Is it weird to message someone on Facebook without being friends?

Is it weird to message someone on Facebook without being friends?

Chat-happy Facebookers rejoice!

Speaking with random strangers just became a whole lot easier with a new service called “Message Requests.”

No more will your idle Messenger musings be sent to the endless purgatory known as the “Other Inbox” – a place so obscure it didn’t even appear in iOS or Android renditions of the popular social network – when sent to non-friends or non-friends-of-friends.

Instead, says Messenger chief David Marcus, such important missives will now be given the level of prominence they deserve, appearing as a message request along with an appropriate notification.

Taking to his own Facebook account, Marcus wrote “Now, the only thing you need to talk to virtually anyone in the world, is their name,” before defining the one and only rule for the new Message Requests feature:

The rule is pretty simple: If you're friends on Facebook, if you have each other's contact info in your phone and have these synced, or if you have an existing open thread, the new messages from that sender will be routed to your inbox.

Everything else will now be a message request, minus spam attempts that we will continue to ruthlessly combat.

To help combat the threat of having a weirdo hassle you after a drunken chat in the pub, Facebook has designed Message Requests in a way that gives you just enough information to know who has contacted you – you’ll see their name, profile picture, some other publicly available information and a list of any mutual friends – as well as an ability to completely blow them off without them knowing whether you read their message or not.

When you receive such a message you will have the option of responding to it – which will cause the message thread to be transferred to your normal inbox – or completely ignore it, in which case it will be hidden away in the Filtered Requests folder, along with anything Facebook has identified as being spam.

And if you do delete or ignore one of these unsolicited messages, the sender will never be able to contact you again – an improvement of sorts over the current situation which may see you forced to exchange phone numbers or friend requests for what should be a one-off personal or business conversation.

Talking to TechCrunch, Tony Leach, Messenger’s Product Manager, spun the release of Message Requests as an opportunity for Facebook users to connect with long-lost family members and kindly strangers:

We've heard so many stories like estranged parents trying to get back in touch, or you lost your wallet and someone trying to get in touch with you. 

That's why we want to replace that with a system that makes it a lot easier to catch the messages that you want to see. 

A level of openness where you can get in touch with anyone in the world but still have the control yourself of who contacts you and who can't.

Of course Facebook itself will undoubtedly reap the benefits of an enhanced Messenger too – by allowing its users to make contact with any one of the 1.5 billion people already using the social network, uptake of Messenger is only likely to grow from its current base of 700 million active users.

Describing the change to Messenger, which is due to roll out over the next few days, as “small,” Marcus suggested the “foundational development” was just the beginning as the Facebook team continues “to improve ways to find the people you want to communicate with.”

Brits interested in taking advantage of the new feature may have to act quickly though – Facebook Messenger, along with the likes of Snapchat and WhatsApp, could still be under threat from Home Secretary Theresa May and the yet-to-be ratified Investigatory Powers Bill, which seeks to outlaw the use of encryption with some apps, as well as force service providers to hand communications data to authorities when asked for.

Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to physically approach someone you're interested in to ask them out. Now, free dating apps can help you connect with potential mates and chat with them electronically.

But what happens if a girl catches your eye on Facebook? How do you start a conversation with a girl on Facebook and get to know her, without scaring her off?

Let's discuss some important advice about how to approach a girl on Facebook and increase your chances of going on a date.

1. Make Sure Your Facebook Profile Isn't Weird

Years ago, most people were quick to accept any Facebook friend requests that came their way. Now, thanks to regular Facebook scams and spammers, savvy users won't add people they don't know.

So before you even send a girl a friend request or start chatting, take a look at your own Facebook profile. Make sure you're using a clear photo of yourself and not some animated character or random picture of nature. If you have an inside joke as your middle name, change it so it doesn't look strange. Make sure your school and place of work are accurate so she can identify you.

She'll likely give your profile a look before she decides whether to accept your friend request, so make sure it represents you well.

