Original article published on 2017-08-07 20:02:15 written by Elizabeth Best
We need to bring back the mystery.
Technology is grand isn’t it? No need to wonder if your latest Tinder match is going to be a creeper because you can get online and stalk away. Ironic, hey? Except that I don’t Google my first dates. I point blank refuse to.
When it comes to dating, I’ve always thought of myself as a girl out of time. I need me some proper courting, romance and getting-to-know you dates. I want milkshakes at a diner, not awkward drinks at a too-noisy bar.
I want to meet someone by chance at a coffee shop, not put my romantic resume up on a website for strangers to judge. I want cute love letters, not unsolicited dick pics. In a world where all my friends are clamoring to find out everything they can about their potential new mates, I’m sticking my fingers in my ears shouting “la, la, la, la!”
It wasn’t always this way. When I first got back into the dating pool I was all for the good old-fashioned stalk. But, spoiler alert, it all ended pretty badly.
Here are five reasons you should never Google dates…
1. You get judgmental
Every time I’ve looked a potential partner up on the internet I’ve become Judgey Judgerson, even when I don’t realise it. Entrepreneur? That’s code for “I have no job right now.” “I like the gym” scares me because I DO NOT like the gym and clearly this means we are doomed. Lots of photos with his buddies drinking? Clearly he is a high-functioning alcoholic.
In all possibility, all these assumptions are totally, utterly wrong. But it’s too late, my mind already went there. And psychologically speaking, once you find out something bad about someone, you tend to focus on it and look for signs that align with your bad opinion; it’s called a negative confirmation bias. Skip the stalk, go in with a clean slate, not looking for reasons to NOT date someone.
2. You get bogged down ticking boxes
Internet dating can sometimes feel a little like online shopping. You feel like you have to do your research, get the best deal, find a product that meets all your needs. Does he have a good job? Does he like his family? Can he cook? Is he the right height? All the information you have access to online makes it VERY easy to count someone out because he doesn’t quite fit what you’re looking for on paper. And let me tell you, I’ve met Mr Perfect For Me On Paper and he was BORING. The truth is, sometimes you don’t know what you want until it’s sitting right in front of you, asking if you want another sauvignon blanc.
3. You might accidentally reveal your stalker status
The last time I ever Google-stalked my date was a night that will go down as one of the most awkward moments of my life. We’d been set up by mutual friends and I wanted to know a bit more about him. So I searched. And searched. And searched. And damn it all if I didn’t go into the date feeling more confident than I ever have.
I casually dropped things into the conversation I knew we had in common left right and center. Everything was running like a Hollywood rom-com first date dream… until the moment I mentioned his recent trip to Europe. The trip he hadn’t yet told me about. I tried to play it off like he told me in passing and must have forgotten, like all those idiots in movies do, and it worked just about as well. Which is to say not at all. We did not go on a second date.
4. You could fall for a person who doesn’t exist
After a few drinks one weekend my friend, let’s call her Marcie, suggested we cyber stalk a guy she’d been messaging. For the next hour, we oohed, ahhed, and giggled as we found out he’d done charity work, looked amazing with his shirt off, and started his own business at just 27. She left my place already planning their lives together.
When she finally met him, it turned out he’d put on a few kilos, his business had gone bust and the charity work was part of a community service order. She’d been kittenfished by her own excessive Googling and had fallen for an idea of a person.
5. You’re counting out the chemistry
Let’s say not having a degree is a dealbreaker for you. You stalk a bit, and find out your potential mate dropped out of uni. Instantly you feel awkward about your impending date. But while reading this, you can’t read his body language, listen to his tone of voice or interpret his facial expression.
The way a person acts when speaking about things might completely flip your opinion on something you might have discounted had you read it online. Maybe someone in his family got sick and he deferred to care for them. Or he took a gap year to travel the world. Or has started a successful business you don’t know about. Googling your dates makes it really easy to take stuff out of context.
Not to mention the fact that being in someone’s presence can trigger the release of chemicals such as oxytocin that lower anxiety and make you feel close to someone. You know how many hormones get released when you Google dates? Zero. Zilch. Nada. But when you meet someone and you feel that zing, all the niggly crap you might have written off can fade into the background. You might actually find that although the person might not tick all your boxes, they are actually an ideal long-term partner. Thanks chemicals!
Images via tumblr.com and giphy.com.
Comment: Are you a stalker or a “just let it happen” kind of dater? Why?
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