Dating in the digital age is terrifying. It’s too easy to Google people’s names and find out where they went to school, their hometown, their past jobs, who you know in common, how often they take crappy photos of their food, their sense of style, and any partying pictures that could serve as blackmail for a future political career.
While this may seem excessive, those precautionary five minutes of clicking through social profiles can potentially save you two hours of your life you will never get back. Two hours you can reclaim by simply not answering messages–two hours that aren’t thrown away sitting in a crappy sports bar as you daintily sip Bud Light, eat chicken tenders, and wonder how he got his job when he explains most of his motivation in life with a shrug of the shoulders and the expression, “YOLO.”
At least, that’s what I used to think. I’m not sure what triggered the switch or when it exactly happened, but I completely stopped Googling people before going on Hinge or Tinder dates. I think that’s when I realized I need people to give me a chance as much as I need to give them one.
Not only does the Internet search take a lot of the fun out of getting to know someone through conversation and observation, but you find a ton of information entirely out of context–bits and pieces of data that can give you a skewed or false perception of who this person actually is.
For example, if you Google me, I look like an asshole. The first things that come up are a parody twitter account (that no one seems to understand is a parody), blog posts like this one, underage photos on Facebook (because I was pretty hot in high school), and a personal twitter and instagram account that’s skewed toward my job, because, you know, I work in social media.
At the end of the day, I would want someone to hate me (or like me, but for the purposes of this article let’s go with the former) from getting to know me in real life, not from reading poorly executed jokes at my expense in order to sustain and expand a social media following. We’re already navigating uncharted, probably STD-laden waters through dating apps, so let’s not make it even more premeditated by knowing more about the person than you would care to admit during a date.