By Laura Snyder
What is it about dating someone new and exciting that turns us into...well, stalkers? We check their MySpace or Facebook profile for updates (Who's that new cutie in their friend list? Are they sleeping together??). We Google them. We wonder why they haven't sent us an instant message, when they are clearly online.
Thanks to technology, it's never been easier to cave in to our curiosity, to give in to the feeling that the more we know and the more in touch we are with our intended, the better things will go.
The thing is, it usually backfires. If you want to find romance - and not a restraining order - avoid these technology glitches.
Don't Go Off the Deep End of Online Dating
Online dating sites are designed to make you think you can find your perfect match. You know, the one who's hot and funny and smart, likes jazz (but not soul), cats (but not longhairs), has a Ph.D. (in literature, not engineering)... Don't let that illusion of the ideal mate keep you from having an open mind about all the great catches available to you.
Don't Email Too Early
Keep your post-date message short and sunny. No pages-long love letters the morning after. No sending link after link to "hilarious" YouTube videos and - please, please, tell us you don't do this - no burying them in god-awful personality surveys. No pouring out your heart and soul via text message on the way back from your first date. Email and texts are so fast and accessible, it's easy to get carried away.
Don't Be Too Connected
Resist the urge to give your date all your contact info - work, home, cell, personal email, work email - all at once. You'll have plenty of time to reach the level of total connectivity. In the early days, just stick to calling - and giving out - home phone numbers and one email address.
Google With Care
The proliferation of social networking sites and search engines makes it easy to look in on the life of your potential date. And you know you've done it. Resist the temptation and you minimize the possibility of finding out something that will prejudice you against your date before you even get to know them. (And, let's be honest, you're not going to be content with just knowing this stuff - you're going to analyze it with your friends until the fizz has fizzled right out of your once-anticipated first date.) Bonus: by getting to know each other the old-fashioned way, you don't have to fake that look of surprise when he or she tells you something you shouldn't have known, but stumbled across on the web.