Internet dating has its challenges, but social networking sites present opportunities for those interested in meeting people to establish a relationship that moves beyond general friendship. Facebook users are exposed to countless mutual friends, strangers and acquaintances every day and each individual's home page generally includes specific information about their lives. Those interested in finding out if a person is single, for instance, may be able to find out just that as well as hobbies, lifestyle, likes, dislikes and more simply by reviewing their Facebook page. Discovering that information, however, doesn't mean you should make a move. While some websites are quite casual, with strangers contacting each other routinely, Facebook users often establish an exclusive list of friends and then have their profiles set to private. Meeting someone you've spotted on Facebook requires a bit of skill, a little restraint and some patience.
See if you have any mutual friends with the person you're interested in. A virtual set up via a good friend is an excellent way to get an introduction. When you see someone you're interested in getting to know better, simply look through the list of her friends and see if you notice anyone familiar. Then contact the mutual friend and ask for an introduction, even if it's an old high school chum you hardly know.
Look at your crush's profile page to see where she went to school, or where she works. Some Facebook users with private profiles still share some information publicly. Call or -- in a pinch -- write to contacts that went to the same school or work at the same company and ask if they know your potential love interest. Again, discretion is the key. The last thing you want this unknown individual to think is that you're stalking her. If you send an email, choose your words carefully. Letters are not recommended.
Introduce yourself to someone via a Facebook group page. If the person you like is interested in politics, social issues or even Facebook games, she may have this information on her public page. Join the group or “like” the page, then post a good-spirited public comment on the page wall. You could even send her a message to ask a specific question about the game she likes in the interest of getting involved with the game yourself. It's a long shot, but she might offer a comment.
Send a blind friend request. Take a gamble and send the request with a polite hello. There is no rule stating you can't friend someone you don't know, and the only negative is that she may ignore you. Start a polite but respectful conversation via private message if the request is approved. Don't come on too strong and risk scaring her away.
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Matt Rauscher has been writing professionally since 1996, recently serving as a contributing writer/film critic for "Instinct Magazine." He is also a novelist and co-author of a Chicago city guidebook. In 1997, Rauscher graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. in rhetoric.