There a man life lessons to be learned from television series How I Met Your Mother — from how to craft the perfect “get psyched” mixed CD, to finding out that nothing good happens after 2 a.m. However, my most recent favorite comes from the “Mystery vs. History” episode where Ted and his date promise not to do any secret research online about one another prior to their first date.
Lesson #45 – Don’t Facebook Stalk A First Date
As much as we may not want to admit it, Facebook has become an integral part of the college experience. We use our profiles to track our lives and the lives of others’ and more importantly, we do it all the time. At this point, social media stalking has become second nature. So when the guy in your sociology class finally asks you out, you almost can’t help but look him up on every social media platform you can think of.
Facebook and Twitter are a silver platter of what we want the world to know about us. We put up pictures, statuses, songs, interests and so much more, knowing that it’s all fair game for our “friends” to judge.
The key to abandoning social media research before a date is to figure out the reason why you do it in the first place. Do you seek security from having prepared conversation topics in your first date arsenal, or from finding out that you have mutual friends? Do you like going through his personal interests to see if the two of have anything in common? Are you trying to figure out if he’s close with his family? Or maybe you want to see if he’s just another frat star with Daddy’s Big Texas Oil money and an ego complex.
There are a few things about first dates that don’t go away no matter how much you Facebook stalk the guy beforehand, like the potential for awkwardness whether it’s an unexpected lull in conversation, or those moments when you try to figure out how to pay the bill.
We all prejudge people based on their social media profiles to some extent, but with this we lose, piece by piece, every opportunity to genuinely get to know the person in front of us. Doing a little pre-first date research may seem harmless at the time, but it can destroy your love life. As with most things, striking a balance is imperative, and it’s no different when it comes to Facebook overflowing into the real world. Take everything on Facebook with a grain of salt, and always remember that there’s a voice behind the pictures and comments, that holds more value in real life.
Multiple photo albums of a guy with his fraternity brothers in neon and Dockers, doesn’t completely convey who he is as a person, just as it wouldn’t for a guy with the best Spotify playlists and most artistic profile pictures. Facebook is, at best, only one dimension of who a person is, and certainly doesn’t promise that you’ll have the best date of your life, simply because you both like Volkswagens, Apple products and Foster The People. Let people have the chance to surprise you and, in turn, give yourself the chance to surprise you.
Got it? Feel empowered? Good. Now get the first 44 rules of the Single Girl Society