Let me lay a new term on you: “Pre-dating.”

That’s what relationship experts call the online research we do before dating someone new. Some people call it pre-date stalking, and 48 percent of women do it – like researching a guy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram before a first date. But relationship experts say we need to stop pre-date Googling people! Here’s why:

  • Technology makes it too easy to discount people before you even give them a chance. Have you ever met someone, and the more time you spent with them, the more attractive they became? Well, if you pre-date, you may look at a few Instagram shots and think, “Nah, not my type” before giving them a chance. Dr. Nicole Ellison is a professor of information at the University of Michigan. And she says, we now treat dating like online shopping – there’s always another option with the next click. But until you actually meet someone, there’s no way to know if you have a real connection or chemistry.
  • Chemistry is biological. You have to be face-to-face to pick up on cues like tone of voice, body language, eye contact, facial expressions and smell. Brian Alexander wrote the book The Chemistry Between Us: The Science Of Attraction, and he says that eye contact is one of the main ways humans have evaluated each other since the dawn of time. It triggers a release of neurochemicals, which draws two people together. You can’t get that through Google.
  • We judge people more harshly online. A study of online daters found that, once we learn one thing we don’t like about someone online, we weigh that more heavily than all the positives.

So what’s the upshot of all this? Go ahead and Google your potential date – you know you will anyway, but go on the date anyway. Because, when it comes to attraction, in-person interaction is vastly more powerful that analyzing someone online.

Lesson Expert

Betsy Chase

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