When does investigating your potential date become stalking?

Given that it is not yet law for all dating sites to check the history of its membership, how do you check out the past of a potential partner? If, indeed, you do at all. If not, at least according to one report, you are very much in the minority.

Okay, online dating is now a socially acceptable way of meeting your partner. The uninhibited growth of social media and ‘respectable’ branding and advertising campaigns have seen to that. But that doesn’t stop the glorious picture of Heidi, the 22-year old lab assistant from London, turning out to be randy Roger from Reading, does it? As such, almost sixty percent of singles who have been approached to go real life dating via their online platform use other Internet sites to vet their potential partner before agreeing to meet up with them.

Social media platforms used to vet potential partners

Stalking your ex on the facebook is nothing new. Many of us have done it and lived to regret it. You see them on a smiley photo with their new beau, you get too closely acquainted with the ever-faithful Miss S. Artois or favourite Pinot Grigio and end up having a one-night stand with a total minger whose name you instantly forget and all just to ‘show them’ you’re not hurting. Yeah, right, well done! Then you’ve got to rid yourself of said minger – disaster!

However, in the absence of a legal prerequisite, singles on dating sites are doing their own investigating using Google, LinkedIn and facebook to corroborate dating site information before acquiescing a date.

On Jdate, a recent survey of 500 members revealed that, of the six in ten who trawl the ‘Net for added safety, more than a quarter used facebook only and one eighth only Googled their potential beau, but a further 20 percent used a combination of sources, such as the professional network, LinkedIn, thrown in just to be sure.

One word of caution. As much as we condone this type of activity, that first date is your first real chance to get to know the person you’ve met online, once you’ve satisfied yourself that Heidi definitely isn’t randy Roger, perhaps because her moustache is a different colour, I don’t know. But leave some of the mystery to unfold on your date(s). Do not, under any circumstances, over-investigate your subject.

If you sound like you’ve been checking up on them before you’ve met, it will sound like you’ve been checking up on them before you’ve met and you may just come across as slightly unhinged or stalker-ish. All that time and effort in research and you’ve scared them off a second date. So, yes, be sure; but also, leave the door ajar for a little mystery to seep through, a bit at a time, not fling open Pandora’s box like, well, like Pandora did. You may not be able to take it all in at once and still retain all of your noodles.

First date do’s and don’ts – for the two of you

After looking at the first date do’s and don’ts specific to each of the sexes, we will conclude this mini-series with a few hints and tips applicable to the two of you, the first time you take your online dating offline. This is general good advice and is applicable to any liaison when you’re first getting to know someone.

There are times, when you go on a first date, that you can leave and not remember an awful lot about the person you have spent the evening with. Did they hang on your every word or were you talking that much they didn’t even get a word in edgeways? Were they smitten and can’t wait for you to get in touch or are they not calling because you bored them rigid?

It is key that you pay attention to what your date is saying; to do that, you have to give them the chance. Here are a few tips to not only ensure you get the best from your first date, but also give you the best chance of securing that even more critical second encounter. Like buying a house, your first viewing is to test the water, the second is where you really get to know whether you could incorporate it in your lifestyle. Sadly, too few prospects get the second viewing.

The brief is to be brief
When you do talk, do not ramble. Even if you’re relating a chapter of your life (why, on a first date, is the real question), pause for breath. Droning on about yourself is poor form; even when writing, you will lose your audience (in this instance, a very selective one) if you do not interject something they can relate to. If you see a yawn, take the hint.

Be interested
Some people are generally submissive and lack confidence. Take the time to put them at ease, ask relevant questions about what they’ve said. Look them in the eye, engendering trust, building their confidence. Do not put them on a pedastal, however, to bring them crashing down by boasting that you’ve done what they’re proud of with a yak on your back.

Just no-no’s
Don’t invite them to appraise you. Not only may you not like the answer, but it unveils either egotistic undertones or insecurity; neither are positive. Past relationships are best left there whilst you’re trying to build the foundations of a new one. An ex is not a good cornerstone for your new relationship.

Leave a little in the tank
Don’t unburden everything on your new partner first time out – you’ll stand a better chance of keeping the lid on your life if you limit yourself to only a couple of drinks. You want to leave something to talk about next time out, not reveal a warts and all picture of your life to date.

If your date has been an unmitigating failure, say so there and then. You don’t need to go into details, but try and give them something positive to take away, from the night and to bolster their courage for their next attempt – just because they’re not your cup of tea, doesn’t mean they can’t make someone else happy. Conversely, if you’ve had a wonderful time, don’t automatically invite your partner home or ask for a second date. Allow suitable time to get in touch, 36 hours is the new en vogue waiting time from first date to follow up, and even longer for an after-date coffee, no matter how great the temptation.

