Pre-Date Stalking Could Be Killing Your Chances Of Finding A Great Partner

You’ve met someone amazing and you’ve actually planned a date. That’s exciting! However, it’s also terrifying. Before you meet up with them, you decide to do a little pre-date stalking to see what you can find out about them. It seems harmless enough, especially because you figure they’re probably doing the same. However, this seemingly innocuous habit could just be screwing with your dating life.

What is pre-date stalking?

You probably already know the answer to this. Pre-date stalking is when you basically act like you’ve just been drafted by the FBI to do a deep dive on a potential suspect. You don’t just Google the person’s name. You go 320 weeks deep in their Instagram feed, stalk their exes on LinkedIn, and read through their posts on that World of Warcraft forum back when they were 15. You’re looking for clues about them to fill in the blanks in your knowledge of them. Of course, you could do that by actually asking them when you go out, but oh no. That won’t do.

Obviously, a little research is normal and even important before meeting a relative stranger. After all, you do want to ensure you’re not going out with a serial killer or something. However, beyond the cursory search to uncover any blatant red flags, you shouldn’t be spending hours picking apart their digital life. Sadly, far too many people do this and it rarely has good results.

Why is it a bad thing?

Beyond being ever so slightly psychotic, pre-date stalking can have plenty of negative effects on your relationship possibilities.

  1. You develop unfair and sometimes false ideas about them. The stuff you find out lacks nuance. You might find a random comment they left on someone’s Instagram pictures and get the ick even though you have no idea what the story behind what they’ve said. Maybe you find a photo of them hanging out with someone you don’t like and you judge them based on that. It’s not hard to see why this is unfair. You can’t possibly get a full picture of who someone is by what you find out online. It’s just not possible.
  2. It makes it impossible to have a normal conversation. This is one of the biggest downsides of pre-date stalking. The more research you do about your date online, the harder you’ll have to try not to let anything you learned slip. Otherwise, things could get a little weird. That self-consciousness ends up making things unnecessarily tense. And aren’t first dates awkward enough already?
  3. It robs you of the opportunity of getting to know them for real. Let’s say you do develop a picture of basically their entire life before your first date. What’s left to learn about them when you’re actually together? You’ll find it hard to ask questions about them and their life because you’ll be thinking, “Eh, I already know all this stuff.” That will make you seem disinterested and a bit rude. It’s a disaster.
  4. You end up psyching yourself out. Let’s say you don’t find anything out that makes you think they’re awful. Maybe their socials are so lit that you’re pretty sure they’re the bee’s knees. The problem? You worry you’re not up to scratch. In fact, you might even convince yourself that they’re out of your league and would never like you. That’s bullshit, obviously. Good luck convincing yourself of that, though.
  5. You can start to obsess. To be honest, if you’re digging that deep, chances are you already are obsessed. When this happens, all of your available brainspace is taken over by this person and you start to spiral. No one wants to date someone who’s obsessed with them, for one. For another, you start to look a little nuts even to your friends. Take a serious step back.

Are there any benefits of pre-date stalking?

Sure, to an extent. If you just do a cursory background check, there are some benefits.

  1. You ensure your own safety. A bit of pre-date stalking — er, let’s call it research — can give you some basic info on whether or not your date is a convicted felon (or has ever had any legal problems). If you uncover anything troublesome about them, you might be better off canceling.
  2. You get a general idea about compatibility. If you find Instagram pics of them at a concert for a band you love, you realize you have something in common. Same goes for if they have pictures of themself running a marathon and you’re training for your first half. Getting an idea of stuff you have in common can help you feel more confident going into the date.
  3. You can generate some conversational topics. Maybe they talk a lot about their desire to start their own business online. That’s a cue to ask about their career ambitions. If they’re always posting pics of themself at the gym, fitness might be a good topic of conversation. Obviously, you should be open to following the convo where it goes. However, it’s always good to have some ideas in your pocket if needed.
  4. You can verify if the basic things they’ve told you about themself is true. If you’ve been chatting for a bit on dating apps before going out, you hope that they’re being honest about who they are and what they do. Pre-date stalking is the way to find out. If they’re lying this early on, chances are, they’re not really someone you want to go out with.
  5. You can (hopefully) avoid any major surprises. Don’t get us wrong — sometimes surprises can be a good thing. However, we’re talking about the nasty kind. A bit of light research should confirm that everything’s good to go and you can head into the evening (or afternoon) with more excitement than fear.
Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia