How Do You Know You’re Not Dating a Fake?

Name: Stefanie | Location: Chicago , IL |Question: What are the rules these days about meeting people online facebooksafely in terms of checking someone out?

I had an interesting dilemma. After many years of online dating- I finally hit the point where a few of the guys I met turned out to be married. So, this next time when I went out with a new guy “Jake”- I realized after a good first date, that I did not have his last name, business card, place he worked at, etc. Bottom line, I had no idea who he was. So, for the next date, (which was in public) he again didn’t volunteer much personal information. By the time we got to the third date he wanted me to come to his place for dinner. I of course, was not interested because I barely knew this guy, and for once we hadn’t ever played “six degrees of separation” and found someone in common.

So, I tell him I am not comfortable in having dinner at his place and ask to go out. He offers to pick me up at my place (which I live in a doorman building) and to go out for dinner. When we get to dinner I bring up to him that although I like him, I really don’t know him and offer my business card. In turn, he tells me he doesn’t carry his and doesn’t seem to understand why I would need to “question” or prove someone’s identity because “he’s a nice guy” (this guy by the way, is divorced and newer online dating). I do believe this guy is telling the truth, but once burned I realize I need to be more careful. Apparently, this guy didn’t seem to get my side of the coin as he immediately went to saying that he could have the same concerns I have.

So, what’s the best way to handle being in these situations without seeming like a private detective when you are dealing with someone who clearly doesn’t understand the safety (most guys don’t worry about being raped) and the idea that some people are hiding who they are (because of wives, etc.)

Any ideas of what to do and not seem paranoid? |Age: 36

I am not a fan of the whole Googling/Facebook Checking/Background Check thing. In fact, I think it’s just something people do to take some false sense of control. I also think it’s one of the many digital ways we have completely demolished the foundation of any relationship – intimacy.  I’m a big believer in non-verbal cues and vibes. I trust my instincts implicitly. If something doesn’t feel right I simply disengage.

I guess what is alarming to me is how we’ve seemed to stray from simply listening to our gut and practicing common sense.

My friend M. went to a bar one night. He met a woman who worked, in some capacity, at a law firm. She admitted that she used her company resources to check the backgrounds of men she met online. You know, just to be sure. And then she went home with my friend and had sex with him. A stranger she met in a bar. But yet she uses work resources to go through people’s private info. Let’s just call that what it is – a violation of privacy. You want to look at someone’s Facebook page? Eh, it’s public domain. But to run a background check? Sorry, it’s just a huge violation of trust. Clearly she wasn’t terribly afraid for her physical safety since she went home with my friend that night. She wanted to be sure the guy wasn’t in debt. Guess what? Half the country is seriously in debt. The idea that you’re going to meet someone who is 100% financially stable is completely unrealistic.

Here’s another story:

A girlfriend went out with a man a few months ago who has a spotless background. He had several drinks. They went home, had sex and the next morning he didn’t remember anything from the night before. He didn’t know what she was doing in her bed. He threw her clothes in to the hall way and kicked her out.

No amount of recon work could have predicted this situation. Some people are unhealthy. That’s why you have to be as aware as possible. Too many drinks? Don’t go home with them.

Unless you have some psychic powers or some extra-ordinary ability to tell if someone is lying how can you possibly almost always know for a fact when someone is lying to you or bsing you immediately.??? – Bree

I pay attention. It’s that simple. I tune out all the noise and chatter and advice from friends and I simply pay attention, watch and listen. Unless they are a true sociopath, there’s always a tell. People with the wrong intentions ALWAYS screw up eventually. Ask the right questions, and you’ll get all the answers you need based on their response. You learn more about what someone doesn’t say than what they do say. I also do what I can to surround myself with good, honest, well intentioned, emotionally healthy people. That way, when someone strays from what we’ll call a “baseline” you’ll know.

The last point there is key. If you do what you can to maintain a healthy and strong support system comprised of people you trust, you’re more likely to be able to spot the people who are up to no good. Strictly because something that strays from the norm – a comment, a gesture, a tone- will make you think twice.  If one of my triggers goes off, I ask questions. If the answers don’t jive with my internal lie detector, I abort. Did they contradict themselves? Did they seem nervous when I asked basic questions? Did they avoid certain questions all together? Did they say too much? Those are the things I look for.

As far as determining whether they are married or not, here’s yet another story:

Years ago, I met a man in a bar. We exchanged numbers. We set up a lunch date. I offered to meet him at his office building in the lobby. He, rather hurriedly, said he’d rather meet on the corner of the block. Ding! We meet up and sit down at the restaurant. His left hand is resting on his lap. He doesn’t bring it to the table. (He wasn’t wearing it the night we met. He said it interfered with his pool playing.)  I look him in the eye and say, “Are you married?” Sure enough, he was.  And!! Later that day,as I was reading the paper, I checked my horoscope  and it read “An attractive new friend is married.” I shit you not.

I’m telling you…in many if not most cases, we know something is off. We know it. I wish I could offer something tangible, but I can’t. Truth is, there are a lot of posers on online. People looking for something other than love. Meet enough of them and you’ll build up a baseline to help spot those people, too.

All of my male and female friends have said that if a woman ever admitted to running a background check on them, they’d dump them in a heart beat. Nine times out of ten, you’re going to find something that trips a wire. You’re left with either having to admit what you did, or dismissing  a man or woman before they ever have a chance to explain.

You could meet a man or woman with a clean record and digitial footprint and they could be a creep. Or married. Or in debt. That’s the risk we take when we date, not just date online. This is the main reason why I’m trying to encourage people to stop looking for relationships on these dating sites and start meeting people through friends, work, etc.

To me, a word of mouth recommendation means 100 times more than a Google search.

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91 Responses to “How Do You Know You’re Not Dating a Fake?”

  1. Jason Says:

    I don’t think there is one good answer. Its a combo.

