Seven years of using the internet has taught me that social media are called social media for a reason: to get to know people or make friends, maybe even with complete strangers. By definition, friendship does not mean being creepy, threatening, strange or stalker-type.
A little perspective on why women are wary of responding to messages from unknown people.
As a woman, you can get trolled or even abused online for anything from having an opinion to wearing a particular shade of lipstick (Remember Ash Rai?). But on the other end of the spectrum are all the people who absolutely insist on being friends, etc.
Iâm not judgmental about someone stumbling onto my profile and sending me a message. But itâs what's in the message that makes me want to respond or just freak out. If the creepy ones have ruined things for you nice fellas as well, read on before you curse us.
It starts with a âhiâ and progresses into a variety of salutations, stickers and emojis. Every. Day. And no, Iâm not making fun of people who still type in SMS lingo. That is fine. But THIS, is a bit much.
So if I donât reply, get the hint maybe?
Seven yearsâ worth of January 1 and Happy New Year wishes from random people. Many of these, escalate into good morning and good evening messages. And goodnight messages. And âwish you a good day messagesâ. Every. Effing Day.
My response? Block. Block. Block. Or mute. Forever.
The descriptive over-appreciator
Everyone likes a compliment. I do too, but not if you write two 100-word paragraphs about my profile picture. NO. Not if I know you, and especially not if I donât know you.
The agonized friend request
The word ârequestâ in friend request exists for a reason. It can be rejected. But then there are people like these who have no chill and demand to understand what my âproblemâ is. And shout in text while theyâre at it.
The notification machine / stalker-type / Too eager to please
Ever woken up to a phone screen full of notifications of someone having liked/favourited all of your pictures/status/tweets/stories? No thatâs not going to make me want to say thank you.
And these are just the tip of the iceberg. There is also the uninvited sexter, the stalker, the one who will want to friend your entire social circle and the list goes on. But now that we have that out of the way, hereâs my two cents about how you could approach people on the internet, especially women, if you want to make friends.
Understand the word 'NO'
No does not mean yes. Ignoring you is not a silent invitation for you to get more persistent or louder. Why does your self-esteem depend on how I, as a stranger respond to you or not? If it does, itâs your problem, not mine.
Say something genuine
Contrary to what you may lead you to believe, I am not constantly fishing for compliments. If you want to say ânice profile picâ or âcute dpâ, please go ahead. But honestly, if you want to be friends with me, youâre going to have to start talking about other things. So a âHey, I saw you like this film. What do you think about xyz character?â is more likely to get me to respond than you telling me how pretty my eyes are or how ugly my chin is.
And while some of us do not mind the compliment opener, there have been too many instances where a âthank youâ has invited a variety of comments on various parts of our bodies and other sexual commentary. So opening with something more neutral or interesting may be a better idea. And no, I do not mean pick-up lines.
I am not your âdearâ or âbabyâ or âhoneyâ. Thatâs not endearing, itâs just clingy. It may be the way you normally talk but many of us take some time reaching that level of comfort. Please keep that in mind.
And if you have piqued my interest and I have replied, hold your horses and concentrate on the conversation. Do not ask for my number right way. It is okay if I do not want to meet you at any given point of time. Do not message me obsessively and more importantly, do not act entitled to my responses when you donât receive any. I will not spill my heart out to you right way and just because I mentioned a friend to you does not mean he/she wants to be your friend too.
And if we like talking to each other, a little patience isnât going to hurt anybody.
Hold your rage mode
So I said something you didnât like. Itâs okay to get offended. Please feel free to never speak to me again or even blocking me. HOWEVER, it is not okay to take photos from my profile and screenshot our messages and shame me. It is not okay to write my paragraphs full of expletives about me.
But do feel free to move on.
There are plenty of fish in the sea
The digital world is a maze. We may have started on a good note but our interaction may have fizzled out. Thatâs okay! Go ahead and seek out new friends in the internet world instead of moping around and incessantly messaging me about how I have changed and do not reply. No oneâs asking you to give up on a great friendship but itâs imperative to draw the line between salvaging a budding friendship and poking at a dead one.