Due Diligence or Cyber Stalking? (Sneak peek at my next column!!)

I’m a firm believer in due diligence. Having as much knowledge on any given subject can only be helpful, right? I mean, I think it was the television network ABC that did the “Knowledge is Power” ad campaign… I’m sure we all remember “The More You Know”?

For example, if I’m about to meet someone who could possibly be a new business aquaintenance, or if I’m researching a new restaurant or retail store, I like to “Google” them. That’s right, I Google. I Google all day long, it is after all, a search engine! With that being said I feel it’s safe to admit, that yes, I have Googled myself on more than one occasion. Don’t judge me. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

Even Wikipedia defines research as “the search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, with an open mind, to establish novel facts…” Search for knowledge, or in my case, a quest.

Apparently, even though I think it’s wise to use Google as a research tool, I have a few friends that think I abuse the Google tactic when it comes to meeting someone I may possibly date for the long-term. I stand firm in my belief that all I’m doing is “due diligence”.  If I felt I could do a background check or a DNA swab on a potential boyfriend, AND get away with it, we all know I would.

Now, by due diligence, I don’t mean I find your Facebook page or, heaven forbid your MySpace page, LinkedIn, Twitter or whatever it is you use for social networking and then proceed to learn all I can about you so we appear to have more in common than we really do. Please, that’s child’s play honey. No, I’m looking for something along the lines of you being arrested for bank robbery or fraud against the elderly. Or in the case of one lucky man, the article where he expressed his opinion on aliens in outer space and how he “might have seen one hovering above the mountain” near his home here in LA.

When I forwarded this particular article to one of my best friends, she promptly – and sweetly – told me to stop cyber-stalking. “What?!?” was my innocent reply. “Cyber-stalking? Hardly, I’m making sure I don’t go share a meal with a kook or a rapist. Hell, I could be in a getaway car and not even know it!”. That’s when I realized that yes, this type of behavior can appear to border on insanity, but think about it: I knew enough at that point for me to know I didn’t want to even tread out of my house to go on another date with this person.

Is it fair? Probably not.  I do try to make sure I never judge a book by its cover and I try to see the whole picture. I really do, it’s just that sometimes, especially after years of experience in the dating world, you smell the red flag coming before it ever really starts to fly. Maybe it’s the freak flag that I smell more so than the red flag, but either way, listening to your gut instinct is important, too.

No matter what the scenario, when you meet someone and begin the first dates as part of the “ritual”, we are all taking a chance. The chance that this person will be good to you, will have your best interests at heart (at least for the night) or that they won’t cut you up into a million little pieces and bury you in the desert (or throw you in the Chesapeake). We trust that that they are honest and we trust ourselves that we chose correctly in our decision of who we wish to share a meal with or have as our escort for the evening.

Some people call my “way” annoying and immature, others have obviously accused me of cyber-stalking, even though I can argue based on the social platform of Four Square (Really? Who’s stalking who now?).

Personally, I call it brilliance.


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