    I would not do a full background check on someone, but I do internet searches. I’m a dating coach and the other day, I was helping a client with his online profile and messages. One of his respondents turned out to be male….I even found a picture for the client. LOL. Somene gives you an email, type it into google and facebook. A google search was showed very negative (lets say irate) public messages from someone, so I didn’t meet her. A completely clean google search can be a red flag too…how can the person have no trail?

    If you do the following naturally, great, but some people need thsi spelled out:

    One should be seeing if the person’s actions and body language are consistent with what they are saying. You said as much above. Go with your gut…unless you have a history of having bad instincts.

    One can even learn a few body language tricks to spot deception.

    If someone is too secretive, that is a red flag as well. Or, too paranoid.

    meeting people through friends is great, but yeah, I’ve heard horror stories, and you can only meet people who are already in the network.


  2. Vox Says:

    Any ideas of what to do and not seem paranoid?

    Yes: dump this guy. On your third date, you made it known that you needed to learn more about him in order to get comfortable with the two of you being together privately. (What you want to know – full name, place of employment etc isn’t unreasonable.) By refusing you, he is saying that he does not value your comfort in the slightest. Why would you want to date a man who cares so little about how you feel?

    • dimplz Says:

      Just to add to this, someone who says you’re “questioning” him on the 3rd date? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Ask questions and listen? He sure got touchy for a “nice” guy.

    • breebree Says:

      To comment on the very last part of your statement about encouraging people not to meet folks online I just want to say this.
      There is no set “criteria” for crazy people who are nutty as fruitcakes or folks who are liars and cheaters and azzholes.
      IMO Everyone is a stranger until you know them for a considerable amount of time.
      Story of mine referring to that type of thing…I met a guy through a lady I worked with and for. She and I became pretty close. Because her daughter was bad as hell and rebellious and I was still in college but working the summer and was responsible with my money and had my career set and just wasn’t always doin bad illegal stuff and hangin around bad people like her daughter she and I clicked immediately.
      We worked together for several months. She told me about a guy she knew who she thought would be perfect for me. I was single and she always said “your too pretty and too good of a woman to be single”
      So she wanted to “hook me up” She said the guy used to work with them like me and she knew his family and all and they were neighbors and all that.
      Well when I met the guy and talked to him it turned out he was living with his sons mother and though I respect him for being honest and telling me this fairly soon, (though I think the only reason why he even told me the truth was because he knew Crystal and I worked together and that we talked everyday and didn’t want to look bad)
      At any rate, he still did try to sleep with me and tried to make light of the situation but the fact of the matter was he had an infant son with a woman and was living with her.
      Crystal never mentioned this to me because obviously she had no idea. She said the last time she talked to him which was a few months prior to giving me his number and him mine he told her he left this girl alone because she was too jealous and controlling or whatever. He told her he wanted to find a good woman he could get along with and not have any drama. She didn’t know he had a child or anything so needless to say she was shocked.
      So suffice it to say, the fact that I met him thru Crystal didn’t mean a damn thing…
      Just like folks think “church people” are sooo good….and they are some of the worst ones.
      In college my girlfriend was cool with the preachers son…he was engaged and every time he saw my friend he damn near raped her……he was such a pompous little azzhole.
      Moxie I don’t know where your from or where u live……but unfortunately most of my life I’ve known people who are “wolves in sheeps clothing”
      I went to catholic school and I’ll never forget the girl named Jessica who befriended the whole class in the 6th grade and told us her mom was an alcoholic and her dad left her mom for another woman and her grandmom was sickly and that she had nobody…she told us she was drinking and told us her mom used drugs and all this stuff. She led us to believe she was an alcoholic because of her mom. When we started to tell teachers and called AA ourselves to try to get this girl help because she appeared so believable and we felt so bad for her thats when she told us the truth…..and this was in 6th grade in catholic school..true story.
      So again there is no real rhyme or reason as to finding good people in certain places vs other places where folks are bad.
      Regular folks are on online dating sites ….my co-worker met her now husband on
      I’ve met great men who are still my friends to this day on match and E-harmony and datehookup and other online sites.
      My ex-boyfriend met a girl who became his best female friend online and I’ve met friends online too…it’s simply a new way to meet people to me.
      Cause those same folks u meet on the street typically have computers that they get on and who knows what kind of sites they are on.

  3. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “Any ideas of what to do and not seem paranoid?”

    Ha, the question itself reveals paranoia. Do I “seem” paranoid? Who cares whether you seem paranoid. You ARE paranoid.

    I think there is way too much emphasis placed here on trusting one’s gut and not enough on drawing conclusions from concrete evidence. In my uneducated opinion, the internet is populated by people seriously suffering from paranoid personality disorders. The “baseline” for acceptable behavior is skewed way out of the range of normalcy. In my opinion.

    Most people are not dangerous. The reason the Craigslist Killers make national news is because they are rare. Rapists? Rare. Serial Killers. So rare. Fatal or seroious STD’s? Sorry. But. rare. Even the liars and players aren’t doing anyone much real harm. Just a few tears over some Cosmos. Small in the grand scheme of things. The point is that everyone is vastly overestimating their risks. And, that’s fine if you’re happy with results like anything else. But, I would take a different approach.

    As someone said on the previous post, I think Moxie and others overestimate their ability to read people. That “sense’ that you get when you first meet someone and something is “off?” That’s called prejudice – not instinct. You’re not making accurate calls. You’re spinning wheels trying to figure people out based on pre-existing misconsceptions. And, you’re never proven wrong because you’re dismissing people (or they’re dismissing you) before you give them a chance to disprove your prejudices. People react differently to different stimuli. One person’s appearnce of “aggression” or “lack of interest” is another person ‘s “panic.” and “anxiety.” You can’t read minds. Sure, there are some common human traits but it’s not like TV where you can translate body language literally into communcative words in any given situation. You need to accomodate a wide range of responses.

    So, my opinion and it’s probably obvious: The only effective way to determine someone’s character is to get to know them over a long period of TIME. This takes effort and risk. It’s not a quick fix. As much as you want to, in real life, you can’t fast forward through the commericals to get to the happy ending.

