How Soon Is Too Soon To Follow Someone You're Dating On Social Media?

Nowadays, we have access to a constant influx of information that we can reference at the push of a button—especially when it comes to jumping into new relationships. Yes, dating today can be exhilarating and challenging in ways it hasn’t been before, but with great power comes great responsibility.

With the power social media holds over our lives, it becomes even more complicated to merge it into our relationships. There are rules for social media in the dating scene today: Don't slide into someone’s DMs if you can help it, save nudes for the bedroom, and when you’re stalking someone, make sure you don’t accidentally like a post from 2012.

With so much unspoken protocol we’re all expected to know, dating in today’s digital world can be very daunting, especially when you’re just starting a fresh relationship with someone new. It used to be that if they call then they’re interested, and if they don’t, then better luck next time! But now, there’s an extra step blocking a blossoming new romance from becoming something serious. And we have to ask the question: When do you follow them on social media?

1. Consider the platform

Every app is different, and so are the uses of each when it comes to dating. For example, Snapchat is super casual. It’s so easy to take a snap video in a bar and have the cutie you were dancing with scan your barcode (because that is where we are at in life, people). Snapchat is also a great way to start a new fling with someone you don’t have any other contact with—sending a quick mass snap and including them or responding to a story of theirs is a painless way to see if they will respond eagerly or leave it on read.

Facebook, on the other hand, is a lot more personal. You usually have your family as your friends, your job history listed, and some totally humiliating videos from middle school that you can’t seem to remove. A great time to add someone on Facebook is after a few great dates—that way, it makes sense that you would want a bit more information on the person, but doesn’t seem like you were completely stalking them (even though we know you saw their page weeks ago).

Instagram is the perfect in-between because it is essentially a photo collage of our best selves that we present to each other. If you’ve only met someone once and haven’t had much personal interaction, maybe save the ‘gram for later. But, if you’ve met a few times and want to send the message you’re interested, giving a follow and a quick like is a confident move.

Related: 5 Proven Ways to Get Him to Text Back

2. Think about what stage your relationship is in

Whether or not you should follow a potential new boo on social media really comes down to how you think they will perceive it—gauge whether they’ll think you’re an aggressive super-creep, an exciting new flame, or if they will even notice that you gave them a follow. If this is someone in your class, for example, who sits across the room and has never made real eye contact with you, you might not want to follow them on social media—they may be questioning how you even know their name. Definitely ensure that you at least talk to your crush before adding them on any social media.

However, if that someone in your class is sitting next to you and sharing notes with you in study groups, you can try to use their social media to push your relationship out of the school-only zone. The same goes for someone you met once and had a "love at first sight" moment, versus someone your friends always bring around. Try to judge how much information you should have access to at this point (and how much you really want access to).

3. Just ask

If you’re trying to push past being just friends or hooking up, you can subtly ask about their social media. Casually bring up an account you follow on Twitter that posts hilarious memes and ask if you can send them one. Recommend an upcoming event that you’re going to, and if they’re interested, invite them on FB.

Social media is an amazing tool for dating if you don’t take it too seriously. Reading too far into the meaning behind a like on someone’s picture or a retweet of someone you see as competition will only stress you out and cause you to hold back while actually being around the person. Do yourself a favor and try to think of the act of "following" someone as the tiny push of a button that it is.

If you overthink it and see it as an extra step to overcome in the relationship, you may be overanalyzing before there is even any relationship at all.