Dear Mann Landers,
There is this girl I have a crush on, but she doesn’t know who I am. I guess you could say she is in my peripheral friends circles and I see her all the time at parties. But I am far too shy to approach her. Since we have mutual friends should I just try adding her to facebook and try to start things off that way? It sure would make my life easier, but I also don’t want to look like a creep.
Face-less in Ithaca, New York
DON’T ADD HER!!! No matter how smart it seems when you’re drunk at 4 in the morning this weekend… it isn’t. Being the creepy random-friendship-requester is the digital equivalent of that guy who lurks up on an unsuspecting girl at the bar and starts grinding her from behind. Ask any girl who has experienced this and you’ll learn everything you need to know about the effectiveness of such strategy
Your best bet of pulling off the digital pickup is to start in the analog world. There is a certain level of believability and trust that is instantly established in face-to-face encounters for which there is no equivalence online. Take advantage of your mutual friends by convincing one of them to help get you into a face-to-face conversation with her. It doesn’t have to be anything too intense, all your friend needs to do is open up a small window where you can be properly introduced and have a short conversation. Once the three of you are talking it is your job to find a ‘hook’ in the conversation that will give you a reason to follow up with her. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, you can always find a hook:
1) if she mentions she loves the new Arcade Fire album say: “yeah it is pretty good, but if you like them I’ll send you some stuff that will make your head explode.” It doesn’t matter if you have no idea who Arcade Fire is, just say it, and tomorrow you can research them and find similar music.
2) if she mentions she is taking the bus to New York next weekend, say: “no way, I am going too, my friend is driving and I am sure there is space for you”. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to New York City because you’re too scared, just say it, and then find a reason later for your plans to change.
The point is, you now have a non-pathetic reason to send her a facebook message, and once that’s been established, it is perfectly acceptable to add her as a friend, start a digi-flirt session with her, and spend hours creeping every picture of her in a bikini.
Please remember, though, even if you make it onto her friends list you’re still on thin ice, new relationships always have a probation period, especially digital relationships where it’s much easier to look creepy than cool. There are still numerous ways you can sink your own boat. Some general rules to follow: (1) Avoid incessant posting on her wall; (2) only comment on her status if it is highly pertinent; (3) don’t ‘poke’, no one has ever looked cool ‘poking’ someone else; and (3) only comment on pictures that are posted after you became ‘friends’. If you find yourself commenting on a picture from her family vacation in 2007 turn your computer off and give yourself a shake.