When you’re crushing hard on that cutie you met at a party last week, no one can blame you for doing a little bit of Facebook-stalking. Maybe you just want to get another glimpse of his face or giggle at those awkward pics she took in middle school. Or maybe, like a lot of us, you’d like to know what kind of person your crush is before you get in too deep.
Your crush’s Facebook profile can tell you a lot more than whether or not he or she ever had braces. Social media identities aren’t always what they seem: There are all kinds of red flags that can pop up on Facebook, from your crush’s choice in profile pic to his or her “About” section. We’ve gathered some warning signs to look out for on Facebook so that you can tell right away whether or not your crush is even worth crushing on to begin with.
1. The questionable profile pic trend
Sure, you shouldn’t judge a book solely by its cover, but your crush’s profile pic is the image he or she is putting out for the world to see, so it does mean something.
When you’re checking out your crush’s past profile pics, look for trends. One selfie might let you know that your crush happened to look great in a selfie one day. But five selfies in a row? And what about that guy who’s always posing with different women?
Jasbina Ahluwalia, dating coach and founder of Intersections Match by Jasbina, says that certain profile pic trends can let you know if you and your crush are compatible.
“Too many selfies can indicate self-absorption,” Ahluwalia says, “and lots of different women could indicate he's a serial monogamist to the extreme (or player with a ‘flavor of the month’ attitude towards relationships).”
On the other hand, if your crush’s profile pics are all of, say, cars, you need to be ready to talk about hot rides without getting bored. If that’s not your thing, it’s probably best to look for romance somewhere else.
2. Tons of party pics
These are the photos that make you cringe. Sure, most of us have had some crazy nights, but if the only photos your crush is tagged in are ones that would make your mother think twice about inviting him or her to dinner, this could be a major red flag.
These pictures can indicate that his or her lifestyle is “not consistent with a serious long-term relationship and/or a lack of discretion or self-awareness,” Ahluwalia says.
Of course, pursuing this crush comes down to figuring out how much you’d like to party in your relationship. Joe Tracy, publisher of Online Dating Magazine, says that one picture can send multiple messages. According to Tracy, reading the captions and comments on these photos can help you sort the fun guys from the duds.
“Comments like, ‘You were a lot of fun as usual’ could indicate the person has a fun/social personality,” Tracy says. “But comments like, ‘Looks like that beer got the best of you again’ or, ‘You got wasted last night’ could indicate that the person feels they have to drink to loosen up all the time, which could be a red flag.”
But even if you’re interested in getting with a wild partier and having some crazy weekends, you should still be wary of anyone whose profile is littered with these kinds of photos. Party pics show a disregard for a put-together professional and personal image.
(If you think this red flag sounds like your own profile, you should probably figure out if your Facebook page is hurting your chances with your crush!)
3. Obnoxious status updates (and plenty of them!)
If your crush is the kind of person you would have unfriended if he or she didn’t have a gorgeous face, that’s a red flag. You know that Facebook friend we’re talking about: the one who posts several status updates a day about unimportant things, or the one who’s just out to get attention. These might be vague posts attacking other people (“Some people just need to get over themselves”), boasts about his or her achievements or simply countless mundane opinions about anything and everything under the sun.
Other than simply being annoying and the worst, these serial status updates can clue you in to what’s going on behind the scenes. Ahluwalia says that you should watch out for your crush’s volume and frequency of updates. “If he's constantly giving status updates, [that] may indicate self-absorption or just way too much time on his hands,” Ahluwalia says.
Tracy says that the content of these updates can be another red flag.
“One thing to look out for is how ‘personal’ the posts are on the person’s timeline,” Tracy says. “A person always talking about others is an indication that your time with that person may be ‘digitally documented’ should you ever get together. Even more important is to see what they say about past friends/lovers, because you could end up being one.”
4. Endless Facebook game updates
Speaking of annoying updates, watch out if most of your crush’s notifications involve Facebook games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
“If a vast majority of his updates involve virtual games, it is possible his social skills in the real world may be less developed,” Ahluwalia says.
Other than likely sending his or her friends way too many invitations to play, a crush who plays a lot of these games might also turn out to be a procrastinator or someone who just doesn’t have much going on.
“When a person’s timeline is full of nothing but game updates, that could be a sign that the person is using games to escape the reality of life or has an issue with game addiction,” Tracy says.
But, hey, it’s possible that one girl’s “game addiction” is another girl’s idea of a good time. If this red flag doesn’t seem like a total deal-breaker to you, you can use these game updates to learn even more about your crush.
“If you want to get to know them better, then signing up for the same games they post updates on can be a clever move,” Tracy says.
5. TMI in the “About” section
Facebook has made it easier than ever to tell people about yourself. Where you live, where you work, your religion, your sexual orientation — it’s all there. But that doesn’t mean that you have to (or should) fill out every single bit of information about yourself.
According to Ahluwalia, if your crush’s “About” section is “extra-long and filled to the brim with personal details, [then] that may indicate that he has limited sense of discretion or privacy.” This kind of crush could be more likely to kiss and tell or reveal more about your relationship (if you ever get that far).
According to Tracy, it’s also important to look at the types of details your crush includes in his or her description. “A long, personal description of self-achievements could be an indication that they are self-absorbed,” Tracy says. “A positive and humble description could be an indication that they value life and others.”
On the other hand, it’s always possible your crush hasn’t remembered to update his or her “About” section since high school. Still, these personal details express how your crush portrays him or herself, so it’s good to keep them in mind.
We all know how tempting it is to Facebook-stalk your crush. And if you’re going to do it, you might as well put that stalking to good use. You can get some clues now to help you figure out whether or not you and your crush will be a good match (or if your crush is actually a complete jerk!).
Be on the lookout for extremes, but don’t judge too harshly from one or two Facebook faux pas—you could end up overthinking things and ruining your chances with your crush. Also, even if you can’t find any of these red flags just from a Facebook profile, Her Campus has plenty of tips for how to spot the jerks later in the game!