Hey.

How are you today? How can I pray for you?

YES… this is another post about this type of thing. My apologies to everyone who’s been listening to relationships sermons at church for the past 30 Sundays. I don’t think I have too many single friends left… but I’d be so overjoyed if the few remaining ones would get married :).

Would you believe that in 2012, many people still do not know that their Facebook pages say something to everyone who stops by? I happen to think Facebook is a great way for singles to meet new people – let’s get over the “meeting online is for the desperate”, shall we? – but I also think many singles shoot themselves in the foot, so to speak, with their profiles. We may hate to admit it, but first impressions are important. And, I kid you not (no Ojigbani stunts here), your profile just might be the barrier between you and the love of your life. Your profile does not define you, but we need to be real – on some level, people judge you by it. For the person with whom your interaction is primarily online, your profile is who you are, so to speak.

Disclaimer: A profile might be misleading, and it often is, so prayer and discernment are always key. This is all just a first step.

So! What about your page could be keeping your future spouse away?

Both men and women:

1) You have a “locked” profile. A locked profile is a little like mine – but mine is that way on purpose. This is the kind of page that many people visit and all they see is “Sex: Female.” If the page is even searchable in the first place, there’s no friends list, no picture, no cover picture, no “Add as Friend”, and, most importantly, there’s nothing that would pique anyone’s curiosity.

What to do to keep from giving the impression that you’re a stonewalled, electric-fenced city: It might help to take out the burglar proofing and maybe the padlocks all over your profile. This does not mean expose yourself and let everything have the “world” icon. It just means be available and approachable, within reason.

2) You’re associated with a billion irritating event invites, group invites, or pointless posts. People actually get excited when they sign in to FB and find notifications. If you’re associated with red numbers that end up providing updates about nothing in particular, that’s the type of person you’ll seem like. It makes people feel that all you think they’re good for is attendance at your event or an offering at your church.  It has been said that we may not remember what people say or do, but we remember the way they made us feel. Nobody wants to marry someone who makes them feel irritated.

What to do if you’re trying to get to know people: Keep invites few and far between, and target them to relevant audiences. If you live in Houston, it’s highly unlikely that your friend in Alaska will fly over for a 2-hour breakfast. So just don’t invite him or her.

3)  There’s no mystery at all. Everybody knows what you’re thinking, all the time. Your posts are updated every two minutes. You have 30 tweets every hour. Not only does this make you look extremely idle and therefore unappealing (nobody wants to be with someone who is not doing something with his or her life); it also makes it seem like you have no sense of privacy, and we all know lack of privacy will deal a deathblow to most relationships.

What to do to seem more like the interesting, multi-faceted person that you are: If you must express yourself every few seconds, limit the number of people who can view the majority of your posts. It’s better to risk a misinterpreted silence than to have to take back or regret words that are already out there.

4) Your mind is closed to the possibility of meeting “marryable” people online. Seriously, get over it. It’s 2012. Let’s take a look at the pool, using a hypothetical example: Christina, a born again, 30-year-old woman. Christina would like to marry a man, because that’s God’s order. That takes out at least half of the world’s population. She would like to marry a Christian man. That takes out another huge chunk. She wants him to be at least three years older. Take out all men 33 and under. She is also hoping that he will be from Africa – take out all white, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian, etc. men. And she lives in North Dakota, where she is in her first year of a five-year PhD program. Her pastors in ND and in Kenya, where she is from, do not believe in match-making. If Christina desires to get married, she might need to try and use the internet.

What to do to take advantage of this God-given way to meet people: Be real with yourself. Look around; weigh your chances, pray, and act accordingly. :)

Bonus “both” point: YOUR FRIENDS. Whether you like it or not, you are associated with the people who post on your wall, comment on your posts, and tag you in photos. They are part of your FB identity. They are a reflection of who you are, and nobody is going to believe that you’re too different from John who is at the club every weekend and posts foul language all over your page.

GUYS:

5) You have 1,000 photos, each one with you all cuddly-wuddly with a different woman. First of all, no woman looks at those pictures and thinks “You better werk.” Everybody knows you posed with those ladies, whom you probably don’t know from Adam, solely for the purpose of appearing like a ninja online. Or, they’re your cousins, which no lady will ever know unless she pauses to see that the person you tagged has the same last name and commented “I love you big bro!”  This bad habit does not speak well of your level of confidence.