    • C Says:

      Thank you and AMEN!

    • Ellie Says:

      One in three women will be raped in her lifetime. I’d say that makes rapists pretty much the opposite of rare. What is rare is a rapist actually being reported, and even more rare, convicted.

      • WO7 Says:

        Most rapes occur in either the victim’s or perpetrator’s home. Most rapes are perpetrated by someone the woman already knows.

        Thus, it is rare, for a woman to go on a date with a guy she met online and get raped.

        I think the point DMN was trying to make, is this sense that people from the internet are any more dangerous then people you meet in any other manner, is simply not true. The idea that you have to do all this crazy background checking, is a ridiculous fear fanned by media exageration.

    • separatedguy Says:

      OK, but rare happens. I live in a tiny (and I mean really tiny) upscale suburb known for safety and great schools. Two days ago a recently graduated senior was found dead. She is believed to have been killed by her classmate and ex-boyfriend.

      There is plenty to be scared about from rare events. Some can be avoided, some can’t. Focus on those that can be controlled through normal, realistic means and live with the other risks.

      As far as OPs situation goes, whether or not this person is dangerous, he certainly seems to lack empathy. Kinda important in my book.

    • breebree Says:

      “The only effective way to determine someone’s character is to get to know them over a long period of TIME. This takes effort and risk. It’s not a quick fix. As much as you want to, in real life, you can’t fast forward through the commericals to get to the happy ending.”
      DMN I agree 100%……thats my point exactly…..
      If your constantly making snap judgements and decisions off of your feelings about a person right off the bat what does that say about you??
      And what if people did that to you? And because of what u said or did for 1 day people prejudged you and said you were crazy or not right….????
      Everyone has bad days or off days…just like in sports…never does any athlete have a perfect game every single game….look at Jordon and lately Lebron James….thats life.
      If we judged Lebron James off of how he played this year in the playoffs I doubt he would be so revered and have all the money and endorsements he has.
      Look at Tiger Woods….a man everyone loved and respected and he turned out to be a liar and cheater….does that mean he is the worst person in the world??? No….. just means he is HUMAN….like any other man…and like most every man on Gods green earth beautiful women are his weakness.
      Plus he said himself Because of who he was and who society and the public made him to be he felt “entitled” to cheat and do whatever he wanted.
      Moxie you may not realize just how backwords people’s thinking is nowadays…which is why sooooo many people have soooooo many issues, yet can’t for the life of them figure out why…………?????

      • Dimplz Says:

        Not to be rude, but maybe you need your own blog where you can share your tangential stories.

  4. Joe Says:

    DMN is right that it take a long time to learn someone’s character BUT if you don’t know where someone works or their last name by the end of the second date, RUN. This is NOT normal behavior by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t matter why.

    Don’t get me wrong, some people like me are very guarded. We’re not going to get deep in the first few dates. But hiding your last name and employment is abnormal.

    (Likewise, if by the end of the first date, you know everything about the other person, especially detailed information about past failed relationships, also run.)

  5. AP Says:

    I’m curious on what some of the right questions to ask may be? On the one hand, you want to make for pleasant conversation to keep the dates enjoyable…and on the other, you want to get your answers to determine there’s nothing amiss. Not an easy combo. I’ve unfortunately been one of the recent victims mentioned in the scenarios here, and I had always thought I had good intuition, but dating enough in NYC over time proved that wrong. There are all kinds out there!

    • dimplz Says:

      I think if you live in an area where you need a car to get around, I’d always meet the person at a place and leave after them. During the date, I’d let them do the talking. See what the subject matter gravitates to, and when you find an opening, find out at least where they work, what kind of industry, at least. Most people tell you who they are, at least I’ve found, and it’s best to stop ourselves from dismissing those statements they make about themselves because you’re busy worrying about who’s going to pay or if he’s going to kiss you at the end of the night.

      • breebree Says:

        the other side to this is that the reality is a person can tell you anything….don’t think things are “in the clear” just because a person divulges their life story to you……everything they tell you could be a bold face lie and you have no way of knowing it (short of background checking them) until you spend a considerable amnt of time with them (as DMN stated) and learn that person over time and talk to their friends and family and hopefully they will give you some truthful insight into who that person really is…but sometimes that isn’t even the case….sometimes the persons family and friends know about as much as you do or will just not say anything because they don’t feel like it’s their business….u never really know 100%.

      • breebree Says:

        I will also say this….more than trusting your instincts I believe u should trust in God or whatever higher power you subscribe to.
        My trust in God has kept me through it all and hasn’t failed me yet.
        The bible says “lean not unto your own understanding” As an imperfect person I know sometimes I misjudge or misconstrew things and mess up. So I put my trust in God and I always know everything I need to in due time.

  6. Dimplz Says:

    I would always tell at least one person where I was going, the persons name and/or occupation when I was going out with a stranger. Better safe than sorry. People can disagree with this or not, I frankly couldn’t care less. Let me be paranoid. I think it’s a better alternative than being in the trunk of his car. I don’t see anything wrong with letting our past inform our actions. It’s when they dictate them that you become more closed off.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      A friend knowing the person’s name doesn’t prevent you from ending up in the trunk of his car; it just means that, if he told the truth, there’s a marginally higher chance the cops will catch him. I don’t see how that helps you when you’re lying dead in a ditch somewhere, but if it makes you feel better, go for it.

      • dimplz Says:

        Wow, thanks for clearing that up! If you weren’t around, I really don’t know how I would come to logical conclusions otherwise! Yes, the point is that if people know where you are, at least there’s a chance they can find you if you go missing. Clearly, I’m intelligent enough to know that name dropping won’t save my life.

        • Crotch Rocket Says:

          I don’t understand why you think that helps. Whether he gets caught or not, you’re still dead. Rather than focusing on getting a name (which might be fake) and passing it to a friend in case you’re killed, how about you focus all that energy on not going out with guys that might kill you? Then you don’t have to worry about people knowing your date’s (claimed) last name or where (he claims) he works.

