My boyfriend of four months won’t accept my Facebook friend request. He’s got a little over three hundred friends, so it’s not like he’s new to Facebook. Other guys I’ve dated in the past have been my FB friends. Should I be worried that he’s trying to hide something? —KT, San Francisco, California
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
This is one of those times when you have to hate how social media has had such an impact on our lives that we even have to think about why this is an issue. However, with that said, maybe the guy is still just being cautious. You’ve been dating him for only four months, so maybe he doesn’t want to expose you to his whole world just yet. Besides, I’ve had friends tell me they’ve accepted friend requests with guys they’ve gone out with, only to break up with them a week or a month later and then be left with the dilemma of whether or not to remove them from their friends list. Don’t take it so personally. Be happy that you have some mystery with him.
When you say other guys you’ve dated have been your friends on FB, I’m curious if they are still your friends now, or if you’ve deleted each other since. It’s amazing how we’ll post something personal about ourselves for all the world to see, and then have to occasionally edit ourselves so not everyone will find out what we’re up to. But back to your current situation: if he doesn’t want to accept your friend request, there’s nothing you can do about it. Chalk this up to one of those getting-to-know-you phases of your relationship and move on.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
My first instinct is to say that you have a red flag here and that this guy is hiding things. And while that may be the case, there’s a bigger issue at play here for me: honest communication. If you’re worried he’s trying to hide something, why don’t you just ask him why he won’t friend you and if he is indeed hiding parts of his life from you?
I’m sure you know at least one of his three hundred FB friends and could check out his posts if you really wanted to, but apparently you haven’t. Do you want to know if he’s dating others? Do you guys have an agreement to be exclusive? KT, you need to ask yourself this question: what would you do if you found out that he was dating other people? If a guy can have a FB relationship with three hundred people but not with his girlfriend, well, that’s just weird to me. Once you know your answers to these questions, start the conversation. If he won’t engage, it’s time to disengage and know that he’s not boyfriend—or even Facebook—material.
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
Is he trying to hide something? Yeah, he might be.
If you’ve read my past response about premature Facebooking—and I’ll assume you have—you know that I’m opposed to friending someone you’ve just met. This is especially true for someone you’re romantically interested in. It’s a little too stalker-esque for me. I prefer the old-fashioned way of getting to know someone—by talking with him or her. It’s nice to have a woman present her information in her own way, with her own stories, in her own time, rather than just having every picture, comment, and thought presented before me.
That said, you’ve been exclusive with this guy now for four months, so it seems reasonable that he would have added you as a friend by now. It’s still a can of worms, though. Say one of his female friends leaves a comment asking how he’s doing. Are you the type who will jump to conclusions and grill him about this for days? Even if he has nothing to hide and it’s innocent, it’s still a hassle he may not feel is worth the trouble. What’s your motivation for wanting to be his Facebook friend? Do you want to monitor him? Because if that’s your goal, you have some trust issues in the relationship. How important is it to you? If it’s really important and you can honestly say you want to be his friend, with no ulterior motives, then tell him that and he should accommodate you. If he doesn’t want to, then proceed with the worry.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
Maybe he isn’t trying to hide anything at all; maybe he doesn’t want the friend world and the girlfriend world to collide just yet. You’ve been dating for only four months—that’s not exactly a long-term relationship. Besides, he has no idea what your Facebook behavior is and you have no idea what his is. Maybe he thinks that every time he updates his status, you’ll post an “Awesome, baby! ♥ you! xoxo” response. Or maybe you’re a crazy-vigilant tagger, and he’ll go from having forty-nine tagged photos to 871 tagged photos in less than four hours. Or maybe you’ll email his mom, ask for baby photos, and pull a How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days move and Photoshop what your future children will look like and post them on FB. Or maybe he’s worried that you might overshare in your status updates: “Woke up with my honey this morning, naked, and he told me how absolutely perfect I am.” (FYI, readers: that’s a watered-down version of a real status update from one of my FB friends. I could not make this stuff up.)
Naturally, you would never be that crazy, now would you? But maybe your boyfriend doesn’t know that yet, because, like all of us, he’s probably come across a few Facebook wackos in his collection of friends. As always, I think the best course of action is to talk; a breezy conversation will do just fine. “What’s up with you not friending me on Facebook? I promise I won’t embarrass you.” (Cue sweet yet flirtatious smile.) If he balks after that, I’d try one more breezy approach: “Facebook is for friends. I mean, I do want to rip your clothes off, but I’d like to think we’re friends, too, right?” If that fails, drop it. You can revisit it when you have some more time (nine months to a year of dating) under your relationship belt. It’s just Facebook. If he’s holding back from introducing you to his close circle of friends in real life, though, that’s an issue worth poking him about.