Facebook users in a nightclub

Illustration by Bruno Moraes

It's not just for catfishing.

From the beginning of time, people have at some point viewed every piece of technology we’ve invented through a certain lens: How can this get me laid? 

The internet, and Facebook in particular, is no different. Facebook flirting allows socially awkward millennials to connect to one another and provides a platform for instant creeping. If either of those situations appeals to you, here are some tips to seal the deal through your timeline without running into catfish-esque scenarios or inadvertently harassing someone.

1) Have an active and interesting profile

How you present yourself on Facebook in 2016 is, quite literally, your online face. Try to make your profile active and dynamic. One of the pros of Facebook flirting is that it allows people to get a glimpse of your life, so put your best foot forward. Post about yourself doing a variety of activities, but don’t try too hard. The paradox: If you’re spending all your time trying to figure out how to present yourself on Facebook, you’re probably not all that interesting anyway.

“The best way is to not actively do it at all,” says comedian and writer Lane Moore, who was the former Sex and Relationships editor for Cosmopolitan, and now hosts the comedy show Tinder Live. 

2) Let the conversation flow

If you’re reaching out to somebody on Facebook, you can throw the “two day” rule out the window. In general, waiting a specific amount of time to text somebody is already archaic. If you feel like texting somebody after two days or after two hours, as long as your conversation is casual and genuine, it shouldn’t be a problem. Sending pickup lines can be cheesy, so make sure to just be yourself.

“Just keep making jokes until they ask if you're single. That's truly all I do. And be genuinely interested in their shit and what they do,” Moore says.

3) Be yourself

Be confident, not creepy. While it is advisable to avoid cold messaging, if you must do it, Moore recommends you use your ordinary personality.

“Be a genuine person or acknowledge that it might sound weird,” Moore says. “The best way to not be creepy is to just be as earnest as possible. I have random people message me all the time, and it comes off as not creepy like 99.9 percent of the time because they’re just being themselves.”

4) Move the conversation off Facebook

Now that you’ve established contact, how soon should you take it to another medium? Do it right away.

“As soon as there's a palpable connection and you know you're both single, why not? I've had Twitter friends who, after like 5 DMs, we started talking on the phone and talked for hours,” Moore says.

It’s fine to flirt on Facebook occasionally, but messages clogging up your app gets old real quick. Plus, there’s a lack of formality in Facebook messaging versus texting or calling.

5) Don't get catfished

Most people who use Facebook to flirt are probably familiar with the term “catfishing,” an online dating phenomenon popularized by its namesake movie and TV show, Catfish. Catfishing is, as defined by Google Dictionary (yes, it’s a real word now): "to lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona." 

Fake Facebook profiles are abound, so watch out. Try to have at least one mutual friend or immediately establish a face-to-face connection via Skype.

“I only really communicate with Google-able people or people I have mutual friends with,” says Moore.

Above all, don’t make online flirting a crutch. For the socially awkward, typing can be easier than directly speaking to somebody. Remember that while social media is a useful tool for connecting people, at the end of the day, the goal is to establish a real human connection.

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