Should You Google Your Dates?

August 12, 2015

Yep, this one’s for you 🙂LisaDaily

Should You Google Your Dates?
By Lisa Daily

It’s a truly modern love story:

Boy meets girl online.
Boy ogles girl. Girl Googles boy.
Girl passes visual check, boy passes criminal check.
They meet, they date, they fall madly in love.

Then, after a satisfactory waiting period, his-and-her D&Bs, and an ironclad pre-nup, boy and girl live happily every after.

Ask any online dater if they “Google” their online matches, and the answer is frequently yes. (Or, “Why, what have you heard?”) Thanks to the magic of Google, you can learn that your date-to-be was winner of the National Peanut Brittle Eating Competition, was recently married in lovely ceremony at the Kiwanis Club, or is currently serving 5-10 for impersonating a real estate agent.

John Seely, author of Get Unstuck! The Simple Guide to Restart Your Life, says, “Google your prospective dates. It’s good to know what you can before you even meet them. It may offer some topics of conversation, like “I understand that you have a Pulitzer Prize, or I read that you’ve been in prison.” Either way it will make interesting conversation, and open up some real dialog. It really is important to know who you’re dating, not just for safety’s sake, but for knowing who this potential partner is.”

To some daters, Googling your date feels like a natural extension to online dating. After all, the technology is there, why not use it? To others, Googling seems like an invasion of the privacy of a stranger. It’s like being left alone in a guy’s apartment for the first time: Do you sit on the couch, innocently flipping through the pages of Bon Appétit and awaiting his return? Or do you use the 13.6 minutes he’ll be gone for a pizza run to rummage through the shoebox on the high shelf in his closet, check his nightstand drawers for evidence he’s sleeping around, or hunt for photos of your predecessor?

As one online dater put it, “No!!!! Don’t Google dates! — I was dating a divorced guy I met online and when I Googled him, I found an interview with his ex-wife. I had her pictures staring at me, found out their wedding dates, details of their honeymoon etc. I felt like I had just committed a major invasion of privacy. How was I supposed to react when it got to the point that this man was going to confide in me those details?”

And for that matter, how would you feel if you found out someone you’d only flirted with briefly over text or email spent time online getting to know you without actually getting to know you first?

But other daters feel it’s a matter of safety. One dating single mother of two met a man online who turned out to be a con artist. He forged checks, cleaned out her bank account and eventually forced her home into foreclosure. She warns, “Is it okay to check out dates? I say it is critical!!”

The truth is, there is a lot of information available. And, there’s a fine line between keeping yourself safe (good), satisfying your curiosity (not entirely terrible, within reason) and invading someone’s privacy. (Cue “stalker” soundtrack.)

And, while I’m not in favor of snooping through someone’s underwear drawer while they run down to pick up a bottle of wine, I do think Googling is a pretty good idea. After all, any information you find on Google is probably a matter of public record anyway. It’s not as though you’re breaking into the FBI mainframe to view secret files. Where Googling can help is to bring up any red flags: Maybe your new guy has been blogging a turkey baster manifesto. Maybe that hottie has collection of scary mug shots online. Or a promising woman who says she’s a partner at a big downtown law firm, but her name doesn’t come up on the firm website — Maybe it’s because she’s new, maybe it’s because she works in the mailroom.

Either way, it’s smarter to look for love with your heart and your eyes wide open.

lisasig

(c) Copyright 2001-2015 by Lisa Daily. All Rights Reserved. Plus me on Google, darling, would you please? Thanks!

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