Here's All The Research I Do Before Meeting A Dating App Match In Person

If you've ever matched with someone on a dating app and gone out on a date without extensively researching them first, congratulations — you're not nearly as creepy as I am. But that's probably not why you're here. You're here because you want to learn how to stalk a guy online.

I know all the reasons you shouldn't stalk your dates. What you find online (his fourth-place finish at the Western Massachusetts Regional Swim Championships of 2010, an obituary from an old guy with the same name, or a quote he gave to his college newspaper about being "kinda excited" about the new chicken wings at the dining hall) tells you basically nothing about who a person is today. This is all useless information. And the more you stalk, the harder it is to act like a normal person on a date. You'll get fidgety as soon as you see chicken wings on the menu. It'll be weird.

But still. I love stalking before dates, especially when I think I'll really like the guy. And I know I'm not alone — 75 percent of women and 59 percent of men check out their date's social media profiles before meeting in person, according to a study published earlier this year by Australian dating site Elite Singles.

So if you're gonna creep, at least be thorough. Here are nine ways you can get the most out of any stalking sesh.

Check Out Their Instagram

A lot of dating apps allow users to embed their Instagram right into their profile. If Potential Bae has their account linked, it's almost rude not to check it out, right?

Don't Forget About Their Tagged Photos

Tap the far right icon on their Instagram to see the photos they're tagged in. Beware: These pics might be less flattering than the ones they choose to post themselves, but you might catch an old birthday tribute post from an ex — useful.

Look At Who They Follow And Like

On Insta, you can scope out who they follow; on Twitter, you can see who they follow and what they like. These tidbits can give you a voyeuristic look at what they really care about.

God bless the writer I stalked on Twitter who probably didn't realize I could see that half the accounts he followed belonged to adult actresses. This hack is legit.

Find Them On Facebook

You don't even need a last name for this to work. If their dating profile gives you a first name, city, school, and company, that might give you enough info to locate their profile.

After you hit enter on the search bar, Facebook allows you to filter results (check the left sidebar), which can help point you toward the right person.

Scope Out Their Profile Through Your Mutual Friends

If you can't find their Facebook profile straight away but you know you have mutual friends, you're in luck. That is, you're in luck if your friends have super lax privacy settings that let you crawl through their list of Facebook friends.

So you're stalking a dude named Mike who went to college with your friend Ariella? Type Mike into her list of friends and see who pops up — but also try typing Michael or even Michaelangelo to make sure you don't accidentally miss the right guy.

Screenshot Their Facebook Profile Pic, Then Do A Reverse Image Search

Yes, this is creepy, but what did you expect when you clicked on this story? Come on.

Instead of typing in a keyword in Google Images, click the camera icon, then upload the screenshot of their picture to search where else it's appeared online. You might find their headshot on their company's site, or maybe even that photo of them playing guitar on stage pulled from a cool music blog (a girl can dream, right?).

Find Their Username, Then Look For It Everywhere

Once you've found their Facebook, you'll be able to see their username (it's whatever comes after the slash in the URL). It's worth a shot to look up that same username on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, and even YouTube.

One time, I used this hack and stumbled across a super hot guy's Reddit history, which was full of really offensive racist "jokes." Bullet dodged.

Be Savvy About Your Google Search

Like you probably learned in your sixth grade computers class, adding quote marks to your search will yield more specific results.

"John Smith" probably won't help you find the dude you want, but "John Smith + Tampa + [his ex-girlfriend's name here]" will definitely turn up the Relay for Life team page they ran together last year. I mean, just as an example, not that I've tried that recently or anything.

Create A Fake LinkedIn Profile To Scope Out Your Crush

If you want to check out a person's employment history, LinkedIn should be your first stop. (You can even see which skills their friends endorse them for — a guy who excels at Excel might give different vibes than a guy who's only "professional skill" is beer pong, you feel?)

But be careful. If you're logged in, LinkedIn will notify people whenever you view their profile (and if you're not logged in, you probably won't be able to complete the search).

You could borrow a friend's LinkedIn, but if you like to stalk on the regs, I'd go ahead and create your own fake profile tied to a fake email address so you can creep whenever you want.

Because remember. It's not really stalking. You're just doing research.

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