Last time I dated was more than five years ago and back then there was the internet, sure, which was terrific – but there was no Facebook. Now there’s Facebook, and I think there’s also a need to establish a few more rules when it comes to Facebook and dating, starting with:

Please don’t “friend” me on Facebook if we’ve only gone out a few times and our “relationship” such as it is is necessarily in flux.

I don’t mind virtual strangers friending me; I don’t mind friends of friends of friends friending me, even. I quite like it, in fact – having lots of Facebook “friends” makes me feel popular and there’s no downside to being popular like this since the people I’m amassing in my friend collection don’t much care what my relationship status is and won’t be examining my status updates for hidden messages.

But I do not like being “friended” by people who are the subjects of deeper scrutiny and who are subjecting me to the same.

If you and I are just getting to know one another – still putting on special clothes when we hang out; still making it a point to be cheerful in one another’s company – I don’t want to know what your “friends” write on your “wall” or that you’re “single” and “looking for sex.” And I certainly don’t want you to know how much Scrabulous I play during the day. Not this early – not when chances are I will break up with you or you will break up with me quite soon, and then we will be stuck with each other’s perpetual status updates in Facebook land (or, even more awkwardly, as happened to me recently, one of us will take the harsh step of “defriending” the other – it’s so much meaner than just not returning a call).

One, two, three, even four five six dates in – who knows what we’ll have seen of each other in our private time? It’s all up for grabs in a manner of speaking. What we know for sure, though, is that a month from now we’ll be thinking of each other differently than we do today (or, perhaps, not at all).

Facebook friending, I posit, should be reserved for people whose relationships to one another don’t have to be re-described every few weeks. For people who won’t be shocked when they see that you are using Sparkey to scrutinize your friends’ friends for dating potential, or that I have seventeen games of Scrabulous going at once on a night I say I have too much work to hang out. So let’s wait until we’re sure what we are to each other – until we can comfortably and more or less immutably describe our relationship in the “how do you know each other” line Facebook asks for when we friend one another – before we take that big step, ok?