          • Dimplz Says:

            Don’t worry about me. I’m not going out with a stranger at the moment :)

            • bree Says:

              Dimplz and Crotch Rocket everyone is a stranger until you know them for a good while.
              A family member can be a stranger to you if you know nothing about them…..
              And Crotch Rocket how the hell are u supposed to know whether someone is a killer or not just by how they look if they look regular and perfectly normal???
              Killers, rapers, and crazy azz people and people with STD’s and AIDS don’t come with any warning signs most times.
              People kill their kids and parents nowadays in this world we live in….people need to stop being naive and looking for certain things to alert them to what a person is or isn’t.
              Cause many times while your looking at a person who “appears” not right the so called “normal” person has the knife in their hand or is the dangerous one.
              This is how people you know and are familiar with can so easily hurt you and/or take advantage of you because they have the advantage of your trust simply because you feel u know them so well.

  7. Paula Says:

    It’s hard for me, growing up in a rural area where everyone knew everyone. I tend to be fairly trusting. I haven’t gotten seriously burned yet (knocking on wood as I type this), and *think* I have pretty decent intuition. While I agree with DMN that there is no real shortcut to getting to know somebody, and that sometimes prejudice substitutes for intuition, I also think that it’s OK to listen to your intuition. If someone raises your hackles and is not open enough for you, that’s good enough — there are more men out there.

    Case in point — I was chatting online with someone who talked about his eyes being one of his best features. Yet his only photo showed him wearing sunglasses. Even after we chatted for a while, I didn’t feel like I was getting to know him — he seemed pretty closed off. We met for a date, and sure enough, he was still married (but hadn’t disclosed that on his profile). He was closed off and obscuring his features for a reason.

    Basically, you want someone moving at the same pace as you: if you’re disclosing a similar amount of information comfortably, you’re probably getting to know each other. But if one is withholding or oversharing, causing alarm bells to go off with the other person, then it’s more likely that there’s a problem.

  8. Really? Says:

    i have a magic jack number and anonymous email strictly for dating. I recently didn’t follow my own advice and am now dealing with a guy who is harassing me via phone and changing my cell phone number is not an option because of the type of work I do.

    have your spidey senses on high alert, meet publicly and have common sense.. if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not worth your safety…..

  9. trouble Says:

    Ha, the question itself reveals paranoia. Do I “seem” paranoid? Who cares whether you seem paranoid. You ARE paranoid.

    As my former lieutenant used to tell me all the time, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who are out to get you.”

    A healthy degree of self-protection (paranoia is a negative version of this) is both normal and justified, particularly when we are meeting people that we don’t know well. I shudder when I think about women going to a man’s apartment that they don’t even know, on a first meeting or a second meeting, or even a third meeting, and putting themselves in an extremely vulnerable situation. In my opinion, we focus on things wrong (as women). We’re so worried about making a man like us, feeling chemistry, etc., that we forget about our own safety and security. I would never go to a man’s house/apartment until I knew exactly who he was (first name/last name), where he worked, where he lived, what he did for a living, and truthfully, checked him out. And, I certainly wouldn’t have him in my house, either, in that same timeframe. Furthermore, drinking too much early on? Makes you really vulnerable, ladies.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve worked with victims of violent/sex crimes, but modern women don’t really have much of a sense of self-protection, and they don’t think as much as they should about their personal safety. How do you know that guy doesn’t mean you harm when you barely know him?

    I would suggest, personally, that a good first date is brief (hour or less), in a public location, does not involve alcohol (which dulls the senses and makes you vulnerable), and is inexpensive. You need to use that first date to PAY ATTENTION, as Moxie advised. I mean, REALLY pay attention, don’t just get your love goggles on and get all gooey and stupid.

    Look at how that person treats servers, wait staff, counter people, because we see insights into people’s character when they are dealing with peopel they aren’t trying to impress. If the person is evasive, doesn’t share information about their life/work/name, that’s a red flag. Instead of trying to invent reasons why this person should be trusted, pay attention, and walk away.

    So, my opinion and it’s probably obvious: The only effective way to determine someone’s character is to get to know them over a long period of TIME. This takes effort and risk. It’s not a quick fix. As much as you want to, in real life, you can’t fast forward through the commericals to get to the happy ending.

    This is exactly right. The psychotics, the narcissists, even the players—they’re all good at saying the right things. The only way that you will ever know who people are is by paying attention—over a significant amount of time. This is exactly why some of the worst, most unhealthy guys overwhelm us with romanticism and attention initially. They want to take a woman’s eye off the ball, and woo her fast, before she figures out the game. So, to me, one of the biggest tip offs is a guy who is too smooth, too sweet, too quick to say all the right things, too romantic early on. Normal guys don’t act like that. Normal guys are occasionally socially awkward, they don’t send flowers, they don’t write love poetry, they don’t set up grand seduction scenes. If a guy’s doing those things, run. He’s smoke and mirrors, and he’s gaming you.

  10. BR Says:

    I realized after a good first date, that I did not have his last name, business card, place he worked at, etc.

    If the woman who wrote this letter was concerned for her safety, then why would she let this man pick her up at her home and give him her home address?

    I understand why a woman would be concerned for her safety. There are some crazy people out there. However women need to understand that there are some crazy women out there, too. I wouldn’t give out my business card or place of business to a woman I’d met online and only been out with once or twice. Nor would I give her my last name until I’ve met her.

    I’ve never asked a woman for her last name until the end of the first date at the earliest.

    • dimplz Says:

      This wasn’t a 1st date, it was the 3rd.

    • dimplz Says:

      After 3 dates, this guy is fine with having her over, but not with her knowing his last name or having his business card? Red flag.

      • trouble Says:

        Either he’s hiding something or he thinks she’s crazy but he wants to bang her. Either way, it seems like a no-win for her.

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        If the guy is going to give her his home address, it’s highly unlikely he’s hiding something.If he’s willing to show up at her building and let her doorman see him, that too is a sign he’s probably not up to no good. I have to agree with BR. This wasn’t an issue of safety. She was concerned about whether or not this guy was married, not a criminal.

