Social media play a big role in many people’s lives today (mine included, admittedly). Sometimes they create situations which probably wouldn’t have arisen in the past. To set the stage: I’m old enough (over 30) and have lived enough different places (7, only counting locations where I’ve stayed for more than a year) that I’ve gotten acquainted with a large number of people (for one measuring stick, I have 1,657 Facebook friends). On the other hand, my current whereabouts are remote enough that the chance of running into anyone I know from a previous time/place is virtually nil. I’m also single at an age where more and more family members, friends and acquaintances are getting married and/or having kids if they haven’t passed those milestones already.
The unwritten rule that I generally obey is to not seek regular contact (much less “reconnect” by phone, email, etc.) with any female friend whom I know to be married or otherwise spoken for. Some might find that policy extreme, but I’d prefer to avoid any potential misunderstandings; I’m certainly amenable if and when anyone wants to contact me or wonders how I’m doing, and I’ll leave it at that. What becomes a real gray area is the less direct form of connection that can be found in certain social media.
Example 1: I got an auto-email the other day telling me “someone you may know is now on Twitter” and suggesting I follow her. I do indeed know the person because I dated her, albeit in a period which sometimes seems like another lifetime. We haven’t been in contact the past few years, but my normal action would be to follow her because I’m genuinely curious as to where she lives, what she’s doing and all that. However, practically the one thing I do know about her is that she’s married. Thus, does following her equate to breaking that unwritten rule?
Example 2: I have another acquaintance–not an ex, just someone I thought well of in high school when I could barely talk to a girl–who’s now a teacher and the author of an interesting blog. I commented on it once, back when I joined wordpress a couple of years ago and found her journal (or perhaps I’d already read it from a Facebook link, not sure). Just tonight I clicked back onto it as a link from another blog which i sometimes peruse. I was momentarily moved to write another comment or two since I honestly identify with some of her material and find it useful to consider in relation to my own life. Once again, seeing as how she’s married and has at least one kid, the unwritten no-contact rule reared its head.
Oh well…call them #firstworldoldsingledudeproblems I suppose!