Once upon a time it seemed almost borderline terrifying to look into date background checks, but thanks to advances in technology, it’s much more appropriate to check up on someone before heading out for the night. Of course, there are certain rules to abide by, and to keep you careful and not crazy, here are the dos and don’ts of doing a little research.
DO: Look up on Facebook
Oh, the joy of an open profile. Most of us are a lot more linked in than we like to think (scary), so it’s not a feat to look up a potential suitor on the social network to check their relationship status, photos or even status updates. (We’re willing to pet you won’t be inclined to hang out with someone who advocates violence or sexism on their Facebook profile.) That said, there’s a limit: scrolling down someone’s wall may have its perks, but you don’t know the context of discussion “ and you don’t want to learn all about someone before you’ve even had a chat.
DON’T: Go detective
A private eye may seem enticing (if you have a lot of money and time to spare), but to actually stalk someone before you’ve actually begun a relationship “ or even after “ is not only a waste of time and resources, but downright terrifying. Odds are if that you’re this suspicious of someone before even dating them, you probably don’t have much of a future in your midst.
Everything I’ve ever learned, I’ve taken from Google. True, that’s not a statement you should probably live by, but when it comes to checking up on someone before a little one-on-one time, there’s nothing wrong with seeing what the G-monster has to say. It’s easy to find out work information (LinkedIn), social habits (Twitter) or even online presence (blogs), but remember that if you come across something you’re not necessarily impressed by, everything has a context, and unless he’s a registered criminal (or seemingly threatening), you should give him a chance before writing him off.
DON’T: Do police checks
There’s a difference between being careful and being paranoid, and if you’re unsure to the point of heading down to your local precinct, you’re not only about to get disappointed (odds are most police stations won’t just give you a background check for kicks), you’re about to come to a harsh realization: you may need to decipher the meaning behind your trust issues. If you’re worried about dating to the point of feeling legitimately paranoid, you may want to talk to someone who can help you figure out why. Otherwise, you’ll end up creating barriers that only justify your behavior.