Mankind has no precedent for the digital era, meaning that each new innovation and method of communication requires that we find out, for the first time, how to navigate it in healthy ways. Courtship, romance, and everything else has been part of humanity’s quota for as long as we’ve existed, but how is that ever going to inform you on how to talk to a girl that you don’t know–but have come to like–on digital mediums such as Snapchat?
We’ve almost reached the point where online dating is an accepted, societal norm, and considering how many people I know and know of who’ve met their significant other through online means, we can’t reach that point soon enough. The ways that social media, apps, and dating services bridge people who might not otherwise have had a chance to meet is extraordinary, and has been one huge benefit to the human condition since we developed the tech that allows us to do it.
It has not, however, made dating easier across the board. No matter what you’re looking for in a romantic partner, dating is dating. If you don’t have that innate courage that lets you approach a stranger and speak honestly, openly, and directly, the internet isn’t going to magically bestow it upon you.
You have to work for it, and work up to it.
That fact doesn’t change whether you’re talking in-person or online, but it can appear to have changed when you’re interacting online. However, if you truly believe that it has, then you’re fooling yourself. Online communication has the tendency to apply a veil of anonymity over users, which some tend to embrace as some form of reassuring security blanket, allowing them to act outside of their normal behavior.
The only problem with this is the fact that, if you are genuinely interested in someone, they’ll be mightily disappointed when they find out how different the real you is from the “internet you.” In this way, online interaction–including interaction on Snapchat–can be awfully misleading, if not outright deceitful.
These are dangerous waters, and you have to be careful!
That said, you certainly shouldn’t be discouraged from chatting someone up if you’re interested in them. The game of romance carries its own code and lingo, and while it may seem like it’s harder to decipher when you’re Snapchatting someone as opposed to speaking face-to-face, the fact of the matter is that it’s not more difficult; it’s only different.
Is it All Right to Snapchat a Stranger that I Like?
Put simply: yeah, it is! Millions of people find romance, courtship, or hookups–depending on what you’re looking for–all of the time! Nobody that has their mind in the present day is still shaming online dating, no matter where it occurs.
It’s the norm, now. It’s how people do things, and it’s working.
However, just because it’s “all right” to Snapchat someone that you’re interested in doesn’t mean there aren’t some basic principles to follow if you want to do it successfully. Keep in mind what was said above–don’t let yourself use that veil of anonymity offered by online apps to behave like someone that you’re not.
Be honest. Be forthcoming. Don’t be a jerk. Let’s talk shop.
Don’t Push for Unwanted Advances
While it’s all right to Snapchat someone that you don’t know, you also need to be receptive to whatever they say–or don’t say! It doesn’t matter how highly you think of yourself; if your Snaps aren’t earning you the response you want, and your advances aren’t being reciprocated, it’s time for either a drastic change in strategy or time to back off, immediately.
We’re continuing this discussion under the idea that you’re not Snapping a good friend. Instead, you’re Snapchatting someone who you aren’t familiar with, whose likes and dislikes are foreign to you; someone who you cannot predict, and therefore shouldn’t make any expectations about.
Oftentimes, men and women get caught up in the assumption that the objects of their online affection are “speaking in code,” which we’re therefore obligated to translate. Many times, this is the case; we use short-form to describe our emotions and we punctuate our sentences with “lol,” even when nothing that’s been said is the least bit laugh-worthy. However, two reliable constants are the words, “Yes,” and “No.” Their meanings are never exchanged (no matter what you’d like to assume), and they’re the absolute clearest way to get an idea of how someone is responding to your advances.
If someone says, “No,” it doesn’t mean, “try harder.” If someone says, “Yes,” then its meaning is twofold: “Well done,” and “Try harder, because you’re doing all right so far.”
Most important, though, is to remember that you’re only going to make a nuisance out of yourself if you try to push against that wall of rejection. If this person tells you that they’re just not interested–no matter how that message takes shape–it’s important for you to not take it personally. Don’t tear yourself down and don’t beat yourself up. “There are other fish in the sea,” as the old adage says, and it’s time to move on.
