THE BLOG
12/09/2014 10:46 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

WARNING: Facebook Is Trying To Get You To Friend Your One-Night Stands

I love Facebook.

My page -- part diary, part cocktail party, part think tank -- has become a place where friends, acquaintances and complete strangers come together and joke, flirt, share stories and have really smart and often tough conversations about everything from sex and love to gender and race.

I also love that I'm never sure who is going to pop up in my feed and when I'm bored or avoiding doing something more important, I scroll through my "People You May Know" box on the off chance I'll bump into someone from my past or find someone I might want to be a part of my future. But mostly my friend suggestions involve people I don't know and fall into one of these four categories: guys who look like models, guys who look like porn stars, drag queens and guys who look like models that do drag porn.

At least that was true until last night. And then everything changed and all of a sudden I noticed that my "People You May Know" box was overrun with a decade's worth of guys that I've dated or hooked up with and then promptly forgot about (or actively took great pains to avoid).

There was the guy who was so arrogant that despite him having one of the prettiest dicks I've ever held in my left hand, I couldn't make it past a second date with him. There was the guy who didn't get any of my jokes and lived in what I imagine Freddy Krueger's basement bachelor pad would probably look like. And there was the guy who literally chewed on my tongue while we were making out (and not in a good way).

At first I thought I must be on some kind of low budget cable access hidden camera show or maybe my roommate had spiked my chili with PCP but when I mentioned the horror show that was unfolding on my page to my Facebook friends it became clear that I wasn't the only one being haunted and/or hunted and my feed immediately filled up with comments like, "OMG WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!?" "I thought I was going crazy" and "I noticed the change. Suddenly my vague work contacts were side by side with people I've seen naked. Memories..."

So, why is this happening and how do we make it stop? Facebook is infamously cagey when it comes to explaining their algorithms (and didn't immediately respond to a request for a statement) but it appears that the social media site is using our contacts in our phones to put us (back) in touch with people we may have (purposefully) forgotten about.

Someone in my comments section mentioned that you can go to this page and see the imported phone numbers and delete them. However, he also noted that "even if you didn't sync your phone book, if you provide your phone number to Facebook, you might get matched with other folks who have you in their phonebooks. So if you want to completely opt out, you need to take your phone number off Facebook. Also keep in mind that your phone book will be continuously synced so any new numbers you add might show up in People You May Know." (This may not actually solve the problem, though, as some are reporting that people they've chatted with on Grindr and Tinder but never swapped numbers with are now popping up.)

After my initial hysteria wore off I started to wonder if maybe -- just maybe -- there was some good that could come out of this nightmare. And, of course, there is. It's always a good idea to (re)consider how often and how easily we offer up personal information about ourselves and how often and how easily corporations can make use of that personal information. And on a very practical level, it's a good reminder to clean out my phone book (something I haven't done in years -- if ever) more often.

But beyond that, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not every hook up or relationship was awful and a few of the faces that I saw in my "People You May Know" box were guys I actually had a really nice time with and, for one reason or another, we just never hung out again. I'm not saying that I'm going to contact all (or any) of these guys or that I'm having (or at least indulging) fantasies about finding my husband in the ruins of a once forgotten one-night stand, but I like the idea of remembering -- of memory -- and honoring those experiences (even the terrible ones) as being part of building who I am today. In our culture of the quick fix and the even quicker orgasm, when we're often so ready to flee from something that feels scary or challenging, being confronted by our failures can reveal how much we've grown.

That doesn't mean I really want to be reunited with mister arrogant pretty dick or Freddy Krueger or the tongue chewer. Some experiences and people belong in the past and that's an important lesson too. But I am going to take Facebook's lead and consider that maybe I judged some of those other guys a little too quickly and they might deserve another chance or -- at the very least -- a Facebook friend request.

UPDATE: A representative from Facebook told The Huffington Post in an email, "We don't take data from Grindr or Tinder to inform the people you may know feature."

A representative from Grindr told The Huffington Post in an email, "As part of our commitment to privacy, Grindr does not share user data with Facebook. However we offer users the ability to display to their Facebook page as an opt-in feature -- that information is not shared with Facebook."

