When meeting someone new, should you exchange IG handles or phone numbers?
"Well, it was really good talking to you."
"Yeah, you too!"
"We should definitely get together some time. What's your phone number?"
"Girl it's 2020. No one's exchanging phone numbers. Just gimme your IG name."
This conversation took place in a bathroom around 10PM during the night of a bustling fashion show. The two ladies had just met, decided they liked each other, and shared a desire to hang out again. But while one was looking for a telephone number, the other wanted to be social media friends.
When meeting a potential new friend, what's the norm: exchanging IG handles or phone numbers?
We've outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each approach so you can decide for yourself. But before we share, take a look at what a few of our readers had to say:
"I exchange phone numbers. It's just more personal than IG."
"Phone numbers because I want to text and actually make plans to hang out."
"Phone numbers. Social media can be very impersonal. Relationships are more than talking to a screen."- @rhymesandprose
"I don't get push notifications, so depending on how we connect... I'll determine whether to give phone access (generally used for connection with people I'm in real community with)... It's a boundary thing for a recovering people-pleaser to let go of instant accessibility."
"Phone number if I actually want to meet in person. IG handle if I like her but probably won't hang." -@mindfullifts
"Definitely phone numbers because they're far more concrete than an ever-changing IG handle." - @iam_courtneyk
"IG for business networking and phone numbers for personal connections. I'm stricter with my phone number and first time meeting people unless my gut says otherwise." -Jess from @adelieskin
"I like phone numbers at first but more and more I'm finding myself getting 'What's your IG/ Snapchat? question. But I feel like a phone number is a lot more direct and resourceful instead!" - @socialitesteph
"I've learned to set healthier boundaries early on this one. Social media gives people access to your family, friends, and places you frequent." - _monetchristian
"Phone numbers, so I can get to know her better because I hate texting." - @cassie_brooks_
Our followers were pretty split, so read about the pros and cons of each side, and determine which choice is best for you:
EXCHANGING IG HANDLES
This can give you time to learn more about someone before you decide to pursue a friendship. By reviewing their pictures, interests, style, and posts, you can get a feel for whether or not you'd be compatible.
Sharing social media usernames before phone numbers can provide a paradoxical sense of safety. With a large percentage of young social media users saying that their online networks are groups in which they feel safe and understood, it's no surprise people are more inclined to share their social media handles before phone numbers. Sharing a phone number can give a sense of sharing personal information, while social media can be a safe, arms' length partition.
Since usernames are commonly shared without a second thought, exchanging IG handles can be perceived as impersonal, as the other person feels reduced to "just a follower". If you're trying to make friends, being given a username can make someone feel like one of many.
Spending time reviewing someone's IG can give you a sense that you know them but never actually result in true intimacy. It can be a false sense of closeness, while in reality erecting a barrier to truly experiencing the person real person firsthand.
EXCHANGING PHONE NUMBERS
This approach can be a more direct line to getting to know someone. Instead of scrolling their feed for a sense of who they are, you can send a text and immediately jump straight to setting up a coffee date.
This can make a new friend feel that you want a real friendship you'll actually pursue. Trading phone numbers can feel personal, but in a way that doesn't feel intrusive.
Sharing a phone number with someone you just can be misinterpreted as forcing the friendship, or moving things too quickly, which could actually push them away. This would have to be a mutually agreed upon approach to be received well.
If you exchange numbers with everyone you meet, it could be hard to differentiate between people you're close to and new acquaintances in your phone log, grouping them all together. Some women prefer to have a tiered system, giving social media handles to people they've just met and then gradually working them into phone number territory.
Regardless of which approach you choose to take, make sure you feel comfortable. If a new friend is pushing you into sharing phone numbers before you're ready, it's okay to counter by suggesting you be IG friends first. Alternately, if you want to keep your social media profiles private and be more cautious with who you "friend" and "follow", that's fine too.
The important thing to remember is everyone has different boundaries (and we literally wrote the book on boundaries in friendships), and the most critical thing is to respect them while getting to know the person better.