Meeting people is hard. If you hate people as much as I do, it’s even harder for you than most. Many of us are spending a lot more time on social media than we used to and I’ve noticed more and more couples on my Twitter and Facebook who have met online. The papers would have us believe that meeting someone from the internet is dangerous and doing so will result in certain death, but I’d argue that as with any dating situation, just use your common sense and instincts.
I’ve never tried online dating, so I’m talking only about social media here. Twitter specifically. Now I’m no expert, having met only one straight man from twitter in person, but I’ve wasted nearly 6 years of my life on it so far. It’s been a joyful waste of time for the most part. Of course, as with everything else, it comes with its fair share of freaks, creeps and irritants. I try to limit myself to only being 2 of the 3 at any given time, but not everyone is that considerate. So if you are new to social media, or just wary of meeting people and would like some tips on what to look out for, avoid, or run away fast in the other direction from, I’m your woman. Of course it’s not foolproof since I’ve been taken in by some really odd men myself, but it’s a start and I’ve had a little help from the ladies of twitter. Now before you start with the “not all men,” I haven’t been hit on by any women as yet and this is MY list, so bore off and make your own. Here is then, the definitive list of what puts the ‘twit’ into twitter.
- I’ll start with the simplest one. If someone sends you a direct message within 24 hours of you following them, they will be a loon. They don’t have to ask you what colour underwear you’re wearing or your bra size, but mark my words, THEY WILL! Many women also find men who feel the need to switch to DMs to compliment you, a little creepy. It’s usually a sign of someone who does that a lot and doesn’t want other women to see it. If it’s innocent, they can say it on your timeline. What are they hiding? This applies to men in general, if they like to keep their options open and keep other women on the sidelines as backups, steer clear. You deserve better than to be just one in a list of options.
- Which brings me to the next easy one. If they use the word “panties,” unfollow immediately. They’re likely to keep a sock by their bed and have an unhealthy number of hits to redtube in their internet history. I’m aware it’s a standard American word, but there’s no excuse for Brits to use it.
- Tweeters who don’t have their own picture on their profile are ones to watch out for. It may be for entirely innocent reasons or to maintain a degree of anonymity, but use your common sense.
- Tweet deleters for anything other than corrections, spelling or grammar errors are almost certainly players. There is no good reason for doing this repeatedly on a regular basis. None.
- The one whose words don’t quite add up. They tell you they need to go to bed early, when you see them tweeting in the middle of the night. The one who says they don’t talk to anyone outside twitter, but you’ve seen other women mention calling them. When you confront them, they’ve conveniently forgotten things. Don’t argue, just unfollow. It’ll never be just the one lie and you have better things to do with your time than to play detective and make a new discovery every week.
- People with multiple accounts for no reason, or ones who keep closing and opening new accounts. Always dicks.
- Once you have established a dialogue and gotten to know them better, it might be a good idea to have a quick look through their tweets before giving out any personal details like your phone number. This usually speaks volumes about a person. If they’re mostly following or talk to women, while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s usually a good indication that you’re not the only woman they’re chatting up. As long as they’re honest about that, it doesn’t have to be an issue. Most of us are only on twitter for a bit of fun. As long as both sides make that clear and don’t promise more, there’s nothing to worry about.
- The “nice guy”. Everyone’s friend, goes out of his way to be helpful to women. Slightly geeky, because geeks are never going to hurt you, right? WRONG. They may be genuinely nice and make good friends, but there are many who have low self esteem and guess who they’ll use to boost it? Don’t polish their ego in secret if their public persona differs wildly from their private one. In fact, secrecy or sneaking around in general is only ever done by someone who is hiding something. Don’t agree to be hidden away. You’re not a dirty secret.
- If however, they’re getting intense and telling you they don’t usually do this, but you can see them repeatedly tweeting mostly or only pretty women, or those who have sexy bios, you probably shouldn’t give them your number. Some of them are wise to this now and have a couple of token men they’ll speak to as red herrings.
- In fact, those who get very intense very quickly should set alarm bells ringing anyway. They never mean it. These are the men who run at the first sign of trouble because of course it’s a line and they think you’ll fall for it.
- Then there are those who are far too interested in you. They’ll give you a patronising telling off about the TV you watch, kindly informing you they’re muting you for the duration of the show, because it wasn’t enough to quietly do it, they had to TELL you. Then they’ll tweet about football throughout football season because that’s what the smart people watch.
- I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but the “Not all men!” shouters are best avoided at all costs. I recently passed a comment about a twitter account I had seen, saying it was one I’d like to show as an example to young men for how not to behave. Immediately, someone pounced on me, telling me women behave badly too. I wasn’t suggesting they don’t, only this happened to be a man’s account. I’d like to tell you how the rest of the conversation went, but as with many of these patronising types, he had trouble forming a coherent sentence, so I just unfollowed. He just so happened to be a man who had tried to chat me up, then months later, forgotten he had already tried it on and did it again. He blamed the wine of course, then did the same with a friend of mine. At least he was amusing, if not very bright.
- Not so amusing are the men AND women who call women “sluts.” There is no male equivalent of this word that is commonly used and is often applied to women who choose to be unapologetic about having sex. We’re still uncomfortable with the idea that women have as much right to enjoy their bodies as men do, in the way they dress or who they choose to share it with. I often find the men who spend the most time leering at these women, are the first to label them sluts, perhaps in an effort to divert attention from the fact that they are grade A bellends with all the charm of a teatowel.
- The husbands whose wives don’t understand them. The problem with these men is that their wives usually understand them a bit TOO well and are jealous or insecure with good reason. You would be too, if your husband was tweeting strangers on the internet to complain about you instead of speaking to you directly. They will often be arranging to meet women behind their wife’s back as well. These are not signs he wants to be just “friends”.
- Avoid the creep at all costs. He’s the one who’ll be pestering women, agreeing with everything those women say and creeping upto them at every opportunity. I saw a woman on twitter complaining about people who had a problem with her curves, then the same day, calling another woman fat and ugly, going on to post unflattering pictures of her. There was a creep agreeing with and hanging on her every word. He went from telling her to “Fuck those people, curves are beautiful” to encouraging her and laughing at the appalling bullying of this poor woman. Stay away from that guy. In fact, stay away from that girl too. If he professes to have principles, but looks the other way or encourages someone who goes against them just because he fancies her, then he’s not worth knowing.
- The persistent ‘LOL’er. “I’m having breakfast, LOL.” “Just got home drenched LMAO.” WHAT THE FUCK IS SO FUCKING FUNNY, YOU CHARMLESS CRETIN? Let’s just say, the ‘LOL’er is unlikely to win you over with his sparkling wit.
- Finally, never ever trust someone who retweets praise or worse, RTs their Follow Fridays. Abandon ship, run for your life and DON’T LOOK BACK WHATEVER YOU DO.
These are all examples I’ve come across, but the most important thing is to trust your instincts. I’ve ignored mine in the past, to my cost. If you just get a bad feeling about someone, if the things they say don’t quite add up, they blow hot and cold, are unnecessarily secretive, hide the fact they speak to you or try to pressure you into giving them your number/meet up, it’s probably unwise to do so. If you do decide to meet someone you like, make sure you tell a friend where and when you’re meeting them. Be careful, but don’t forget to have some fun too and try not to take it too seriously. Oh and guys? Don’t be these men.