Also on The Huffington Post:

  • 1 Megan Fox
    In a 2011 <a href="http://www.esquire.com/women/women-we-love/megan-fox-pics-0609" target="_blank">Esquire</a>&nbsp;interview
    AP
    In a 2011 Esquire interview, Megan Fox confirmed her bisexuality, stating, "I think people are born bisexual and then make subconscious choices based on the pressures of society. I have no question in my mind about being bisexual. But I'm also a hypocrite: I would never date a girl who was bisexual, because that means they also sleep with men, and men are so dirty that I'd never want to sleep with a girl who had slept with a man."
  • 2 Billie Joe Armstrong
    The Green Day front man&nbsp;opened up about his sexuality in a 1995 interview with <a href="http://theadvocate.com/" target=
    AP
    The Green Day front man opened up about his sexuality in a 1995 interview with The Advocate: "I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."
  • 3 Margaret Cho
    Comedian Margaret Cho has long been open about her sexuality. In August 2013, Cho <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013
    AP
    Comedian Margaret Cho has long been open about her sexuality. In August 2013, Cho discussed the semantics surrounding her open marriage to artist Al Ridenour, saying that she's "technically not able to stay with one person sexually because I’m bisexual,” and joking that she just “can’t stop up that hole.” She also identifies as queer, and opened up about her sexuality in an interview with HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large Michelangelo Signorile.
  • 4 Clive Davis
    Twice-married record executive and music mogul Clive Davis <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/19/clive-davis-bise
    AP
    Twice-married record executive and music mogul Clive Davis came out as bisexual in his 2013 memoir, The Soundtrack Of My Life. Davis opened up about two long-term relationships he had with men after his divorce from his second wife.
  • 5 Anna Paquin
    Anna Paquin is adamantly open about her bisexuality. The actress<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/anna-paquin
    Getty
    Anna Paquin is adamantly open about her bisexuality. The actress told "Zooey" magazine in a 2009 interview, "For me, it’s not really an issue because I’m someone who believes being bisexual is actually a thing. It’s not made up. It’s not a lack of decision."
  • 6 Megan Mullally
    After telling The Advocate in 1999 that she was bisexual, Mullally clarified her statements in an <a href="http://www.queerty
    AP
    After telling The Advocate in 1999 that she was bisexual, Mullally clarified her statements in an interview with Queerty, telling the blog: "I said that I thought that everybody is innately bisexual. I think there are different levels of awareness attached to that, so I may believe that everybody is innately bisexual, but somebody who is very homophobic may not see that quality in themselves in any way, shape or form. That’s on a very philosophical or even metaphysical level, you know what I mean? It’s not something that I think people are ready for yet. I think if you ask the average guy on the street if he was innately bisexual, he’d be like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ and then he’d punch you in the face. So, we’re not quite there."
  • 7 Azealia Banks
    The rapper has been <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/blogs/thread-count/azealia-banks-on-why-the-c-word-is-feminine
    Getty
    The rapper has been openly bisexual since the early days of her career: "I mean, I'm bisexual, so it makes sense. But I don't want to be that girl who says all gays necessarily hang out together, of course! I have people say to me, 'Oh wow, my friend is gay, too,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, so?'"
  • 8 Andy Dick
    Many people mistakenly assume that Andy Dick identifies as gay. However, he told <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
    AP
    Many people mistakenly assume that Andy Dick identifies as gay. However, he told The Washington Post in a 2006 interview that, "just because I've been with guys, and I'm bi, doesn't mean I'm gay."
  • 9 Bai Ling
    Actress Bai Ling is openly bisexual -- and the identity category has often provided some humorous mix-ups involving her first
    Getty
    Actress Bai Ling is openly bisexual -- and the identity category has often provided some humorous mix-ups involving her first name. According to GLAAD, she discussed it in-depth in a 2009 interview with Entertainment Weekly: "[A]t first when I was in the United States I didn't always have an interpreter in interviews and I didn't speak English so well. There was some confusion. My name is pronounced 'bi,' so when I was asked, 'Are you bi?' I said, 'Yes, I am Bai.' Do you like men? 'Of course!' Do you like women? 'Why yes!' And later I found out what that means and I said, 'Sure, I am bi!' But I think the interpreters and the reporters thought that I didn't know what I was saying because I was so open about it. They were uncomfortable about it. Such a thing is not important for me."