2. Consider Your Approach for the First Message

Once you've cleaned up your profile, your next step is considering what your relationship with this girl is. How to best start a conversation with a girl on Facebook depends on how well you know her.

If she's a new girl you've never met before and have no connections with: Good luck. You might as well send her a friend request and hope for the best. If you send her a message it will likely end up in her filtered inbox, where she'll never see it. You don't have many options aside from sending her a request.

If you're not Facebook friends with her but you have mutual friends: Are there any pictures or something else interesting on Facebook that involve the two of you? Perhaps you both went to a festival with mutual friends and there's a picture that has both of you tagged in it. Commenting something general about the event on that photo will at least let her know you exist. Try doing something like that before you send her a friend request, so she has an idea of who you are.

If you're already Facebook friends with her: You should seriously consider asking her out via another method other than Facebook. If you're too nervous to do this, send her a message letting her know that you're headed to an event happening this weekend and you'd like her to come along. Don't turn it into a "date" and don't put any pressure on the situation. Ideally, you should gather some friends to go, so it's a group of friends hanging out rather than a proper "date."

Nearly every situation will fall into one of these three scenarios. To ask a girl out on Facebook, you must have some kind of friend connection with her so she sees your messages. If you haven't sent her a friend request yet, it all falls on whether she accepts it or not.

3. How to Chat With a Girl on Facebook

Let's suppose that the girl you're crushing on decides to add you as a friend on Facebook. Now you're able to contact her through Messenger. Assuming she doesn't know you very well, your initial message should introduce yourself and assure her that you're not a spammer or a weirdo.

If you have mutual friends, start by mentioning who you both know, like this:

"Hi Molly, I'm Josh! Facebook told me that we both know Sarah Smith, and I remember talking to you once at a Smash Mouth concert. Have you heard their newest album?"

This lets her know who you are because you have a mutual friend and discusses something that you're both interested in right away. It's a simple and effective first message, even for a girl you barely know.

Since you're now friends on Facebook, take a few minutes to review her profile and see what she's interested in. Check the various tabs under About her page to see what she went to school for and what her current job is. Some people add their favorite quotes, media, or random details about themselves in the Details about [Name] section, but this isn't too common.

Take a look at her recent photos to see what she's done lately. Anything you can learn about her that gives you something interesting to talk about is key.

How to Message a Girl on Facebook You Don't Know

If you're attempting to ask a girl out that you don't know, try something like this as your first message:

"Hi Haley! I'm Mike. We haven't met, but your profile came up as a recommended friend in my Facebook feed and you caught my eye. I saw that your profile picture shows you at the Grand Canyon—is that the first time you've been there? I visited it with my family last year and it was one of the coolest places I've ever seen."

There's no guarantee something like this will work, but being honest is as good a strategy as any. If she responds, continue with a natural conversation. Don't be weird: just talk to her like a human being.

4. How to Ask a Girl Out on Facebook (Appropriately)

After you've chatted for a bit on Facebook, you should stop and gauge the interactions so far before proceeding. When you've messaged her, does she respond in a timely manner? Is there back-and-forth conversation, or do you tend to get one-word answers like "Yeah" and "OK"? Has she expressed any interest in you, or does it feel like she's simply putting up with you?

Consider these questions carefully. If you've both had a great time talking and it seems like she'd be receptive to meeting up, give it a try. But if she doesn't seem interested when you're making pleasant conversation, it's likely that she isn't interested in a date.

At this point, if you don't want to ask her on a date just yet, try asking her for her phone number. That way, you can communicate through texting or a messaging app like WhatsApp. Using this, you can try talking more often throughout the day instead of using only Facebook.

Should you sense an interest after a bit of chatting on another platform, you can try asking her out via a phone call instead of Facebook. That should have better results and is more personal.

The Big Moment: Asking Her Out

If you want to forgo all of this and ask a girl out (or perhaps "toast" or "gist" a girl, as some say) on Facebook now, phrase the question tastefully. People know that others on the internet aren't always who they seem, so you don't want to do anything strange.

For instance, you certainly don't want to ask her to go to some remote location with you alone. You can suggest spending time in a group similar to the above, or try something like this pretty safe request:

"Norah, I've really enjoyed chatting with you over these past few weeks and I'd love to take you on a date. What do you think about meeting for coffee at the Starbucks on Oak Avenue this Saturday afternoon?"

Note two important facets of this: meeting in a public place, and giving a specific time for a date. You don't want to ask her to go up to your grandparents' cabin in the woods with you for a weekend, as that's creepy.

It's also important to avoid generalizations when it comes to the details of the date. Don't leave it open to "hang out sometime." Instead, mention a specific date and time frame so she can give you a straight answer. Make it clear that this is a date and you're interested in being more than friends.

Possible Responses After You Ask Her Out

After you ask her out on Facebook, it could play out in a few ways:

  • She deletes you as a friend and/or blocks you. Should your request bother her so much that she decides to remove you as a friend, you need to let it go and move on. Don't complain to your mutual friends about her or try to conjure up some scenario to talk to her again.
  • She doesn't respond. If this is the case, wait a few days; don't obsessively look for a response. After some time, check Messenger to make sure that she saw your message and isn't away on vacation or something. If she's seen it but hasn't responded, you can follow up one time: "Hey Norah, I just wanted to check to make sure you saw my message above!" A lack of response to this means that she's not interested. Do not attempt to contact her again; leave her alone.
  • She says no. Don't argue or ask why. You can say something along the lines of "No problem, just thought I'd see if you were interested!" Then it's up to you whether you continue chatting with her as friends or not. If you try to continue making conversation and she seems distant, it's probably best to move on.
  • She gives you a vague answer or excuse. Sometimes, to "let you down easy," girls won't give you a straight "no" when you ask them out. Instead, they'll provide an excuse, which can leave you wondering if you should pursue the matter further. In this case, you should follow the Brad Pitt Rule:
  • She accepts. If she says she'd be delighted to go, that's great! Confirm the details with her so you're on the same page. You should also ask for her phone number (if you don't have it already) so you can get ahold of her if something happens on the day of the date.

5. How to Talk to Girls on Facebook: A Few No-Nos

We've walked through the steps and potential pitfalls of asking a girl out on Facebook. To finish up, let's discuss some methods you should avoid. Trying to get a girl's attention with these will make you look like an idiot, cause her to feel uncomfortable, and not end well at all:

  • Don't send boring and generic messages. Don't make your first message to the girl you're interested in "Hey." Not only is this boring and tells her nothing about you, but it could also make her think you're an online dating scammer. Be unique—she's worth more than an introduction you came up with in two seconds.
  • DO NOT ask a girl out through public means. Aside from Messenger, almost everything you do on Facebook is visible to others. Never, ever try to flirt with a girl or ask her out via a status update, posting on her timeline, leaving a comment on her photo, etc. It's ridiculously childish, will embarrass her, and people will wonder what the heck you're doing. Asking through Facebook is already easier than in person, so don't be a coward.
  • Don't be creepy. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don't comment on dozens of her photos in a row. Send messages sparingly. Avoid using stupid pick-up lines. And never make any crude or sexual comments. They're not funny and make you look like a teenager.
  • Don't act like your life depends on this. Be casual about the experience. You're just talking to a person, and there will be plenty more opportunities to date people if she's not interested.
  • Under no circumstances should you "poke" her on Facebook. We're not sure why this feature still exists. Don't use it to flirt.

Have You Ever Asked a Girl Out on Facebook?

We've walked through a start-to-finish guide to approaching a girl on Facebook, chatting with her, and asking her out on a date. While it's possible to do, it's not the best method.

We recommend that you use any other available method at your disposal to ask a girl out that you're interested in. If you have her phone number, give her a call. Ask a mutual friend to introduce you in person. Messaging on Facebook is decent for getting to know basic details about someone, but it comes with a lot of drawbacks. Keep that in mind when you decide to message a girl on Facebook.

If Facebook doesn't work out, there are plenty of online dating services where you'll probably have better results.