        Depending on what email address you use and how you sign up for the address, if you use your real full name, your full name shows up in the From field on emails. Especially on iPhones, Droids, etc.

        She had his phone number, his address, he was willing to be seen by people in her life. Maybe I;m too trusting, but those are some decent indicators he’s not hiding anything.

        • dimplz Says:

          Ok, maybe you’re right, but just because a person is willing to be seen and known by many doesn’t mean they don’t have bad intentions. Scott Peterson came to mind when you said that, only because he was already married, and someone who didn’t know that set him up with Amber Frey.

          Hey, maybe I watch too much Forensic Files, but I lived in a building where people were murdered, raped and assaulted. I can’t erase that from my memory, and I don’t think that it’s too much to ask someone who’s inviting you over what they do. He might not be a serial killer or rapist, but he seems to me to be someone who’s clearly not open to dating. His evasiveness reveals that much.

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            But what you’re assuming is evasiveness might not be evasiveness at all. Had she asked him the right questions when they met, and not waited until the 3rd date, he probably would have answered them. She basically put a spotlight on him and let him know that she didn’t trust him. That’s probably why he didn’t answer her. That’s not being evasive. That’s a guy now concerned he’s dating someone with trust issues, which makes MOST men bail.

            As far as the business card exchange…why would anybody – male or female – give out their work address to someone they just met? I don’t know, I don’t know any woman who has ever asked for a business card. It seems ridiculously formal .

            • dimplz Says:

              I don’t have business cards. I think it was her awkward way of trying to get more information out of him and it wasn’t smooth. I think she should have established this before the first date. At least, what do you do? In fact, I think it’s strange that it’s not on his profile, if not the field?

              Different strokes and all, but I’d want a guy to be able to tell me more about himself before the 3rd date. Maybe she talked too much, who knows?

            • chuckrock Says:

              It is formal, but I do it partly out of habit of giving everyone my card and partly because I know that by the end of meeting me, most people come away with a good impression of me – even if I am not someone they can see themselves dating….I could have just picked up a future client.

              Having my own practice makes me network everywhere. It is rare that I don’t have a pocket of cards looking to give them to new people. My cards only have a po box on it, so it doesn’t lead them to an office…but it does give them my website, email, and cell (though they normally would have had that by then).

              It maybe a bit much, but I make it into a joke. If we ate something and I pay on my debit card I’ll tell them I will be writing it off of my taxes since they are a potential client and then give them my card. I think it makes them feel more comfortable with me.

              • Paula Says:

                I’m a lawyer too and I give out my cards. If I know the guy does something professional where he’s likely to have cards, I try to do an exchange. Even if it’s not a romantic connection, it might be a good business connection in the future. And if he’s hesitant about it, it does make me a little nervous, if I’m willing to offer my info but he won’t reciprocate.

                Funny anecdote about my ex-husband…when I met him at a club, I didn’t have a pen or paper on which to write my personal phone number, so I gave him my card. When he got home, he realized I was a lawyer, and was talking to his dad (who was a lawyer, now retired) about meeting me. Dad told him to run! (My ex’s father, uncle, brother, sister, and two brothers-in-law are all lawyers, so they didn’t really need any more in the family, but they had me, for several years at least, and my income mostly supporting their son…)

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        She could have simply asked him, by date 1, what his last name was.I bet he would have answered her, too. It wasn’t the questions she asked, it was how she framed them.

        When you put it to someone that you don’t trust them, which she was, it’s natural for the other person to shut down.

        • dimplz Says:

          You’re not supposed to trust a stranger. They are supposed to earn your trust, just as you are supposed to earn theirs.

          • nathan Says:

            I think there has to be some balance in all of this. If you come in expecting the worst all the time, it’s going to be hard to actually meet someone because everything could be a sign of something sinister. However, if you’re too trusting, you’ll get suckered by those who are actually trying to hide something.

            Oh, and those of you basing your views on crime shows and high profile murder/rape cases, really ought to rethink your strategy.

            • dimplz Says:

              Nathan, I watch a lot of crime shows, but my experience is based on what I have witnessed with my own eyes. There is a degree of trust in that you show up, you divulge some information (but not all) and you don’t put yourself in a situation where you will be isolated. When I lived in NY, it was through the 70s and 80s, and it wasn’t until the late 90s when NY became a safer city. I never went anywhere alone in the early AM hours nor did I go home at that time alone. I’ve been followed, my sister was almost abducted, my neighbor was almost raped, my mother robbed a few times and my cousin was stabbed for a gold chain when she was 16. There’s been a lot of violence in the city, and you really don’t need to turn on a TV to see it.

              • nathan Says:

                I also live in a fairly large city. No doubt there’s crime and even as a man, I have had some trouble over the years. And yes, I don’t go on first dates and tell my date – a stranger usually – everything about me. I also always do first dates in public, and don’t invite someone to my place until at least after the second date.

                My point was balance. If you’re in fear of and totally suspicious of everyone you go out with, odds are really against finding anyone. When people are talking about serial killers in relation to first dates – there’s something off. Serial killers are really, really rare. Concerns about rape make sense to me, because that does happen more often than we’d like to think it does. But talk of serial killers is flat out paranoia.

        • Joe Says:

          This is nonsense; someone who doesn’t reveal their last name or where they work by the second date is dysfunctional and it doesn’t matter why.

      • bree Says:

        not knowing basic info like a name and where they work or whatever sounds to me like the person is married or in a relationship and living with someone.

  11. Leela Says:

    Stefanie –
    I just had a very similar conversation with my sister. I was shocked that a guy would suggest the second date being at one of our apartments when I barely know him (not shocked that a guy tries to get intimate quickly – don’t misunderstand). I was going through those same thoughts. How do you express that that does not feel safe while still coming off as easy, trusting and fun?