  • 10 Carrie Brownstein
    The "Portlandia" star and former guitarist and vocalist for Sleater-Kinney is often assumed to identify as gay. However, she
    AP
    The "Portlandia" star and former guitarist and vocalist for Sleater-Kinney is often assumed to identify as gay. However, she told "Willamette Week" in 2012 that, "It’s weird, because no one’s actually ever asked me. People just always assume, like, you’re this or that. It’s like, ‘OK. I’m bisexual.’”
  • 11 David Bowie
    Though David Bowie has historically played coy surrounding his sexuality, he clarified the subject in <a href="http://www.vic
    Getty
    Though David Bowie has historically played coy surrounding his sexuality, he clarified the subject in a 1976 interview with "Playboy." "It's true -- I am a bisexual. But I can't deny that I've used that fact very well. I suppose it's the best thing that ever happened to me."
  • 12 Snooki
    The always-polarizing Snooki&nbsp;sat down with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/jersey-shore-snooki-and-jwo
    AP
    The always-polarizing Snooki sat down with The Huffington Post in February 2012 and sought to clarify her sexual preference. "I would consider myself bi. I've done stuff with girls before. But I would never be with a girl because I like... penis. But I've experimented."
  • 13 Amber Heard
    Amber Heard has been <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/amber-heard-bisexuality-elle_n_3756186.html" target="_
    Getty
    Amber Heard has been openly bisexual for quite some time, and discussed this aspect of her identity in "Elle." The model and actress told reporters: "[I] didn't want to look like I was hiding anything."
  • 14 Angelina Jolie
    Angelina Jolie has been open about her sexuality for quite some time, having had numerous encounters and relationships with w
    Getty
    Angelina Jolie has been open about her sexuality for quite some time, having had numerous encounters and relationships with women. She reportedly told OK Magazine that, "I have loved women in the past and slept with them. I think if you love and want to pleasure a woman, particularly if you are a woman yourself, then certainly you know how to do things a certain way."
  • 15 Evan Rachel Wood
    Evan Rachel Wood <a href="https://twitter.com/evanrachelwood/status/238791671553351681" target="_blank">came out on Twitter</
    AP
    Evan Rachel Wood came out on Twitter in 2012: “I myself am bisexual and have always ‘joked’ about Miley giving me gay vibes. Not a bad thing! Just an observation.”
  • 16 Sapphire
    The author of <em>Push,</em> the book that inspired the critically acclaimed film "Precious," <a href="http://www.standard.co
    Getty
    The author of Push, the book that inspired the critically acclaimed film "Precious," describes herself as bisexual.
  • 17 Drew Barrymore
    Drew Barrymore originally came out in <a href="http://www.contactmusic.com/news-article/drew-barrymore.-.i-am-bisexual." targ
    Getty
    Drew Barrymore originally came out in an interview in Contact Magazine in 2003, saying, "Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual... I love a woman's body. I think a woman and a woman together are beautiful, just as a man and a woman together are beautiful. Being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else."
  • 18 Frenchie Davis
    This former "American Idol" and "The Voice" contestant came out in 2012, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/fr
    Getty
    This former "American Idol" and "The Voice" contestant came out in 2012, telling her fans that she had been in a relationship with a woman for the past year and had dated men and women.
  • 19 Vanessa Carlton
    Musician Vanessa Carlton <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/20/vannesa-carlton-im-bisexu_n_618697.html" target="_
    Getty
    Musician Vanessa Carlton came out publicly at 2010's Nashville Pride, announcing to a crowd of 18,000 that, "I've never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman!"
  • 20 Fergie
    The Black Eyed Peas front woman confirmed speculation surrounding her sexual identity in 2009 through <a href="http://www.adv
    Getty
    The Black Eyed Peas front woman confirmed speculation surrounding her sexual identity in 2009 through an interview with The Advocate: "Q: After you discussed past sexual experiences with women in an interview with 'The Sun' in May, headlines everywhere read, 'Fergie Admits She’s Bisexual!' A: The funny thing is that I was very open and honest about that from the very beginning, and everyone was acting like it was some new trend. Go back four or five years, people, and you’ll see the same answer.

