Online dating has drastically altered the way we approach new relationships. To wit: About one-third of today’s married couples met through the web. And while cyber romance opens up a world of possibilities, it also presents unique challenges. For some modern lovers, it might be uncomfortable to set up dates with people you don’t know.
This type of blind date certainly offers some mystery. However, you might want to verify that your date is legitimate before you show up at the bar or coffee shop. Before you turn to Google to learn more about your date, consider the following tips. By sticking to some guidelines, you can ensure your own comfort without getting too deep into their past.
DO verify their identity
This is the baseline of what you should do when you Google your date. At the very least, you should verify that they are who they say they are. You should be able to do so by glancing at their social media profiles. Check that their location matches up and that their pictures corroborate what you’ve seen. Confirming what they look like and that you are meeting with an actual person can give you an extra sense of security when you arrive at the date.
DON’T go too deep
Once you start searching for someone, it can be a challenge to stop. However, it’s important to have boundaries. While it’s perfectly fine to verify their identity, avoid looking years back at their Instagram photos or reading decade-old tweets. All of these details from the past can skew your first impression of the person you’re meeting, when first dates are meant to be a fresh start. Unless you see their mugshots online or have another reason for suspicion, try to stick with the most recent content.
DON’T research their ex
Sticking with the theme of going too deep into your date’s past and online persona, refrain from stalking their ex online. Once you find their ex-partner on social media, you might be inclined to scroll endlessly through their pictures. This can cause you to compare yourself to them and feel insecure before your date. While it can be tricky to avoid these parts of your date’s past once you discover their online presence, try to exercise some self-control. You will feel much more at ease entering the date. After all, this is a new beginning for both of you.
DO avoid assumptions
The online world and social media are full of information. Photos, captions, bios — all of these features appear to give little glimpses into the person you are meeting. However, everything is not always as it seems. It’s easy to make assumptions based off what you see online, but remember that you are likely not getting the full picture. For example, you might see a photo of your date holding their niece and assume the baby is their child. That assumption could form an image of them in your head before you even arrive on the date, and you might even steer the conversation in that direction. Keeping an open mind allows you to have a casual conversation with your date while you learn about their life. And this blank slate is key to forming an authentic relationship.
While the question of whether you should Google your date is common in today’s culture, the answer is ultimately up to you. It can be beneficial for your own safety to verify your date’s identity, but be sure to set boundaries when doing so. Mindfully limiting your online searching can evoke a sense of both calm and mystery, allowing you to truly get to know your date once you take your conversation offline.
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