First date do’s and don’ts – for her

Nobody is ever sure of how a first date will play out, least of all the two parcipants. Your online dating buddies may be gunning for you, but they can’t take your place when it’s just the two of you.

We’ve looked into why there are differnet rules for the sexes when it comes to dating; we’ve told the men how to do it. Now, here’s what we reckon is good for the gander…

There’s Catwoman and Cat Slater
There are times when a woman knows how to get what she wants, understands what little flash will have him on his knees, with his credit card and pin number there for the taking. The first date is not that time, unless you want to spend the evening looking at a bald patch as he says little to you, but his words are echoing plenty down your cleveage. Just a hint of what lies beneath is usually enough to secure a second date, where you can really get to work on his psyche, if that’s your aim. If not, why not?

Be natural
Assuming that you’ve suitably shackled away anything that will have him talking through his manhood rather than his mouth, he will want to look at your face. Men do not like the thought of women spending hours shovelling on ‘crap’ that men don’t understand just so that the woman can look like someone they’re not. More is less – enough to hide any minor blemishes and accentuate those outstanding features is bang on the money

Be natural
Let the guy pay, you know you wanna. Unless he’s been an insufferable bore and by paying your half that is your way of officially terminating the relationship, do not offer. If you genuinely want to buy the guy a drink or meal, the first date, when he’s trying to muster as much bravado as is within, is not the time or place to even mention another liaison.

He will try to be funny.
Although most men are only genuinely hilarious when they strip down to their underwear, they think they are all of the time. If it’s not absolutely too much, humour him on this one occasion, unless you reach the point where you feel like a donkey – you will automatically laugh, even when he’s trying to relate something tragic…

When will I see you again?
Do not mention round 2, even if it’s dropping hints on a film you wouldn’t mind seeing. First dates are carrot-danglers – the man being the ass, the carrot – well, we’ll leave you to work that out. Do not make yourself appear unnecessarily desperate or clingy or available – let him follow up.

Sex on a first date
All you need to know about men, sex and a first date is that: they will. If you want any intrigue to remain, don’t do it. For men, the challenge is over, job done, bring on player 2. It is that simple.

Arrive, date and leave with your purse and dignity in tact, even let him pay for the cab home if he offers. If you don’t make an effort or avail yourself too readily, there will be no second date. Men are really that simple.

First date do’s and don’ts – for him

There are key differences between the sexes regarding what they want and expect from a date.  Yesterday, we looked at why there should be different dating rules for men and women once we take our love lives out of the virtual world of online dating and bring them offline.

Following on from that, today we look at just what those differences are, one post on dating tips for men, a second for the fairer sex.  So, here are some guidelines for guys, looking to impress, that first time out.

Put the girl at ease by dating close by to her office or home

Ease and comfort will allow for that first date to run smoothly, allowing your brand new partner to relax. Choose a venue that she can access easily. The added bonus being, if the date goes really well, the taxi fare back to hers will be a snip.

Make an effort!

Your date will have pushed the boat out, you can be sure of that. For those old enough: earhole and nasal hair – get rid. And remember, hair, teeth, wristwatch and shoes – all glistening clean, please!

Be a gentleman

Ignore the press; chivalry is alive, well and running a bookstore in Digbeth. Do open restaurant and taxi doors, remembering to let her through first (duh!), take her coat and seat her at the table, facing directly opposite; she is the focus of your night, even to the point of rising yourself when she nips to powder her nose. Those uncommon touches all score points.

No showboating – experts don’t have to show off their skills

Be forthright, but not conceited

If you’re an expert in a given subject, let her find out for herself, by the questions she asks. If you’re going to compliment anyone, make sure it’s your date, not yourself or another hottie who happens to be in the same establishment. Your date has put the work in to get ‘great hair’ or ensemble a ‘cracking outfit’ – make sure you let them know you appreciate it. And, yes, they may have great buns, but mentioning that at this stage will give totally the wrong impression. Or, if it is the right impression of you, it shouldn’t be.

Dating someone you’ve not met, either on your dating site or in real life

Just because it’s a blind date doesn’t give you the excuse to be tardy or ignore any of the above; punctuality counts for any date. If you feel there may be nerves, suggest you meet where Dutch courage flows like lactose and sugar in the land of milk and honey.

Pay, without fuss, and see your date home.

Whatever the circumstances of your date have been, and however well it’s gone, put your hand in your pocket for the bill and get the girl a cab home, if you’re not moving on elsewhere. Whether the date’s been a success or not, details of events are gonna be squeezed out of your date by her clique on the dating site if you’re not meeting again or by her friends at the office if you are. Either way, you don’t want to be labelled a no-good, useless, tight wad!