New Survey Reveals the Crazy Amount of "Stalking" People Do Before First Dates

Social media stalking has reached a whole new level.

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In today's day and age, it's normal to do a little Google search on someone you're about to meet up with for a date, if only for safety purposes rather than to satisfy your curiosity. But, according to a recent survey of 2,000 Americans by the enterprise screening provider JDP, the amount of research that we do on our potential romantic partners is, at the very least, a bit excessive, and at most, borderline creepy.

The vast majority of respondents (77 percent) admitted that they research people before going on dates, 29 percent of whom spend 30 minutes or more investigating their new crush. And while 72 percent of people said they conduct their research before the first date, a full 33 percent said they do so before they even contact them. Facebook is the most popular source for digging, followed by Google, Instagram, and Twitter. The most troubling finding, however, might be that the fact that 63 percent of people said they go "most or all the way back" when researching social media accounts, with women twice as likely to scroll through your entire history back to your shame-ridden college days.

There seems to be a gender disparity in what people are actually looking for when they go all Magnum PI on your profile. Unsurprisingly, women are more interested in learning about your work history and criminal background, whereas men are actively trying to glean a sense of your interests and see more of your photos. And if you've ever been stood up last minute and wondered why, you might have your answer—40 percent of those surveyed said they had backed out of a date based on what they'd found online.

The sheer volume of information about you online can also backfire later if you're not totally upfront about who you are. Over 40 percent of respondents said that their snooping made it easier to catch their date out on a lie—with women more likely to fib about their weight, work, and age, and men more likely to tweak the truth about their height, income, and living situation.

As a writer who frequently writes about sex and relationships, I've always been able to quickly tell when someone has read one of my articles. I'm also one of the 17 percent of people that has been "weirded out" by the realization that someone has extensively researched me, as opposed to the 16 percent who found it "exciting."

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I believe there's no shortcut to get to know someone. You just have to sit down with them, feel out the vibe, keep an open mind, and listen. Remember: social media isn't necessarily real life, and when you do a whole lot of research on someone before meeting them, you come into the encounter with a myriad of firm assumptions of what they're like that may not align with who they really are (or at least, who they are anymore). And for more of the ways in which technology has changed the dating landscape, Here's the Shocking Number of People Who Check Their Phones During Sex.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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