By: Carolyn Kylstra
Several months ago, a male colleague of mine received this Facebook message from a long-ago high school girlfriend: "I know you're happily married, and so am I. But if you're ever in Houston, look me up. We could have some fun . . . no strings attached."
Another guy I know received three sexual propositions on Facebook in a week—two from strangers, and one from a woman he used to work with. The former coworker, who was in a serious relationship at the time, sent my friend this private message: "Is it terrible if I told you that I really want to b_ _ _ you?"
Let's be clear here: Women aren't nearly as forward as men. The unsolicited messages in my own inbox, from strangers and former boyfriends alike, belong in the pages of a bodice-ripping romance novel. Facebook, it seems, has unleashed everyone's inner freak.
And now we have a new survey of almost 3,000 people—1,377 men and 1,540 women—to prove it. Click on to see a rundown of the most surprising stats.
Percentage of people who don't list their true relationship status . . . so they can keep their "options" open or continue flirting with others.
Are you committing a lie of omission?
27% of Facebookers don't list their relationship status at all; only half of these people are single
Percentage of people who say they've used Facebook to flirt.
Is Facebook your dirty little secret?
24% of Facebook-flirters use the social network to flirt with someone other than their current partner.
Percentage of people who say they've become jealous over their partner's interactions with someone else on Facebook.
Is Facebook turning you into a psycho?
New research from Amy Muise, a Ph.D. candidate in applied social psychology at the University of Guelph, indicates that Facebook actually contributes to jealousy, even in people who aren't naturally predisposed to jealousy to begin with.
Percentage of people who say that a wall post or Facebook photo has gotten them in trouble with their significant other.
Does your partner have something to hide?
Turns out, 42% say their partner's beef was justified. And 11% of those surveyed have put a significant other on limited profile so that he or she couldn't see everything they did on Facebook (wall posts, comments, photos).
Percentage of people who have sent a friend request to someone they were attracted to, but only knew peripherally (a friend of a friend, or an acquaintance).
Is a "friend request" the new pickup line?
23% of people have sent a friend request to an attractive stranger.
Percentage of people who have looked up an ex on Facebook.
Is Facebook feeding an obsession?
17% of these users check their ex's Facebook page at least once a week.
Percentage of people who have "stalked" an ex or current partner's Facebook profile, looking for clues about their relationships with other people.
Are you a Facebook stalker?
Research into Facebook stalking from Ilana Gershon, Ph.D., a professor of communication and culture at Indiana University, reveals that it's rarely "satisfying"—it causes enormous anxiety, but doesn't actually answer any real questions. Because, in the end, it's all out of context. A picture of a man with his arm around a woman can mean any number of things—some nefarious, others entirely innocent.
Percentage of women who have tried to reconnect with an ex on Facebook; 16% of these women were in a relationship with someone else at the time.
What about men?
36% of men have tried to reconnect with an ex on Facebook; 1 out of 5 of these men were in a relationship.
Whatever happened to the "It's-not-you-it's-me" routine?
3% of respondents have broken up with someone by canceling their relationship status on Facebook.
Percentage of people who have hacked into their significant other's Facebook account to snoop.
Have you changed your password recently?
18% of respondents know their partner's
passwords. And while 85% were told the
password, 16% simply guessed what it was.
9% of respondents have hacked into an ex's Facebook account
Percentage of respondents who admit that they've cheated on their significant other in a way that involved Facebook.
How do you cheat on Facebook?
We asked our respondents how Facebook led to—or helped facilitate—cheating on their partner. Here's a sample of the feedback we received. And no, we didn't make any of these up. (We didn't have to.)
"I was in a boring relationship and some Facebook flirting ended up with me cheating."
"I have met, and slept with, two men I have met on Facebook."
"Yes, I cheated on my significant other with someone I met via Facebook (the person I cheated with was mutual friends with another one of my close friends)."
"Made plans to meet through Facebook messages."
"There's this guy I've been involved with for years. Although I've dated others during that time as did he, we've been in contact most of the time through Facebook—arranging meetings, expressing feelings for each other, etc."
"Had a hook-up once out of town and stayed in contact via Facebook for a few weeks, and then, eventually, I cut-off all contact."
"I used personal messages to meet up with an ex."