    I haven’t read Moxie yet – but I think you just need to be as honest and calm about it as possible. If the guy doesn’t understand than he does not really have the ability to place himself in someone else’s shoes and you do not want to be with someone like that anyway.

    As I said to my sister – they should be thinking about what they would want their daughter’s (real or imaginary) to do and say. And then they could react accordingly.

    • Stef Says:

      Hi guys, I am the Stefanie in the post and I’ll give you the update:

      I met “Jake” on the Internet- our first date as I said went well. I don’t have major suspicions about this guy- nor do I still. It was the way he handled NOT thinking about safety, giving out information and even for him asking information about me. I wanted to hear what others thought and how they would react in the situation,

      He called me and scheduled a second date. He and I only live about 15 minutes by public transportation. We both live in Chicago and he actually works probably about 15 minutes from where I live. In Chicago there have been A LOT of robberies on the El (the train) even at earlier hours. I have been now switching to the buses and being a LOT more cautious about where I am at night.

      When Jake scheduled the second date, he wanted me to take the train to come to a restaurant around the corner on a Friday night. Obviously, I felt more comfortable if he could pick a place closer to me- which he did. I brought up my concerns about taking public transportation by myself late at night- and he stated “Well I would have of course taken it back with you and walked you home.” Huh? I asked Jake if he had a car, which he didn’t but he didn’t ask if I had one (I do). The date was fine- but again the focus was never on getting to know each other- I felt like more of a therapist. At the end of the date he walked me to my door. (Or in my case doorman). Althought he seemed fine, I realized, he STILL hadn’t told me basics: his last name, where he worked, where he grew up, etc.- nor had he asked me the same.

      So, for the third date Jake wanted me to come over and make me dinner. IOkay, something is not clicking here. I again tell him I am not comfortable coming over and I’d prefer that we go out. This time he picked me up (via his feet guys, not a car or cab) and I did let him come up to meet me before dinner. I was comfortable and like I said, I live in a doorman building and I know my neighbors. The funny thing was- Jake couldn’t get in- he didn’t know my last name- so he called me with his cell phone- to get the doorman to talk to me- when I asked the doorman didn’t call me- he didn’t answer. When we got to dinner I brought out my business card and that’s when Jake still went off on a tangent!

      The rest of the date again was spent on Jake’s therapy session- he complained about his ex wife, his parents, his sisters, his job- I had to ask several times to move the conversation to something positive. When he finally asked me something it was “What are you doing this weekend” and “Tell me about yourself”.

      I don’t think in this case Jake is avoiding telling me things- I think that he is too busy to get it:

      1. We met online, there’s plenty he doesn’t know about me and vise versa. He talks too much to even realize what the heck I was saying.
      2. He lives in the city (he used to live in the suburbs) yes- he loves the public transportation system- but its pretty clear to me from talking to him that he rarely ventures outside of a few blocks- so he’s completely unaware that not all areas are safe at 12:00am- as they are at 6:00pm. And, when you are trying to make a good impression, you probably want to make SOME effort to find a location close to the woman’s place- especially if she’s a WHOLE 15 minutes away.
      3. He was unable to put me (or even his exwife) in anyone else’s shoes. That maybe the first few dates should be in more neutral locations, and talk about more neutral subjects.

      I DO think it’s funny that he was too embarrassed to ask for my last name to get into my building! Then, I STILL had to ask for his at dinner.

      Look, most of the time you play “six degrees of separation” and realize you know someone in common. I do think the guy was harmless, but also clueless. I wanted to hear what people thought if you were in my situation.

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        I realized, he STILL hadn’t told me basics: his last name, where he worked, where he grew up, etc.- nor had he asked me the same.

        But Stef……..You hadn’t given him YOUR last name. I’m failing to understand why the onus was all on him here. It’s like you were setting him up and intentionally waiting for him to ask you for your last name, then we he didn’t you could just go, “See! He’s up to no good!”

        Obviously, I felt more comfortable if he could pick a place closer to me- which he did. I brought up my concerns about taking public transportation by myself late at night- and he stated “Well I would have of course taken it back with you and walked you home.” Huh?

        Okay. So you expressed a concern and he did what you asked. And then he tells you that he would take the train back with you and walk you home. So what are you so bothered about? He probably suggested a place close to him because he’s a suburbs guy and didn’t know the city.

        When he finally asked me something it was “What are you doing this weekend” and “Tell me about yourself”.

        Again, I’m perplexed. Did you not speak up or try and change the topic? I don’t understand how women who seem so assertive end up letting some guy dominate the discussion. Maybe he thought you had nothing to say? He did ask you to tell him about yourself. Did you?

        Sorry, but I think you just kept giving this guy enough rope to hang himself, then was shocked when he hung himself.

        • Stef Says:

          There was no “testing” with this guy. The first date we talked about movies and basic things and glossed over some of the “interview” type questions that was fine.

          The second date I brought up why I asked for the change in location- because I didn’t want this guy to assume that I wouldn’t go in his area. But I also wanted to let him know that I didn’t take public transportation late at night by myself. How would I know that if I went to meet him that he would take the train home and make sure I got there okay? If I knew him better, this of course, would be a non issue.

          On the second date he spent majority of it talking about his ex wife- and we talked about his friends. The thing is I am a TALKER. This guy every time I asked a basic question- you got a 30 minute answer- and then when he would ask you a question, he somehow turned the conversation back to himself.

          The third date wasn’t any different- and SEVERAL times I tried to re-direct the conversation- each time- he somehow brought up some negative aspect of the economy, his parent’s marriage, his sisters’s marriages, his job, you name it. I actually said THREE times “Can we talk about something more positive, I really don’t want to hear about your ex wife.”- Then he would ask “Tell me about yourself”- I would say 5 setences before the conversation switched back to him.

