You just met a potential love interest, what is the first thing you do? Tell your friends? Plan your first date/anniversary/wedding? No. You do what millions of single people are doing on a regular basis… you search the internet for any shred of personal information about your new date! Although this is fun, and can essentially put your mind at ease; is it actually damaging your dating life?
The Thrill of the Chase
Everybody likes the “hunt of dating”–the excitement of getting to know someone new, seeing if you are match or if they need to be tossed back for someone else to nab (better them than you, right?) Before the Internet, men and women had limited resources if they wanted to get info on potential dates. Back in the day, people had to go by word of mouth or see if one of their friends knew someone who knew someone who knew someone! Today, singles Google search and “Facebook stalk” for every possible shred of information they can find about their potential love interest. Sure, “pre-dating” as the professionals call it, is easy; but can it do more harm than good?
Don’t Extinguish the Spark
When you meet someone you are attracted to for the first time, sparks fly, butterflies swirl in your stomach, and a rush of heat takes over your body. In the heat of attraction, you’re more willing to date someone who doesn’t exactly match all your criteria (like a six pack or a hipster beard…). However, in time, they may turn out to be your ideal partner. In-person interactions allow you to take into account your date’s voice, body language, and facial expressions, physical chemistry and attraction. These are things you definitely don’t get to experience while stalking them online.
The technique may vary—LinkedIn; Facebook—whatever the methods, people start early, like as soon as first “winks” are sent. Clicking through someone’s photos and looking at their friend posts gives you a sense of their lifestyle without actually having to put yours on display; it creates a sense of safety and security. Snooping on the Internet lets you skip the basics and go straight to searching to see whether you’re compatible. Gathering intel can help you avoid dates that are destined to go nowhere, but it may also lead you to pass over Mr. Wonderful because you’re so busy trying to figure out: will this person and I be a match? Technology makes it very easy to excess people based on circumstances, when in reality it might end up being a petty, unimportant thing.
The more you learn about someone, the quicker you may be to judge them. Once you discover that one (or more!) fact you don’t like about them, you tend to hold onto it (look at all those drinking pictures?! He parties too hard. She dated him?! I can’t compare to that!). You may uncover things about that person’s past which may have no relevance to their present life. Come on; are their toga party pictures from college relevant to their 35 year old lifestyle? You have the potential to destroy the possibility of love if you think you know person based on your online detective work.
You can certainly prep for the first date with a quick search for basic info, like arrest history or a hidden family. Try not to ruin the potential by digging too deeply; sparks are more likely to fly if you haven’t compiled a binder of their faults and your non-negotiables. Try to aim for mutual self-disclosure; it tends to build strong bonds, leading to trust and intimacy. You don’t want to tarnish your future potential before it even begins!
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