everywhere, he's trying to get to know you and wants to monitor your activity. Use your commonsense based on his attitude in person to measure what this means.
- Does he use a flirty tone and sexy humor? Come hither phrases and sexy talk are innuendo, whether online or not. If it sounds like flirtation when you read it out loud, it's flirtation. Men don't use words like "baby," "cute," "hot," and "sexy" unless they mean it. Well, they do, but they always mean it on some level.
- Does he send you special private messages, notes, or links? Maybe he's not interacting with you on Facebook because he doesn't want your friends in common, his ex, or (yikes!) his current girlfriend to know he's singling you out, but if he's instant messaging or sending you links and private messages daily, and even weekly, stop and consider his intentions. You may just be online buddies, but his tone and the content he sends you will speak volumes.
- Does he retweet, reblog, or reuse your "material"? This can be the ultimate compliment, but also a telltale sign of his intentions. If uses your material, but gives you credit (say by calling out your name) he's OK with letting people know he watches you. If he uses it without crediting you he's clearly figured out how awesome you are, but is timid about calling out his discovery. Beware the man who hides his online interaction with you. He may be running a messy game.