          I think the irony- and FUNNY thing about this whole issue- is not that he is some sort of psycho guy- but that he is SO clueless about spending time just letting things FLOW. He was so busy telling me every negative thing in his life- that he forgot to sit back and just enjoy what should be SOME casual conversation. So much so, that he “forgot” to tell me things that at some point you should talk about- I mean the guy could have asked me my last name to call my doorman- but he couldn’t do that. I think that’s pretty embarrassing that when I asked him why the doorman didn’t call up (and I didn’t do it on purpose I swear!) tht he couldn’t just say “Hey what’s your last name?” But- I could tell you about how many times his ex cheated on him- from our dinner conversation!

          Don’t miss read that I am concerned that I made a mistake. I just haven’t run into a conversation that doens’t usually go into “Where do you work?” “Where did you grow up?” and out here, it’s pretty normal to give out business cards- I go to some many networking events- that’s its second nature. I think this guy was “safe”- I just think he talked SO much that he forgot to talk about the stuff that he should want to know. He also never asked me questions like “Have you ever been engaged, etc.”- and yes I did ask him how long he’d been divorced- which lead him to talk for 30 minutes complaining about his ex. And trust me, if I can’t get a word in edgewise, this guy has a mouth on him.

          I think the doorman part should give a laugh to some today.

          • pistola Says:

            OK. You want to know how others would have handled it. This is how I would have handled it.

            On the first date, I would, after maybe 30 or 40 minutes, stopped the conversation and said something like, “You know, I feel like I’m getting a lot of information about your circumstances but not a lot of getting to know who YOU are. I’m wondering if we can switch tacks and you can tell me some more about YOU. Where do you work? Do you like your job?” And gone from there. How he responded to my request would have determined whether or not there was a second date. If he’d been willing to shift gears, then second date, if not, no second date.

            If the second date happened and I had to do that much redirecting again, I would have said to him, “It seems to me that there are still a lot of issues relating to your ex-wife that you’re still working through and that we’re not quite in the same place. It was nice meeting and getting to know you.”

            There would have been no third date.

      • Dimplz Says:

        I think you are entirely too passive and he’s not ready to date. I probably would gave told him I’m not a therapist, especially on the 1st date. Then again, with all the bellyaching he did, I would already know that if he could talk shit about his ex-wife, he would most certainly do it to me, and there wouldn’t be a 2nd date.

        • Stef Says:

          The first date was fine, really. I enjoyed the conversation it was more light.

          The second date wasn’t as good- but half of it was- so I gave it one more date. I’m usually a talker and it was nice to have someone constantly keep the conversation going- that of course bit me in the ass in the long run.

          The third date was a train wreck, but that’s why there was no 4th date- and he did ask on the 3rd one for a 4th.

          I’m not passive, and worst case I spent an extra Friday night with a guy who just showed me why I won’t mind the “interview questions” next time. It’s definitely a necessary evil.

      • Angeline Says:

        Him: clueless, too recently divorced to be anything but self-involved, not great at conversation (if the OP is such a talker, maybe it was irritating to come across someone who is the same?). A lot of people, not just men, have spent the time getting divorced/breaking up so caught up in their situation, any conversation, even with friends, is going to be a data dump of what’s in their head.

        OP: unwilling or unable to step into or redirect the ‘conversation’ away from the monologue, but criticizing *him* for that.

        He must be really good-looking. Why spend so much mental effort on how to analyze and change this guy? He needs some post-divorce time, and I wouldn’t be up for the therapist role. I wouldn’t have had a second date with him, much less a 3rd.

  12. chuckrock Says:

    I generally agree with Paula. I tend to be trusting, and I have always felt that others should do the same. But taking some easy precautions – especially for the woman- are pretty logical. One reason why I always ask to meet in a pretty well known place, ie. applebees, chili’s, starbucks, or even the brewery that I frequent (which is pretty popular) is because I feel that the woman should have a level of comfort there because it is likely that have been to them before.

    I have had women, who were meeting me for the first time have friends text or call a little while after we were scheduled to meet to check in with them. I always just joke with them that they were being checked in on to be sure i was half way normal and to give themselves an out if they got a bad vibe. I have also had one woman ‘coincidentally’ run into friends who just happen to be eating at the same place. I don’t mind when women do these things. It just shows that they are halfway intelligent and it tends to show that they don’t meet a ton of men from online (at least that is what they tell me).

    As for what questions, that is a tricky one. I agree with the guy from the OP story that he could be having the same concerns about her BUT that doesn’t excuse his behavior or answers (or nonanswers). I feel conversations usually naturally flow to information gathering and you don’t really have to ask too many odd questions. I mean how else do you get to know someone knew without talking about where they’re from, where they went to school, where they work and what they do? The last name is probably the most difficult to get in, and I didn’t learn what it was on the current girl until about the 5th date. She knew mine though because I typically give them my card towards the end of the first date. I do that as a gesture of ‘i really am who i said i was’. I did find it dis-concerning that I didn’t learn her last name for so long but it was really on me because i never asked.

    I would agree that by the end of the second date or so you should have a decent picture of who this person is. Of course anyone who lies a lot will be better at it than the average person and will be more difficult to spot. That is just the chance we take though.

    • Stef Says:

      Thanks for your answer. I think he didn’t get that it wasn’t flowing naturally.And we did meet online- so that said, you shouldn’t expect that everyone is going to “trust” you. Same goes for me- I’m fine on that end as well. But this guy didn’t get it- and got offended when I just told him that I had other instances where people weren’t who they said they are. He then talked about “why he doesn’t carry business cards after hours”.

      Look, I don’t think the guy was a psycho- but let’s say I went to his house for that 3rd date and I got uncomfortable and I was telling this story and they asked who he is what would I say- “No I didn’t know his last name or where he worked”- I think I’d look pretty stupid.

  13. Mike Says:

    If your gut is telling you that a person is being too secretive then dump the person. Your safety is the most important thing. Guys know in that women are abducted, raped, violently attacked and go missing. If a guy has a problem with your being concerned then that is his problem. I am surprised that you even got into the car with him. You should have met him at the restrurant.

