Date: Thursday of this week.
Subject line: a lil nugget for you
Sender: a smart and sensible female friend
I have something that may or may not merit your attention/discussion -- if not, just disregard and call me crazy while your roll your eyes, but if so, here you go:
I just started working in the newsroom of a large network, and on my third day, I sort of locked eyes with this guy - but then he didn't look away, and my hyper sensitivity and irrational "psycho radar" kicked in and it seemed excessive/scary. On my way back past this guy, he was still staring. It was strange, but I thought it was probably all in my head. But he was cute, too, so I felt kind of like, go me. Just a teeny bit.
Later that day, I get a facebook message:
Do you work at ___________? I work in ad sales...I could have sworn you were the person I saw in the office today. Are you a writer for _____________?
Speak to you soon,
Guy (ed. note: his name wasn't really Guy, which I point out because some guys are named Guy, which is really just cruel parenting).
Given that it's my third day in a newsroom of about 75 people, only about 3 people know who I am, so it would have taken some sort of digging to track me down. I think. I wanted to ignore the message and friend request (pet peeve - private profiles should be visible if they friend request you!), but then I thought, I'll 99% likely see him again, what do I do? I ended up just replying with a, "Yup, that's me," and left it at that.
The story continues with a pretty direct/bold response if you want to hear more, but basically my point is, every single day I go about my day in the big city, seeing cute guys on the subway, at the lunch place, Starbucks, sidewalks - and I think how it would be so nice if you could just capture one and start talking, but you can't, because no one does that. And now, for the first time, that actually happened, and I'm totally creeped out.
Maybe this is unique to me, but why do I immediately call psycho for actions I hope will happen all the time? Is it being a tease? wimpy? low self-esteem-y?
I don't know....
First of all - of course I want to know more...
In an attempt to be as sensible as my friend I'll leave the detail of his direct/bold response as: he referenced her having caught his eye, paid her a direct compliment, and left an open-ended sign-off. There was also a concerning amount of ellipsis use...in her opinion. "When a guy uses ellipsis too much I get annoyed," she said. Get that, though not re: ellipses use because I'm kind of an ellipsis whore myself, but when a guy uses exclamation points too much I immediately think he's a tool. (note: both of us are single).
But back to this issue - is this guy a freak or friend? Clever or creepy? Functioning well within the rules of social network engagement or boldly slapping them with the Facebook? (too far Wynne?)
Let's think of it this way. If there wasn't the Facebook how would this guy have contacted my friend?
- Least invasive: waited until he saw her again and approached with a "hey, haven't seen you 'round here before.."
- More invasive: dug around for her name, looked her up in the e-mail directory and sent an internal email with a hey there subject line.
- Most invasive:dug around for her name, looked her up in the phone directory called and said, I like you face...
But, see, there is the Facebook, and people have become very accustomed to using it willy nilly. It's to the point where my Mom now says, "he sounds nice - grab a picture off Facebook and email it to me" - my Mom who five months ago said, "I'm quitting Facebook. I hate it. All I know how to do is the wall!"
Don't get me wrong - even though we've come to use Facebook as we do doesn't mean we should. Is the way this guy decided to get in touch with my friend more or less weird than all the other available on and offline options? Yes, way. Figure he had to dig around the office for a search term he could use (her first name?), scour the network for a picture/profile that seemed to match (note: her name is very common), and then craft a message that said I-saw-you-today-stalked-you-on-Facebook-and-am-now-introducing-myself-and-immediately-requesting-your-e-friendship-twenty-minutes-later without actually saying that...
I call creeper. Not Creepy McCreeperson - the dangerous, douchey, steer-clear variety - just your average, socially awkward, took it a little too far dude.
But to address the in-going question - should my friend be flattered because he noticed her and wanted to say so, yes. Should she feel bad for being all, "I want someone to approach me but not like thaat!" - no. As discussed, beggars can and should be choosers. But does this mean this guy is to be cast aside on account of a stalker-like introduction and improper use of ellipses? In a shocking twist that makes me a hypocrite (again...) I'm going to have to go with no.
Yes it is creepy. Yes there were other ways to get in touch with my friend. But "the rules" when it comes to Facebook and Twitter and all that shit that wasn't invented until - oh - the minute our generation needed to get its dating act together - haven't been written. Maybe this guy just didn't think it was so bad. He's wrong, but maybe we he comes from that's how they do it. So maybe he's just a nice guy who really liked a girl and was eager to tell her so?
- My friend: oh, the benefit of the doubt. Not my strongest point.
- Me: Sames...
- Me: Sorry, sames.