What to do if you’re looking: Make the most of the Album feature on Facebook. Let your profile picture be something that highlights your personality, for instance, or speaks about what you do (FYI, for all you musicians out there, guitar pictures are so cliché and went out of style circa 2009). Group pictures MIGHT make it seem like you’re not confident about your looks, height, or identity. Think about the beholder, if you’re trying to meet people.

6) You think a “poke” counts as a first move. Okay, so I threw that in because I can’t stand pokes, literal or virtual. A poke is a poke. Do you randomly poke people in public? No? So don’t randomly poke them online. If you have made that mistake, follow it up with some serious damage control in the name of a brief but friendly message.

What to do if you don’t want her to swat your fingers in fury: Be bold. Send that friend request, follow it with a BRIEF!!!, nonchalant, respectful message, and take it from there. Or, send the friend request, wait for her to show up online, and chat.

7) Your About Me page is longer than a wordy woman’s. This gives the impression of a person who has no sense of privacy or is desperate to please. Of course it might really mean you’re an avid reader, educated, informed, but the likelihood is you will come off as someone who is lacking in confidence. Shorter than 20 words or “Just get to know me” doesn’t work either; that seems like you’re a player or don’t use your account much and just signed up to sign up.

What to do to keep from being relegated to the “weirdo” zone: You will never go wrong by keeping it simple and fresh.

Bonus “guys” point: If you’re single and searching, please SHOW YOUR RELATIONSHIP STATUS. Anything except “Single” implies you’re taken and/or a player. Don’t hide it… that will cause unnecessary suspicion.

LADIES:

8) No pictures, or pictures of a celebrity or an avatar (Edit: or cartoon; thanks for that one, GN). Guys are visual. And if you hide your picture, they’ll think you’re a) unattractive in your eyes, b) overweight and concerned about it or c) attractive but lacking in confidence.

What to do if you’re hoping to be approached: You are fearfully and wonderfully made. BE CONFIDENT. If you’re looking, post your picture. Someone – if not many people – will find you attractive, match that with your happening profile, and try to get to know you.

9) Weekend party pictures or tags every Monday. Few things will scream “RUN!” to every man (who wants to settle down) like a woman who parties every weekend. Either you have some growing up to do or you are Miss Independent and don’t need a man. Having 108 albums on Facebook, each with 108 pictures, just indicates that you have all that time on your hands and are binging on the bread of idleness. *I might also add that I’ve heard from reliable male sources that the daily “What I cooked today” pictures are just another way of screaming “Pick me! Approve; I can cook! I’m wife material!” For some reason, it’s okay if married women do it… I’m still investigating this phenomenon.*

What to do to seem more like the wife material that you are: Be classy and discreet. You don’t need to go out of your way to prove you have a life. If you have 108 albums, hide at least 105 of them. Mystery is still fashionable.

10) You’re too friendly with other guys. This is something my good friend actually had to sit me down and lecture me about. Apparently, I was so nice to every guy that no guy would ever think he had a chance. Turns out men, for all their gigantic egos, actually have a desire to be needed. If your every comment to every guy is “Wowww! Hiiiii!!! Miss you!! xoxoxoxo” with sprinkles of inside stories in-between, or if your profile is the type where guys feel free to use personal stories to kick everybody out of what is supposed to be a healthy status update discussion, then you just might be sending the wrong message to that single guy who just might be looking.

What to do to encourage him to reach out: Keep it cordial, but professional, with everyone. Personal stories can be exhausted in inbox messages and chats. That guy doesn’t know, and may not want to know, that the person you told “xoxo” is your cousin.

Bonus “ladies” point: Don’t reject a Friend Request based solely on a person’s looks. We cannot know people from their profiles, but if a man seems reasonable, then go ahead and accept his request – he just may have a brother or friend…

Get married, people. It’s good for you. And remember: Prove All Things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and Test The Spirits (1 John 4:1).

Oh, and those weird aliases: “John SwagAndSophistication Kamau,” “Amara IGoToChurchEverySunday Jennifer,” “Cynthia DivaFabulous Smith”? NO.

Bless you.

Love,

Pea.

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