Should I or shouldn't I?
The question of "should you or shouldn't you" when it comes to Google-searching potential online (and offline) dates isn't even a relevant question anymore. Online searching has basically become the only way we search, from Yelping coffee shops, combing Craigslist to find an antique globe, to job hunting.
When Match.com conducted an annual survey of 5000 singles, they revealed that 48 % of women research their dates before they go out with anyone, most often using Facebook or Google to check out their dates in advance. Frankly, we found that number a little low.
So, then.. assuming that you will Google search, Facebook-stalk, Twitter peek , Instagram and Foursquare spy, here are some factors you may wish to focus on.
Top 5 Reasons To Google Your Date
1. Safety and Security: This one is a no-brainer. Don't you want to know if that guy from POF you're meeting for a pre-date coffee has any arrest records for stalking or harassment? As an experiment, we Google-searched a friend's ex, and found a police blotter listing in a local newspaper's online edition. Not good. Imagine if you had set up a date with this new guy without access to this kind of information?
2. Marital status? One of our readers who was already 5 dates in with a guy she thought could be The One, told us she was shocked to find his wedding announcement from a University of Iowa alumni publication. Her date had told her he had never been married. She googled his wife's name, and finding her Facebook account, discovered that the couple were not only still married, they also had a 1 year old. Done and done.
3. Clues about Crazy: Lots of people leave their security settings as "public" on Facebook, or haven't properly updated their privacy choices on photos or prior posts. Checking a potential date's Facebook or Twitter accounts can offer insight on how this person interacts with the world. Plus, you may have Twitter or Facebook friends in common, thus allaying your anxiety about strangers.
Examples: Does he share "World's Best Boob Job" articles? Constantly post comments revealing his right-wing nut-job tendencies? Is he a weirdo obsessed with My Little Pony? Or, perhaps she reveals her lack of boundaries through over-sharing, or annoys the masses with clips of baby kittens all day, or Lets you know about her latest Botox injection? Maybe she can't spell, or announces she only reads romance novels and hasn't cleaned her toilet for 6 months. Consider yourself warned.
One of our close friends, Annie, confessed to us that she had been swept off her feet in 2011 by a charming, poetic male RN from OkCupid who continually came up with reasons why he couldn't meet in person. Nope, he wasn't married, but his RN license been suspended as a result of working with patients while under the influence of alcohol. Although Annie hadn't thought to Google him until after his stories got more and more outrageous, she reverse searched his phone number, and began to discover his web of lies and dysfunctional behavior. The real reason he couldn't get together in person yet? He was on house arrest while awaiting a hearing for repeated drunk driving offenses.
4. Substance Abuser or Player: While these may not seem to be naturally related, someone who is checking into bars or clubs on Foursquare or FB almost every night of the week just may have a wee bit of an alcohol dependency problem. Is this the only environment where they feel comfortable? Do they take pride in posting pics of themselves on Instagram with the chic-of-the-night, or twitter about #my latest conquest? You get the drill.
5. Health Awareness: Does SuziCremCheese from OKCupid post on a Herpes board? Or has MrWonderful left a trail of postings on a mental health support forum? It's not to say that you can't date someone with issues, since we all have 'em but we'd prefer to know about these things prior to getting involved if we had the choice.
Now, dear readers, we don't have to tell you to curb your enthusiasm for snooping before it becomes obnoxious, obsessive, or even dangerous, do we? Good. We didn't think so. Just get the information you need to cover the basics, and get out. Pssst....A little mystery is Vundebar!
Now, check out this hysterical video About Facebook Stalking from JAPProductions: