Buzz, Self

Avoid behaving like a Central Intelligence Officer when you start dating your potential plus one

In the Oscar nominated blockbuster film Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain portrays Maya, a Central Intelligence Officer, dedicates her early career years to uncovering intel about al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Her tenacity and due diligence bring to mind a popular card seen on with a picture of a matter-of-fact woman with the verbage "Don't Underestimate My Ability to Find Sh** Out."

In the beginning of a relationship, curiousity and accessibility make it easy to want to peek into the life of the person you are interested in dating. In a matter of seconds, after typing a name in a Google search anywhere from zero to possibly thirty hits can show up providing links to their Facebook, Linked In or the latest marathon they ran.

Because of concerns with online dating, fact checking an identity to a picture is recommended. Or if you just want to know a little more about someone, a one time search is understandable. However, diving deeper into someone's life is not. Avoid becoming a high level military counterintelligence operative when it comes to getting to know someone. 

  1. Do not check their address on county records to see if they own or rent their home. This should not be a determination of someone's worth or status. Let time reveal on its own what the state of their residency is. 
  2. Do not run a background check. If you have any concerns about someone that make you want to check their history, take that as a red flag and abort the relationship. You do not need to spend $29.95 to find out what your instincts are already telling you.
  3. Do not dive into the web of their social network. If they have an open page on Facebook, don't take this an invitation to investigate his friends and snoop around in their lives. Some people's pages are public simply because they do not know how to make them private. Just because there's a bowl of candy out on the counter does not mean you should eat it all. Use this same theory. Take a look and move on. Don't digest as much information as you can leaving you unsatisfied and wanting more. 
  4. Do not take lack of information as lack of a life. If your search returns zero results, don't take this as a sign that the person is a figment of your imagination. There are people who do not use social networking sites or participate in activities that would make their names public. Trust your judgment. If there are other issues such as an avoidance to see you or give you their number, then yes, this person is probably using an alias.
  5. Do not interrogate. During the first few dates, spend more time conversing than questioning. Get to know them by asking thoughtful and sincere questions about their life, their childhood and their friends. Do not make someone feel like they are seconds away from being waterboarded if they do not answer you correctly. This is someone you want to get to know. They are not your enemy.

The Internet can be your friend and your foe. Use it wisely when using it as a secondary source to verify information. Avoid making dating a CIA secret operative mission. Take time to get to know someone naturally but if something seems off or doesn't add up, the Internet is just a click away.

Contributed by Kimberly James, MatchMaster & Dating Expert,