What Experts Say: Should You Do A Background Check On A New Online Date?
Linda Collins - August 21, 2019
It’s Saturday night, and you are mixed with all sorts of different emotions. Excitement mixed with nerves can really make those last minute preparations can be stressful. But there are a few things you shouldn’t really have to worry about. Thanks to internet and the advent of social media, it really has never been easier to get insight into your new online date before you meet them for the first time. If this is something that you are routinely doing you are not alone in the slightest. JDP (an employee centric background check company) recently released a survey of 2,000 Americans. More than 3 in every 4 people reported that they themselves have done research on a potential date. More than 1 in every 3 say they perform a background check as a rule.
No question about it, doing a background check before your date can really save you some time. Nobody wants to go on a date with someone they know will go nowhere. But consider that when you do a background check you are really only getting a piece of who someone is. It rarely will tell you the whole story. Have a relationship with someone helps to put into context what you are reading when scrolling through their social media profiles for example. Sarcasm is rarely an easy read. Having a pre-existing relationship benefits you by giving you a lens in which to view their posts.
According to that same JDP survey, 40% of respondents reported that they themselves have gone as far as canceling or backing out of a date all together because of what they uncovered in their background checking. So really this leaves us with one major questions: how much is too much, when it comes to social media snooping?
Healthy Pre-Date Research Looks Like This
When it comes to gather the goods on potential dates, where exactly are singles digging? The JDP survey found that by far the most popular outlet for snooping on your potential date is Facebook. In face almost 9 out of every 10 of those who took the survey said that was their primary source for intel. You might not be surprised to learn that the second most popular tool singles use is Google (synonymous with internet search), followed by the gram (Instagram for you lay people).
Leslie-Beth Wish, founder of Love Victory, author and licensed psychotherapist, says “Healthy research includes looking at the person’s tweets, and social media profiles.” She added, “You can learn about their interests, accomplishments, goals and education or training. If the person has a website, you can get a better, overall sense of what kind of person they want to project.”
Taking a swift glance at someone’s social profiles is a great way to get a quick sense of who they are and what they might be in to. That certainly can be advantageous and essential in making a decision as to whether or not you want to give things a shot. But keep in mind one very important thing. Most of us, probably including you, take great care in creating our social media image. How much of our own dirty laundry are we REALLY dishing on our own profiles? Maybe some light drama, but not the deep issues (most of the time). That said, don’t expect to glean the whole picture from a simple run through. What you see is often not exactly what you get. People are complicated and layered. Our top most layers often only tell half the story whether online or in real life.
When Does The Research Get Out of Hand?
It’s important to do your searches in a healthy way. There is a big difference between doing a quick check of their social media & google search and going into full “stalker” mode. According to JDP 2 out of 3 people admitted to doing a “deep dive” on potential date’s social media profiles. Going ALL the way back to the beginning (ummm, yikes…). So it can be a slippery slope
You are looking for small bits of data. Likes, dislikes, friends etc. Perception though is often far from reality. It’s very easy to take things out of context. The kind of context that getting to know someone would provide. You might find yourself taking a pass on a date with someone that may have been your soul mate as a result of taking something out of context.
Also consider that if you DO do a “deep dive” and DO end up going on the date. Another reason to maybe leave some things to the imagination is that you might accidentally let something slip. You might mention something they posted FOREVER ago and now you look nuts. Imagine that kind of awkward conversation following that. Now instead of the natural, and witty rapport building that comes from getting to know someone for the first time, the conversations go stale and you find yourself bored.
Ultimately Do What Makes You Comfortable
In the end this is about your comfort. The world is a scary place and lets face it study after study has proven nothing if not that men are literally the most dangerous aspect of women’s lives. I’ll take a minute so you can read that sentence again if you need.
Safety is what is most important. If you are comfortable and feel safe, you are not going to enjoy your date and it will likely not go anywhere. Do whatever background search you feel is necessary to gain that comfort. With CheckPeople you can get a comprehensive background check that will include known associates, criminal history, work and education history etc. You will gain REAL insight into a potential date in just seconds!