Modern technology has done wonders to advance business and give the world a more global perspective. We are repeatedly told we are in the “information age,” because the Internet gives us instant access to information on a variety of subjects. In most instances it’s a good thing, but I’m not so sure it is when it comes to dating.
Yesterday, one of my sister-friends and I were talking about a first date she had last week. She is a bit of a celebrity, though not a household name, and her accomplishments are varied and quite impressive. In short, my sister-friend has it going on and her star is rising. She met a guy at a launch event for another friend’s new company and they exchanged numbers to set up a date.
In the first few minutes of the date, she realized that he was a little more familiar with her than he should have been. As she was unveiling who she was in the traditional manner, it seemed as if he already knew everything she was saying. Never an arrogant person, she didn’t want to assume that he knew who she was, so she asked. No, he wasn’t a fan. He said he had Googled her before their date.
My sister-friend said she immediately felt uncomfortable because she then wasn’t sure how to react. Finding out he Googled her made her feel, “Some kind of way.” Typically, she holds back on telling a potential suitor the breadth of what she’s done for a myriad of reasons. First, when a man finds out she’s successful and has some fame, then, one of two things happen: Either they become intimidated by it or they fall in love with it before falling in love with her.
I totally get where she’s coming from because I’ve had the same issue on dates. It throws off the dynamic a bit because if there is a lot of information about you online, the person has already formed opinions before they get to know the real you. The facts about your life don’t make up your complete reality. And, it takes the fun out of a good ole’ fashioned “let’s get to know each other” date.
I took an unscientific poll on Twitter and Facebook to see how many people Google a person before a first date. I was shocked to know that more people did than not because I’ve never done it. One comment I did understand was for safety reasons for women — to make sure the guy wasn’t a psycho with a record or something. Other responses were far less genuine and instead underscored my point that it is quite awkward to Google someone before the first date.
With texting, social media and the Internet all at your fingertips thanks to smart phones, dating has become far less personal than in the past. Personally, I think some things are best done the old fashioned way — you know, like getting to know a person by talking to them, or hanging out and going on a series of dates. But, it seems I’m in the minority here. What do you think? Is “Googling" him before the first date really the way to go?
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Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.