iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Michael Cohen

GET UPDATES FROM Michael Cohen
 

Ask Michael Cohen: The Social Etiquette of Relationships on Facebook

Posted: 02/22/2011 11:02 am

I don't usually read advice columns, but I saw your column on Valentine's Day and really liked the advice you gave the guy that didn't want to give his girlfriend red roses. I'm hoping you can give me some real advice. I met a girl that I really like but when I got to her Facebook profile I found a lot of pictures that were suspect, mainly her with a lot of different guys that don't look as though they're just her friends. To be honest, I think she might be a serial dater. How do I approach the subject of asking her who all these guys are?
Rob, Philadelphia, PA

You don't because, hello, you're just dating her. I know the feeling though, so I can relate. I once, on national television, when I was on Bravo's Miami Social , decided to break up with someone because I didn't like, what I considered, his unsavory friends. The Bravo board had a backlash of people saying that for such a needy gay guy that was a bit premature. Maybe it was. I am still single.

You really can't judge a book by its cover and I encourage you to disregard what you think you know about someone based on pictures from Facebook and instead explore the relationship on your own.

If the curiosity is killing you, I advise you to phrase the question as a compliment. Tell her how good she looks in all her pics and then do your best Sherlock Holmes work to get more details about where said pics took place and with whom. For all you know they could be the extended family of the post-divorce wars and she may have a ton of step-brothers and cousins. If she tells you they are all her ex-boyfriends, well then, you might be right. But you might also be the series finale.

I want to preface this question with the fact that I am not the type of girl who is looking for a ring on her finger and a baby in her belly. But, my boyfriend and I have been together for nearly six months and he hasn't changed his Facebook profile status to "In A Relationship" and he's one of those Facebook diehards. But then again I haven't because I'm waiting for his cue. What do I do? The relationship status of Facebook is all beginning to really bother me. Katie, San Diego, CA

Let me preface this answer with the suspicion that I think you may be the type of girl who is looking for a ring on her finger and a baby in her belly. Let me tell you why. If you're looking for the attention of people knowing that you're "In a relationship," you're looking for validation outside of simply how each of you feels about each other. And if you think him updating his Facebook status makes it 100% official, you may want to re-think where your relationship is really going and what you actually really want.

But let's say for unicorn and rainbow purposes everything is kosher and this is a legit issue that has you bothered. Nothing is more important than honesty and communication in a relationship. Here's a novel idea: why don't you update your Facebook status. In my opinion, after six-months you're "In A Relationship" and if he argues this or asks, "what's the big deal?" or doesn't change his status accordingly, then there may be something there and it's time for a talk. It's pretty simple, right?

This past year I decided to create a Facebook account for my mother because my father passed away and this was a really good way for the whole family to keep in touch. She picked up on how to use it with ease -- let me tell you. Now, every conversation is a recap of my wall, which she "likes" everything I post. She has something to say about everything and I don't know how to tell her to slow her roll. Any ideas about how not offend your parents on Facebook? Stephanie, Alexandria, VA

This is a common situation so don't feel alone. I have advised my parents on this before and now they know better than to harass me via Facebook. But it took some delicate finessing. The end result is that instead I allow them to harass me the old fashion way. Amazing phone calls with guilt trips when I don't call them back; responding to their lengthy emails and now text messages.

But it's all good and it's all love, but more to the point it's one-on-one, between me and my parents, not between them and my thousands of so called friends. That's the main point you want to hammer home.

With that mentioned, you should also explain to your mother -- with your best TLC face -- that you have a personal life and part of that is your Facebook wall. Otherwise always engage your mother in all other conversations because she needs you and you need her - that's part of what family is all about.

If you're not my mom (I allowed her to "Like" my business), "Like" Ask Michael Cohen on Facebook, indulge with "Ask Me Anything" at askmichaelcohen.com or in the comment section below.

 

Follow Michael Cohen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AskMrCohen

FOLLOW STYLE