"
  • 21 Pete Townshend
    In his book,&nbsp;<i>Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend</i>, this musician <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/o
    AP
    In his book, Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend, this musician confirmed that he is "probably bisexual" and cited his attraction to Mick Jagger, calling him "the only man I've ever seriously wanted to fuck."
  • 22 Tila Tequila
    Tila Tequila is not one to shy away from anything. The former Myspace celebrity did <a href="http://www.mtv.com/shows/tila_te
    Getty
    Tila Tequila is not one to shy away from anything. The former Myspace celebrity did several reality shows centered around identifying as bisexual, beginning with "A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila." She was also the girlfriend of Casey Johnson, the Johnson & Johnson heiress, who passed away in 2010.
  • 23 Amber Rose
    Amber Rose&nbsp;has long been perceived to be openly bisexual without actually addressing the way she identifies. In an inter
    Getty
    Amber Rose has long been perceived to be openly bisexual without actually addressing the way she identifies. In an interview with Complex magazine, the model sought to clarify the rumors: "They label me a bisexual freak stripper that fucks Kanye on a daily basis. To answer that: I’m extremely open with my sexuality. I can be in love with a woman, I can be in love with a man. I’m not into bestiality, but as far as humans go, I definitely find beauty in everybody, whether they’re heavy-set, super-skinny, if they’re white, black, Indian, Asian, Spanish. I can see beauty in anybody. I’m not into threesomes or orgies and shit like that. If I see a women and I think she’s beautiful and I like her, and she likes me back we can definitely try to be in a relationship together."
  • 24 Cynthia Nixon
    Currently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/28/cynthia-nixon-married-christina-marinoni_n_1550345.html" target="
    Getty
    Currently married to wife Christine Marinoni, Nixon confirmed in a January 2012 interview with The Daily Beast that she is bisexual. The "Sex And The City" star stated, "I don’t pull out the 'bisexual' word because nobody likes the bisexuals. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals... We get no respect."
  • 25 Jillian Michaels
    The first lady to ever come out in "Lady's Home Journal" as bisexual, "Biggest Loser" coach and personal trainer Jillian Mich
    Getty
    The first lady to ever come out in "Lady's Home Journal" as bisexual, "Biggest Loser" coach and personal trainer Jillian Michaels told the magazine in 2010: “Let’s just say I believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love… it’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!”
  • 26 Kim Zolciak
    Former "Real Housewives Of Atlanta" star Kim Zolciak was in public relationships with both the mysterious "Big Poppa" and DJ
    Getty
    Former "Real Housewives Of Atlanta" star Kim Zolciak was in public relationships with both the mysterious "Big Poppa" and DJ Tracy Young before marrying Kroy Biermann. In a 2010 interview with Life & Style, interviewers posed the following question for the reality queen: "Q: Do you feel you're giving a voice to other bisexual parents? A: I'm among the millions of parents who have been in a gay or lesbian relationship. It hasn't been an easy road lately, but I feel there are no mistakes in my life. Everything happens for a reason. To have the opportunity to speak for myself and to have people understand what I'm going through is really special. I myself was confused and scared at first. Being able to speak from my heart and get this all out, it's a huge relief for me."
  • 27 Lady Gaga
    Lady Gaga has been open for quite some time about her bisexuality, initially coming out in <a href="http://www.youtube.com/wa
    AP
    Lady Gaga has been open for quite some time about her bisexuality, initially coming out in a 2010 interview with Barbara Walters.
  • 28 'Mama June' Shannon
    The star of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" revealed that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/25/mama-june-bisexual-_n_
    Charles Norfleet via Getty Images
    The star of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" revealed that she's bisexual in an "Inside Edition" interview in April 2015. Her daughter "Pumpkin" Lauryn Thompson also came out as bi at the same time.