Technology is the lifeblood of so many millennial romances. Your right-swipe on a dating app blossoms into a match. Your chit-chat on one app moves to another, more intimate one, like iMessage, WhatsApp, Insta DMs or Snapchat. And while you're building these connections with your potential date via technology, you're probably engaging with them digitally elsewhere, too: by combing their Twitter feed, scrolling through their Instagram, and Googling your date before meeting.
According to matchmaker and dating expert Carmelia Ray, there are many benefits to getting the tea on your date in advance. "Googling your app match will hopefully provide some additional resources and insights into a person's lifestyle, attitude, values, education, family, and goals," Ray tells Elite Daily. That's to say, Googling your date might give you a better idea of whether their interests, way of life, politics, and personality could vibe with yours. Plus, Ray adds, "You may find accomplishments, a LinkedIn profile to show professional history, or any other important information, such as a criminal record, red flags, or inappropriate content."
But even though that voyeuristic peak into your date's work life, taste in memes, embarrassing family photos, and any other tidbits Google can dredge up may feel satisfying, searching your date ahead of time might not always be beneficial. In fact, there's a chance that all the tea you've been collecting might burn you in the end.
"If you’re going to conduct a Google search, I suggest you don’t dig too deep," Julie Spira, an online dating expert, tells Elite Daily. The problem with Googling your dating app match is that all your research can detract from the pleasure of getting to know them IRL. So Spira's main advice is: Do not use information you obviously found online to spark up a conversation when you meet up. "When you get to the date, it's good to be conversational and see if you have chemistry," Spira says. "But no one wants to feel like their date did a background check on them before meeting for the first time."
Cyber-snooping can also often lead you to make assumptions or pass judgment on someone before you meet them. And besides, Spira adds, "Some old entries might not be relevant to who the person is today." If you let your date know that you searched them ahead of time, it could also start your relationship off on an uncomfortable note. "Just like you shouldn’t kiss-and-tell, you shouldn’t Google-and-tell your date, because you might come across as an untrusting person," Spira says. How would you feel if your date told you they Googled you ahead of time?
To this point, Ray advises that single people who are dating should "Google themselves and clean up anything in their past or online footprint they may not be proud of." If you're going to meet up with a date soon, remember to practice regular dating safety. Meet in a public place, share your location with friends, and do some light research to learn more about the other person. But it might be best, for your peace of mind and theirs, if you don't dive too deep past the first page of results.
Julie Spira, online dating expert
Carmelia Ray, matchmaker and dating expert