“Facebook Chat is the best way to flirt on Facebook, hands down,” says Laurie Davis, founder and CEO of eFlirt Expert, an online dating coaching service. “Because it’s real-time, it’s so much easier to be authentic and mimic an actual face-to-face conversation.”
To use Facebook Chat for dating, follow these seven tips:
1. Be selective
Unfortunately your Facebook friends list contains more than your romantic interests. Protect yourself from unwanted conversations by creating a group for anyone you don’t want to chat with. Then hide your online status from them. Click here for instructions.
2. Focus attention
If you are preoccupied (chatting with too many women at once) the pauses between communications will be too long. Disrupting the flow of Facebook Chat can defeat its purpose, says Davis. Engage in conversation only when you have time to focus.
3. Use emoticons sparingly
Even though emoticons can help convey tone in electronic communication, they should be used sparingly. Researcher Eldon Marks, who has studied the expressive abilities of traditional IM, cautions that emoticons can often be misinterpreted and abuse of certain emoticons (even smileys) can spell trouble for couples.
4. Keep it light
Electronic communication is ambiguous and therefore more prone to misinterpretation than face-to-face conversations, says Marks. He recommends keeping Facebook Chat conversations light and saving the heavier conversation topics for face later.
5. Don’t force humor
Being funny might be your thing, but it doesn’t always translate well on Facebook Chat. Davis recommends avoiding sarcasm and self-deprecating humor unless you know her well. IM communication should be positive. Sarcasm is often perceived as cynicism and self-deprecation as fishing for a compliment. Davis suggests showcasing your sense of humor naturally in response to something she says.
6. Match her style
Dr. James W. Pennebaker, researcher and psychologist at the University of Texas, found that couples who used similar language over IM stayed together longer. He calls this language style matching. But how do you mimic her IM speak? Pennebaker says it comes down to paying attention. All language style matching is a “reflection of the degree to which each member of the couple is actively listening to the other.”
7. Ask her opinion
If she uses pronouns like “I” or “my” a lot, it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s an egomaniac. It could mean good things for your relationship. In his research, Pennebaker found that a woman’s use of first person singular pronouns during IM conversations with her boyfriend/husband positively predicted relationship stability. In other words, if your woman is confident, your relationship is more likely to be solid.
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