Have you ever tried Googling yourself? If you’re like me, thousands of results appear. Alma Mater. Job title. Pinterest page. Even my contact information from my online portfolio.
Through the power of the Internet and search engines like Google, the average person can access a treasure trove of personal information to piece together an online persona.
In the world of online dating—when all we have to base our dating decisions on is a few personal photos, a short intro paragraph and a handful of yes or no questions—the Internet can help us fill in the gaps.
As a twenty-something, I’m well-versed in the power of the Internet and other social media sites like Facebook. I’ve always Googled new interests in hopes of gaining any additional information on this person—positive or negative.
In one particularly random dating experience, my online search uncovered that my new interest had a young son—a detail he had yet to bring up in conversation. Our relationship never developed to a point where he may have openly shared that information, but it was helpful to realize that our life experiences were very different.
When I first began dating my boyfriend George, whom I met on CatholicMatch, I immediately typed his name into the Google search bar hoping to find a Facebook profile or LinkedIn account. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find either. With no mutual friends to garner a generic “he’s normal” assessment, I went into our first date knowing only what was posted on his profile and what he shared in private messages.
It was nerve-racking to walk into our first face-to-face date with a completely blank slate, but looking back, I’m glad that I did not uncover Facebook photos, Twitter posts or speeding ticket details that may have tainted my perception of his personality or character.
The question, “Do you Google search potential dates/friends?” was recently posed in a “Single Living” forum thread. The responses on this topic were mixed:
“I would definitely Google a guy before I met him. CatholicMatch is so isolated from the outside world that it would be important to a see a person’s Internet footprints.”
“Perhaps I’m a bit trusting, but I really don’t Google people. This probably comes with most of my friends being people I’ve met in real life already and those Internet friends I do have haven’t ended up being bad people.”
“I do, however, know many women who have gotten some incredible ‘dirt’ by Googling — court records and all that. Mostly the men I have met have been exactly who they said they were.”
“People can improve, and we have to give people the benefit of the doubt, even if they have some negative items out there.”
Barring any major red flags, don’t let the Internet or a search engine like Google dictate who you date and who you do not date. The snippets of information that float through the online world only represent pieces of our personalities and our history. I don’t know about you, but I surely don’t want others judging me by a single blog post I wrote years ago or a photo they see of me from a friend’s wedding.
I encourage single Catholics to let the Holy Spirit be your heart’s private investigator, and lean on His guidance in your dating journey.
What about you? Do you search Google or Facebook for more information about your potential dates?