Here’s the biggest stickler for me, and it’s one of the most quickly violated tenants of online communication that I see. I wrote above about the “veil of anonymity.” It’s easy to scoff at it, but far too many people take advantage of the fact that open, honest communication takes more effort to achieve online.
It’s quite easy to put on a tone of voice that isn’t your own; to make claims that aren’t true; to offer flimsy promises; to act on advances that you don’t intend to follow through with. All of these things are tempting in the immediate sense because apps like Snapchat might allow you to get away from them. However, it’s only going to happen in the immediate sense.
When you use that veil of anonymity to falsely portray yourself–no matter how significant the claim–you’re being dishonest, and you’re setting yourself up for bad feelings further down the road. Not only that, you’re also setting up the person that you’re Snapchatting with a caricature of yourself that won’t be able to follow through once you’re face-to-face.
Gender doesn’t matter and age doesn’t matter. Be safe and constantly look out for your own safety.
When most offer this advice, they mean it only in the sense of your physical safety. However, as is the case with the majority of online interaction, your mental and emotional safety are far more frequently at stake. Here are some broad-reaching tips that will help to keep you safe while you’re Snapchatting away your romantic feelings:
- Don’t take everything personally. Everyone claims to have a thicker skin than they actually do. It’s popular to claim that you can take a certain amount of physical, emotional, or mental punishment and not be phased by it, but the truth is that this is rarely the case. Rejection carries an emotional toll in the same way that acceptance is an emotional boon. If you’re Snapchatting someone that you like, but don’t know, remind yourself of the fact that you do not know them. You should never place a huge amount of emotional investment in another person that you don’t yet know. It’s unhealthy!
- Follow the “quid pro quo” rule. The phrase made popular by Hannibal Lector during his delightful conversations with Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. However, the basis for it is a good rule to follow for all communication, especially that you’re just starting out. It most closely translates to “something for something,” and by that, I mean that you shouldn’t throw an avalanche of personality towards a person before receiving something in turn. Like all good romance, it needs to be a back-and-forth exchange or you’re going to exhaust yourself before you know it.
- Start simple. It’s probably a safe bet that the recipient of your Snapchatting doesn’t want to hear about the interior detailing of your BMW. They also don’t want to hear how you got your scar, the story behind your tattoo, or how extensive your manga collection is. For now. Keep those details to yourself and follow the KISS rule (“Keep it Simple, Stupid”). Don’t start with life stories; start with interests. Don’t start with invasive claims and outbursts veiled as “compliments;” instead, be personable and simple. “Nice eyes.” “I like your smile!” “You look so happy in that snap!”
Here’s another big one that can cover a wide range of ideas, but is pretty much always applicable. It’s very easy to jump to conclusions, and it’s also very easy to make assumptions about what’s going on in another person’s head.
When you can’t actively see their body language and facial features, this only becomes more tempting to do, often to the point that we do it automatically, without even realizing it. Here’s the secret to overcoming this potentially disastrous habit:
Remind yourself that the only thoughts and feelings that you’re able to control are your own. Ever. No matter what.
This ties in pretty intimately with my above recommendation of not taking things personally, but it’s useful to remind yourself of the fact when you’re Snapchatting someone with romance or hookups in mind. The very best thing that you’re capable of doing is being honest and direct; apart from that, another person’s reaction is out of your control.
Perhaps just as much as I’d recommend following the above, I’ll also say have fun! Snapchat was created with fun and expressiveness in mind, and so you should definitely embrace it when you’re talking to someone new. Get creative with filters, use stickers and lenses to spruce up your message and make your intentions clear. If you’re going to use Snapchat as your social media platform for pursuing someone, then take advantage of all it has to offer!
Whether you’re Snapchatting a girl or a guy, don’t hesitate too much simply because you don’t know them. If you like them, then that’s all the permission that you need to Snapchat them!