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With all of the tools available at our digital fingertips, it’s no wonder your dates are acting like cyber snoops before and after they meet you.
Where do you draw the line between online research and online stalkikng?
An eharmony survey showed half of single daters check out or stalk their potential dates on Facebook or Google before meeting them.
So should you sneak a peek, and how do you do so without coming off like an obsessed maniac?
If you must obsess about your date’s login behavior or where he or she is hanging out when they’re not in your arms, here are a few tips to do so.
Warning: Do so at your own risk. If it backfires, you just might end up flying solo.
Gone are the days when a Google search isn’t part of the digital dating process.
Not only can you search for someone’s name, but you also can search for their photos to see who they’re hanging out with and where they’d like to go.
If you aren’t sure of their name, you can simply take their dating photo and do a reverse image search in Google.com/images. Click on the camera in the search bar and then click on Upload Image.
You’ll be surprised how many people use the same photos on their profiles as on their business pages.
Still there’s a balance between being curious and digging 14 pages deep. If you do a Google search, don’t let your date know.
I also recommend clearing your cache, and for goodness sake, don’t bookmark his or her name on your web browser if he or she is anywhere near your computer.
Knowing you and your potential date have friends in common on social media sites gives you the opportunity to ask your friends about the person you might be meeting if their friends settings is set to Public or Friends of Friends.
You also can anonymously browse through their photos and timelines to see when they’ve changed their relationship status or to see some of their favorite dining spots they’ve checked in at.
The problem is when you start digging a few years back and then start asking your date who the cute brunette with the pink dress was in 2012, you’ll feed into his fear that you just might be a crazy chick after all.
And please don’t request to be your date’s friend before a date or even after you first start dating. If you’re not exclusive, the digital jealousy alarm will set of and send him or her running.
Since Twitter is public, if your date loves to tweet, you can get a sense of what his or her life and passions are about.
But should you start following him or her right away? Absolutely not.
Some sites such as JDate allow you to browse anonymously.
To do so, log into JDate.com, click Your Account Profile Display Settings and click Hide when you’re online and Hide when you’ve viewed someone.
This won’t prevent them from knowing when your last login date was should they check on you, but at least they can’t see you’ve viewed their profile 10 times in three hours.
Since dating sites and their algorithms are created to help you meet someone and not stalk someone, a few of the Internet dating sites have included premium features to help your visibility, as well as hide your visibility, but it comes with a price tag.
On OkCupid, you can pay $14.95 per month for a three-month package or $9.95/month for six months to upgrade your account to A-List.
This premium feature will allow you to browse anonymously without appearing in your digital crush’s visitors list.
You also can hide a profile, which prevents you from appearing in their searches or recent activity bar.
Keep in mind this is reciprocal and you won’t see any activity on the person you choose to hide.
Even if you just want to look at his adorable smile, if he logs on and sees you’ve viewed him 20 times, he might get creeped out and think you’re obsessive.
The alternative, of course, is to take a screenshot of his photos and keep them on your computer so you can view them before you go to sleep without having to log on.
On Plenty of Fish, the ability to hide that you viewed a profile is a feature available to upgraded members. Click Mail Settings and select No from the dropdown menu that reads, “Allow a user to see that you have viewed their profile.” Click Update Mail Settings to save.
The cost is $12.90/month for three months or $8.50/month for six months.
It may scream insecurity if you feel you have to do so, but some do this to check up on their date from the night before to see if their profile has been active while pretending to be digitally devoted without visible a login attempt.
While I strongly recommend against it, it’s a must-have feature for some, and it’s no different than lying about their age on a profile.
But seriously look in the mirror and tell yourself how awesome you are and cancel that fake account when your relationship is going well.
If he knew you were checking on him, he just minute dump you in a digital second.
Just like you shouldn’t kiss and tell, I believe you shouldn’t snoop and tell, if you even have to snoop at all.
At the end of the digital day, spend more time getting to know your date offline rather than obsessing about what they might be doing online.
If you get caught snooping, don’t be surprised if your potential love interest clicks the block button on Facebook, Twitter, all online dating sites, emails and even your phone number.