Men & Women Do Totally Different Pre-Date Research & The Reason Why Is So, So Sad

by Alice Broster
Daxiao Productions/Stocksy

Committing to a first date can be risky business. Whilst it is all good fun digging out your best date nice top and jeans, putting a bit of lipstick on, and going to meet someone completely new, there’s high stakes. You are giving up an entire evening that could be better spent in front of a Christmas film in your pyjamas for essentially a perfect stranger. You have to make it worth it for yourself, right? An easy answer might be to do some research. So how many people Google their date? A study has found that conducting some pre-date research is pretty common and people aren’t afraid to admit it.

Whether it comes in the form of an Instagram scroll, Facebook search, or scouring of a Twitter feed, I have definitely fallen prey to a pre-date investigation. If I don’t look into the person I am about to spend the evening with, then I would bet good money my friends will and all the findings would end up on a group chat anyway. Online dating has only made this easier with many dating apps encouraging you to connect your social media. So, how common is a pre-date social media sweep?

Research conducted by risk mitigation specialists JPD has revealed that more of us use social media and the internet to find out as much as we can about potential suitors before meeting them face to face than you might think. JPD surveyed 2,000 people in the U.S. to ask them if they research potential dates, when, and how long they spend on the endeavour.

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The study found that 38 percent of those questioned always researched people before going on dates with them, with only 12 percent saying they never did. 76 percent spend 15 minutes or more on their pre-date investigations and the most common time for people to look into their potential suitor is after they have been talking to them but before a first date (72 percent.) Facebook was the preferred platform to conduct this investigation with 88 percent of respondents saying they use the social media platform to look into their dates.

I don’t see an issue with indulging your curiosity but how extensively do people look into their dates? The study found that 63 percent of people surveyed looked most or all the way back on their dates social media, with women twice as likely to look at everything. I am all for knowing that someone spent their last birthday in Vegas but if you know the name of their high school teacher it may have gone too far.

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So what exactly do you look for when you are looking into potential suitors social media? For me, it is always nice to see that they have pictures with friends, on cool trips, or with their families around the Christmas tree. However, the study found that the top two reasons the men and women surveyed gave for having a social media "stalk" before a date were very different.

Whilst women said they did it to check criminal background and their dates work history, the men said they were more interested in pictures, videos, and interests. This would suggest that some women use this time, not only to see where their date usually spends their Saturday nights, but also to ensure they will be safe. Pre-date investigations are no laughing matter either as 40 percent of respondents said they had backed out of a date because of something they found in their research online.

With a plethora of dating apps to choose from and social media being all too accessible giving in to curiosity is easily done. I am all for looking into someone before I decide to give up my Saturday night with the girls. And if the study is anything to go by, many of us wouldn’t care if our date knew that they had had their social media scrutinised before meeting. 63 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t be embarrassed if their dates knew they had researched them. There is no shame in getting your Sherlock Holmes on and conducting a little investigation.