by NYCBlonde on January 21, 2013

Even before these Facebook integrated dating apps like Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel, those especially savvy (crazy aggressive) men and women manipulated their way into the hearts of men using private messages and strategically used emoticons.

She'd see a new boy out at the bar with some of her regular guy pals, do a little research, figure out his name, use the ever handy “friends of friends” button and the next day she'd have herself a new “friend”. Or maybe he’d decide to crank up the creepiness when he spotted a cutie in a tagged photo and go for it. If she thinks he’s just as cute, you better believe there's a private message, “Have we met before?” coming his way. However stupid or impersonal Facebook has become, it's also made the world a lot smaller which is both advantageous and a bit worrisome.

Living in New York, when someone asks if I know so-and-so from my hometown, chances are that even if I don't, I probably have mutual friends with them. It's a great way to screen someone because you can figure out their interests, style, sense of humor, hobbies, and necessary info like school/employer/favorite TV shows. And while this does eliminate the sense of need for a first-date, it always frees up your schedule for dates with people that you feel are a better match for you. I know girls who have landed in serious relationships having been introduced on Facebook and I know even more guys that have had casual flings with girls they met through their network.

If you've read along nodding in agreement, you're probably one of those fun, aggressive, single people who have used these tactics. But we mustn’t forget about those happy relationship people who seem to clog up our timelines with sickeningly cute pictures and annoyingly adorable status updates. It seems that social networks are also being utilized as a way for couples to mark their territory. If a girl really likes a guy, she’ll make it a point to tag him in pictures, places, statuses, so other girls know that he isn’t free game.

But that’s not to say that any of it actually stops the Facebook flirting. Even if you’re in a relationship, “poking” someone opens up a conversation in a semi-harmless way. It’s not like you’re cheating on your significant other, you didn’t even go to the trouble to text him/her, and it’s just Facebook. Maybe you’re just bored at work and want someone to talk to or maybe you have more serious intentions. But the fact that it’s so easy to meet people, is definitely affecting relationships. There are so many options out there now that it seems like settling on just one at this early in life, feels like you might be missing out. And because it’s so easy to meet so many new potential suitors, it seems we’re all getting pickier. Now that dating isn’t all “dinner and a movie,” you can grab drinks with that brunette from Tinder at Wednesday happy hour and then see if that friend-of-a-friend blonde is available for drinks and apps around 9 p.m.

It might seem troubling that as a generation, we’re getting especially particular about the qualities in a mate. But with the divorce rate somewhere around 50% is that a bad thing?

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