I’ve got a dirty little secret: If you’ve ever been romantically connected to me, by the time our first date rolled along I already knew everything about you.
And ya know what? I don’t even feel bad about it.
My passport is hidden somewhere inside my messy apartment, and I couldn’t find last year’s W2 forms if you paid me. But when it comes to digging up the dirt on a guy, I’m freaking Columbo–I can find out anything.
Maybe you also share this little hobby of mine, in which case I’m here to tell you that you can relax with the guilt. As a woman in this day and age, I’d venture to say it’s actually a necessity to stalk your date in order to keep you safe and make sure you’re not about to get tangled up with a psychopath, convicted felon, or WORST of all: a crazy ex-girlfriend. Why is it that we’d never think to get into a random car or step inside a complete stranger’s apartment, yet we trust any schmo we meet on online to be safe and legit.
Aside from general safety, I just think it’s a smart thing to do (and a lot of fun.) Follow these easy steps to successfully (and discreetly) stalk your date.
Personally, I’ve become such a master of the Art of Stalking that it’s almost turned into a game for me. I like to see if I can find out my date’s info (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook etc.) with as little upfront information as possible. In fact my proudest moment was being able to find out a guy’s full name, occupation, professional videos, and photo collection all from knowing that his first name was David and that his dad was a surgeon in Houston. How did I do it? Well, first you have to ask the right questions.
Know What to Ask
Typically a guy will not give you his full name in his opening messages. And flat out asking them “Hey– what’s your last name??” can come off as downright creepy (You wouldn’t want them to think you’re some STALKER or something 😉 Here are some excellent questions that will help you discreetly get the dirt and stalk your date.
- Where are you from? This is an easy one and one you should be asking anyway.
- What do you do? Another totally realistic and innocuous question. Sometimes a company name is displayed in their profile, as is the case with the dating app Bumble. But even if you just get a general job description out of them, (Financial planner working in midtown or Entrepreneur in the consumer product business) you’ve already got a ton to work with.
- Even while you’re still in the beginning stages of messaging, family questions are great because they come off as benign and are a natural way to get to know one another. Asking if they have any brothers or sister or what their parents do can give you a wealth of information, especially if they may be otherwise difficult to find on the Internet.
- Did you play any sports in high school? Strangely enough, this one can be key if they are otherwise tough to find. If your date played any sports in high school or college and didn’t sit on the bench the entire season, you can often find at least one article online from the local newspaper or the school roster list. I’ve actually been able to find a guy’s full name only knowing his first name, hometown and that he played lacrosse! Just call me Jessica Fletcher.
Make sure to keep track of all the info you gather (make notes if you have to!) You’ll need it all when it’s stalkin’ time.
Know What NOT to Ask — Aka Don’t Be Obvious
The last thing you ever want to do is to come off as intrusive, so you’ll want to stay away from asking questions that are too personal. Remember, you’re trying to get info on them, but you’re not the IRS. Asking their birth date, place of birth, or mother’s maiden name screams stalker alert–and also scammer alert. Plus you don’t even need that kind of heavy information with the Internet at your disposal.
When you do ask those Top Romp-approved questions, don’t act like you’re interviewing or screening them. Keep it light and casual. Make your questions sound completely genuine and spontaneous.
Know Where to Look
Thankfully, with iPads and iPhones at our disposal, we’ve got all the stalking tools we need wherever we go. However, you’ll need to know the best places to look once you’ve gathered all of your info.
Since you don’t know their full name yet, Google is going to be your very best friend. This is also where you’ll have to be a bit artful in how you use the various details. Always use their first name, and using commas include one or two of the other details in the search field. Adding too many keywords can actually hinder your search process. So try different combinations.
Some examples of Effective Google Stalking Searches (EGSS)
Brian, VP Marketing, Arizona State, NYC
Brian, Buckley School, NYC
Brian, lacrosse, VP marketing, NYC
These search results will bring up additional clues. And you may find certain tidbits along the way that will help you further refine your search.
If a general Google search doesn’t bring up their full name or Facebook page, LinkedIn is always a great option. Why? Nowadays, pretty much everyone’s on it. And so is their personal information. You don’t need to know their specific company; simply knowing their first name and their general industry is oftentimes all you need. If you do use LinkedIn in your search process, please please please make sure your privacy settings for profile browsing are set to “Invisible”, or you can always use the “incognito mode” within your browser. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t do this, he’ll get alerts–even EMAILS, that you were visiting their profile. And this doesn’t bode well when you’ve only had a couple conversations.
Facebook (FB) can be tricky if you don’t yet know someone’s full name, since there are so many of the same names in the database. But a FB hack you probably DON’T know about is it’s reverse phone number feature. Once they give you their phone number, just type that into FB search and their profile will come up (if they’ve listed their phone number in their profile). If this proves to be successful and you end up scrolling through their profile pics, please for the love of God make sure you don’t accidentally “like” one of their photos or add them as a friend. It just takes one wrong click to make a bad first impression.
And don’t forget about beloved Instagram (IG). It’s a great tool for stalking. Some people list their IG name right in their profile. But if you’ve already found out their full name, try searching it on Instagram. Most people can be found using just their name. And the gram can be a great way to see what kind of friends they have, where they’ve traveled, and most importantly what their exes look like.
Congrats! You Angela Lansbury’d your way through your date’s past, and you know more about them than they do! Now your most important job is to forget everything you’ve learned and play completely dumb. You already found out they’re a decent and safe person with good credentials and a great family. And it may feel strange to essentially ask them what you already know, but you’ll have to get used to that if you plan to stalk on the reg.
And when they tell you all this golden information that you’ve already found out yourself, make sure you have these handy responses ready:
“Get out of town!”
“You don’t SAY!”
“Oh! You’re a jet fighter who saves orphans? How surprising!”
“I had no IDEA you grew up in the largest mansion in Connecticut and have a trust fund the size of Texas!”
I hope this little lesson has been helpful. The most important thing I’d like to instill in my readers is to take the shame out of stalking. We’ve all done it, and if you haven’t you should. Remember, our time may be limited but our resources are limitless. You just have to know where to look.