THAT GUY YOU met last week asked you out and you’re feeling fly. The thing is, you only have a first name and a string of digits. Using your sleuthing skills, it takes you .2 seconds to find him on Instagram. You keep digging and find yourself on his ex’s Twitter, screenshotting the recent tweets he Liked, and wondering if he’s still into her. Soon, you’re on to his Aunt Judy’s Facebook album from some long-ago Christmas. Is that him gnawing on a turkey leg like an extra at Medieval Times???
This is backstalking: When you dive so deep into someone’s social accounts, it requires an extra oxygen tank. The intent sounds innocent enough—you want to get a sense of a new guy. Problem is, playing detective to such an extreme can doom a relationship before it starts. Here’s why you should curb the urge.
What’s Your Motive?
You’re curious about him. You can’t remember exactly what he looks like. All legit reasons we look to a guy’s digital footprint. “We seek information to feel more comfortable about a new person,” says Stephanie Tong, PhD, assistant professor of communication at Wayne State University. So there are benefits to looking through his feed. That’s how Taylor, 21, avoided a total d-bag. “I backstalked this guy, Will, who was flirting with me, and discovered on another girl’s page that she was ‘In a Relation