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Too shy to make first move? Try social media

MANILA, Philippines—Longing to tell her or him, but too shy to make the first move? Try the social networking sites.

For law student Adele, the answer came via OkCupid.

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“I didn’t know it was a dating site. I took a quiz called ‘How gay are you?’ and I had to make an account to see the result,” said Adele (not her real name).

Having come from a disastrous relationship, Adele turned to OkCupid to find “kindred spirits” to talk with. One of these kindred spirits was Emma, a Quezon City-based entrepreneur.

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“I don’t have a lot of gay friends,” she said. “I don’t really initiate a conversation, but with her it’s different. I saw her on my feed when she updated her profile picture showing her with puppies.

“I have a soft spot for animal lovers, so I checked her profile and found out that she likes Syzmborska, Rilke, Up Dharma Down and Sigur Rós. I got hooked,” Adele said.

“We exchanged messages on the site for a week, after which I gave her my number because it’s inconvenient to go online all the time. After four days of texting, we agreed to meet. At that time, it felt like we’ve known each other for weeks.”

The two dated for seven more months before becoming a couple.

Awkward

Emma described their first face-to-face meeting as awkward.

“[I was] nervous,” she said. “After an awkward exchange of introductions, my jitters disappeared when we sat down. There were awkward silent moments, but that’s part of every conversation. I kept asking questions and tried to get to know the girl sitting across from me.”

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Microblogging

The microblogging site Tumblr was the choice of Michelle, a 25-year-old advertising executive. She met her girlfriend on Tumblr where they were “obsessing over the same show.”

“She commented on one of my entries, and that was how it started,” Michelle said.

“From there, we started talking on other platforms, like Yahoo! Messenger and Gmail.”

It took two months for her to gather the courage to meet in person. “I was very shy,” Michelle said. “It was easier to be confident when you’re behind a computer screen. You can plan and edit everything you say.”

Flirting online

“Frankly, it is so easy to flirt online—the hard part is finding someone to flirt with on the same continent,” she said, referring to Tumblr’s 170 million blogs run by users from all over the world. Founded in 2007, the site now has some 75 billion posts.

“Tumblr is an easy way to share your interests and get to know people with the same interests,” Michelle said.

She said making the first move to message people on Tumblr was not as creepy as messaging someone you barely know on Twitter and Facebook. “On those two platforms I use my real identity, and most people I know do the same. With Tumblr there’s a certain level of anonymity.”

The couple marked their second anniversary last December.

Internet relay chat

Shirley and Julie (not their real names) crossed paths at a local Internet Relay Chat channel. That was in 2004.

Shirley, 31, a human resources staff at a business process outsourcing company, said it was Julie who initiated the chat.

From there, Shirley said she and Julie migrated to instant messaging service, Yahoo! Messenger. That’s how they knew they were both huge fans of original Pinoy music (OPM).

“I instantly became a fan of Julie’s blog about Pinoy rock and OPM,” Shirley said.

They also “saw” each other through their pictures on Friendster and MySpace, two of the most popular social networking sites then. They finally met in person after a year of online chatting.

Official couple

After a month of dating, Shirley and Julie became an official couple in November 2007. The time they spent chatting as friends helped them strengthen their relationship, Shirley said.

“Even now, we are still surprised to learn that we have common friends from each other’s social circles,” she said.

TOPICS: love and relationships, okCupid, Social Media
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