It's midnight, the blue light from your screen flickers on your face as you reach for a biscuit. Your fingers start typing a name. Voila! You've struck gold as hundreds of photos come up on the screen - posing with his catches of the day.
You make a mental note - bring up mutual love of fishing during date.
The internet has revolutionised not only shopping but also dating and relationships. According to a Match.com survey, 48 per cent of women research a guy before the first date. Googling a potential date is termed "pre-dating", setting the scene for the date by storing information ammunition to be fired at the right moment.
You are sure the guy will be pleased you took the time to find out about him. Wise move? "Absolutely not", says Lyn Paul, a certified dating and relationship coach from The Dating Angel.
"Googling a guy before a date falls under subtle chasing and is most likely to terrify or make him suspicious.
"It's a strict no-no and can sabotage the chance to develop a long-term relationship."
Here are five reasons you should not Google a potential suitor:
Dating is not a "shopping experience"
Serena Cauchi, a clinical psychologist, says women tend to overanalyse or discount what they see online because they approach relationships with a checklist and, if the person does not meet their requirements, it is likely he'll land on the rejection pile.
Refrain from "checklist shopping" and instead wait until you've met him to decide whether he could be right for you.
Paul says one date is usually enough for the woman to know if there is chemistry present.
You come across as desperate or too aggressive
While you may think browsing his Facebook profile for common interests will hint that you're interested, Paul says there's a thing such as "too much interest", which signals untrustworthiness. Paul says if someone has asked you out, chances are he already likes you.
Cauchi recommends asking yourself how you would feel if your date Googled you before meeting you and what he could find - then cancelling the date based on this "research".
Potential to sabotage chemistry
The best way to get to know someone is meeting them face to face and observing the many visual and body language cues, says Cauchi. Eye contact is one of the most important ways of gauging another person's intentions.
It may also trigger neurochemicals such as oxytocin, reducing anxiety and increasing the connection between people.
An online assessment of your date does not take into account his body language and can be misleading.
Cauchi says "consider the prospect that someone you may Google and reject might be your perfect match".
You assume the role of "chaser"
Cauchi says date situations usually bring out some insecurity, a fear of rejection and sometimes just good "old-fashioned" nerves in some people.
While you may view internet research as trying to minimise this risk and prevent yourself getting hurt, realistically compatibility cannot be assessed by information that exists about a person online.
Paul believes that because women have become more aggressive in the workplace, this aggression has spilt over into their relationships. Unfortunately, it is backfiring as women are now doing the chasing instead of waiting to be chased.
In her experience, Paul says: "Men thrive on the chase. Nothing has changed despite what people may think. Nothing puts a guy off faster than a woman who calls frequently wanting to meet up."
It causes unnecessary anxiety and worry
Paul says that what you see online, especially in photos, may not be the complete picture.
For example, while searching on Facebook, you may come across photos of him with a gorgeous woman. Instead of jumping to conclusions and cancelling the date, Paul recommends hearing the guy out. For all you know she may be a sister or cousin.
Cauchi agrees. "Face to face is better than Facebook to Facebook."
She says there is the potential to judge and assume things about a person through social media, particularly other people's perceptions of that individual. It is far better to get to know someone and assess their merits and compatibility based on your interactions with them.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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