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Sex + Relationships

Jess and Katie’s Tech Translations, Vol. 1: IN YOUR FACE(BOOK)…Because our relationship with Facebook is complicated.

Dating is tricky in this wacky technological age. Texting is a vital skill, but unfortunately it’s not enough. There are so many other platforms, each presenting unique opportunities for expressing your love or, alternatively, totally screwing things up with someone you really like. We’ve taught you a few things about texting, but it’s time we moved beyond phones to something bigger: Facebook.

Facebook is even more dangerous than texting; its purpose is publicity, which means what could just be a sort of embarrassing misstep can quickly explode into a hugely humiliating and viral screw-up. We spend a significant amount of time on Facebook (in the name of research, of course), and we also write on each others’ walls a lot. Said credentials don’t actually absolutely qualify us to tell you the Ten Commandments of Facebook Relationships. Unlike the Ten Commandments you already know, like “don’t steal stuff” and “don’t covet your roommate’s girlfriend,” these rules are immutable law.

1. Take out the make out 
Refrain from posting pictures of you and your significant other making out. There are two people on the planet who think that’s cute, and one of them is you (and when you inevitably break up, you’ll look at these photos and sulk). Kisses on the cheek, however, are adorable, so have at it.

2. Don’t stand so close to me
Your profile pic is the very first thing people see, so think about the message it sends. Either stand alone or try to show off your girl friends, not just your boyfriend. Note: the occasional cute couples shot is acceptable, especially if it’s really sweet and goofy.

3. When in doubt, leave it out
Unless you’re kidding or engaged, we highly recommend leaving out your relationship status. “Looking for random play” seems a bit slutty and/or desperate, not clever or ironic. If things really are “complicated,” advertising it on Facebook will not simplify your situation. Since old people, like parents, have invaded Facebook, saying you’re “married” has lost its facetious novelty.

4.Dislike the like
The like button is a tempting feature, but there’s little need to “like” your friend’s new relationship and join the gaggles of excited (AKA jealous) girls who make comments such as, “OmG Jen, its been 5 yrs but YAYA. Who’s the lucky guy??” You’ll feel stupid when they break up. Liking breakups, by the way, is even more obnoxious. Plus it’s bad for karma.

5. Don’t talk to strangers
When you join a common interest group for college, band camp or some summer program, your natural inclination may be to scout out hot guys. We like scouts (mostly we like cookies), but do not prematurely Facebook flirt, i.e., decide someone is your future husband based solely upon his interests and wall posts. You will probably run into him at 7-Eleven or somewhere on campus all the time, and all your pre-frosh-flirting will hover over you, filling the air with awkward.

6. No poking.

It’s a little 2007. And if you’re poking your boyfriend on Facebook, it seems like you’re compensating for something.

7. Fulfill the diversity requirement
Entire albums devoted to photos of just you and your significant other inspire the following reaction: Oh my gosh, are you dating? We had no idea. You’re not that girl who brings every conversation back to her boyfriend, like: Your friend: It’s so sunny out today. You: My boyfriend loves the sun! Your friend: (bored silence) Pick the cutest three pictures and save the rest to show people who care. People who Facebook stalk you are not people who genuinely care. Most of them are strangers, people you know from sleepaway camp, or that guy who went to your middle school and then moved to Japan.

8. Everybody was Facebook fighting (HUH!)

Fighting via text is immature and difficult. Facebook brings the downfalls of virtual arguments to a whole new level. Regardless of how mad you are, remember that online arguments are a) no fun b) public c) permanent and d) unnecessary. Facebook is a happy place, a pleasant escape from academic productivity. Be it through Facebook chats that will experience “message send failure” in the first two minutes or passive-aggressive wall-to-walls, just keep the drama out.

9. Jess and Katie think you need a status update No mushy, gushy, emo matching statuses. This includes poems, song lyrics and cutesy inside jokes. Statuses are meant to make people laugh, not gag. “Thinking about u smiling so much can’t stop being happy!!! <3 always.” Umm, <3 never.

10. Off the wall

Writing “I love you” all over the place just looks like showing off; you can tell someone you love him or her in private. Keep it to a minimum. We get that wall posts, as impersonal as they are, have this weird way of making you smile (we know you count the number of people who wish you happy birthday), but too much “baby, I love u!!!!” on your wall will make all your friends want to puke.

Katie most enjoys friends, non-fiction, and dessert. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania and is a contributing editor at Glamour magazine.
Jess (Penn ’11) left her Pleasantville-esque hometown of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey to study English and creative writing. At Penn, she has been an editor of 34th Street magazine and its blog, underthebutton.com. Jess is also the Adventure Editor of The Lost Girls travel website. If you find a way to score her Bruce Springsteen tickets, she’ll probably marry you or at least make out with you. She had a pretty deprived childhood (no TV allowed on school nights) and is compensating for lost time by consuming pop culture like Don Draper downs martinis. This summer she worked as the entertainment intern at Seventeen magazine, where she hugged Kellan Lutz. Unrelated fun fact: Jess is a book nerd who will read just about anything that is not a Twilight book. Sorry, Kellan.
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