  14. pistola Says:

    OP, I’ll admit to being a little genuinely perplexed that basic stuff about the guy didn’t come up during the very first date as part of “get to know you” conversation. People routinely tend to tell you what they do for a living, what part of town they live in, etc. as basic stuff right after you meet them, and that’s not just in dating either–that’s in life. I’m just not quite understanding how you went on two full dates with this guy without any of this information being shared.

    • Stef Says:

      We did talk about some stuff- he told me what he does for a living, but not the company he worked for. He told me where he went to college but not the exact town he grew up. He told me he used to own a house with his ex wife and he now lived in x city. He told me he had two sisters- and his parents were married and his Dad had passed away. I got some information- but no details that are concrete.

      Then we talked about movies and the economy. Second date was spent in the same fashion- basic information- he talked about his exwife- but I never got her name. I actually had to ask for his son’s name. That’s what had me thinking when I went home- how the heck could we have spent a few hours together and I still didn’t know things about him that I should.

  15. kay Says:

    Someone mentioned this already but I have to say it again. Women (and men) go home with people they meet at a bar all the time. In their sometimes, most vulnerable, they either invite a stranger into their home or enter a stranger’s home. This is sometimes done with just knowing the person name. However, when it comes to online dating, when there is at least a trail of who you’re communicating with and how you met them, safety becomes the # 1 concern. Shouldn’t that always be a #1 concern?

    Like others have said, you can know someone and they can turn out to be a serial killer. How many husbands/boyfriends/family members have killed their loved ones? There are some nice guys on line, just as there are creep ones. If a man isn’t comfortable with providing information about himself, maybe that’s not the guy for you.

    I have tried online dating and have met great guys single guy. I’ve also met married guy, who sometimes offered that little but important piece of information; sometimes, they did not.

    My tips for online dating.
    1. Do a google search. You’d be surprise how much information you can find simply by knowing someone’s email address or phone number.
    2. If they use twitter, their tweets say a lot about who they are
    3. Leave a trail. leave a note of who you’re meeting, where and set a check-in time (preferable in the middle of and at the end of the date). I also write a little of the important things I know about them by my computer. If I’m unfortunate enough to become a victim, at least there’s information that can lead to them after the fact
    4. Go with your gut. Other have said it, sometimes, you just have a feeling about someone or something they said.

    Obviously, I don’t follow all of these steps with every first date. Sometimes, the guy offers enough information and I don’t feel the need check him out. Background searches are too private but taking some or all of the above precautions is smart, and should apply to any first date, not just someone you meet online.

  16. Vox Says:

    A warning to those who Google dates – dig enough to verify then stop digging. If you dig too deeply, you may learn something that isn’t any of your business! This just happened to me; I discovered some extremely depressing private family business about a man I was about to date. Of course NOW is the time I really hit off with a guy, so he told me the story when things started getting a little more serious between us. I felt like an asshole as he told me the story I already knew (and I was too embarrassed to fess up that I e-stalked him).

    • breebree Says:

      lol @ Vox….at least you know…

      • Vox Says:

        It really wasn’t funny; and what i learned about was a tragic, premature family death. It wasn’t my business in the slightest, and having that extra knowledge made it very difficult to discuss normal getting-to-know-you questions about family. I find it odd that you found that post so amusing, but perhaps I wrote something funny without realizing it.

        • bree Says:

          It was funny in an ironic sense Vox…..but to me thats not that big of a deal….either that man will still like you and understand that you were just trying to protect yourself and he will let it go and move on or he will be offended and never speak to you again.
          Point is don’t be too hard on yourself….you were doing what u thought was best at that time….which is what we all do……we’re only human..

  17. WO7 Says:

    All I can say, is the OP came off as a bit crazy herself when she forced an awkward business card exchange.

    I know I find it annoying when I realize a woman is trying to fish for information, yet thinks she’s being crafty and doing it on the sly.

    Makes me wonder what kind of baggage they’re carrying around with them.

    Why didn’t she just say “You know, I just realized I don’t even know your last name.” That’s the normal way to lead into it. Not “Hey, here’s my business card, I want to see yours cause I feel weird about things.”

    If the guy doesn’t respond to that comment by giving you his name, then something is up.

    But anytime you force some crazy situation where you’re basically accusing some guy of needing to verify his information for you, yeah, they’re going to pause.

    • Stef Says:

      Again, I didn’t say anything awkwardly. I brought out my business card at dinner and said “I realize that I haven’t given you this and I don’t know your last name either.” That’s when he made it a point to say “Well you didn’t give me your last name and THAT’s why I couldn’t have the doorman call you.”

      I think that comment is a HECK of a lot more awkward than just trying to learn the basics, which should have flowed naturally.

  18. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    So, while I was on the Internet researching the ridiculous rape statistic cited above (a statistic, by the way, that I was not able to confirm. I wonder if I could get 12 thumbs up by reporting that 1 out of 3 people get struck by lightning in their lifetimes. It’s actually true, but no one reports it. But, I digress….)

    Anyway, so I was surfing the Internet and I decided to stop by Wikipedia to take a refresher course in a term I threw around somewhat lightly above: Paranoid Personality Disorder. I recommend that people take some time out from their facebook stalking and check out the symptoms. See if you may in fact be suffering from a mental illness. Seriously.

    Here’s the problem with all the “better safe than sorry” advice. No one is advocating that anyone be unreasonably reckless or fail to take reasonable precautions in life. People need to recognize, however, that there are COSTS to being overly cautious. For the purpose of this blog, the main cost among the many others is that you will be unattractive to the opposite sex. Go click on the Wikipedia. See what it says about paranoia? It’s an illness characterized by DELUSION. People who suffer from it falsely believe that they are more important in the world than they actually are. They think people are focused on them. Reading their minds. Following their every move. Interested in their thoughts and appearances. Do I “seem” paranoid? Etc., etc. It’s a delusion of granduer and self-centeredness. And delusional, self-centered people, in general, are not attractive to normal healthy people. You are not any safer by going through like anxious about being victimized by serial killers and rapisst but, like the OP, you are showing the world that you have mental problems. And, people won’t like that about you.

  19. Abby Says:

    I agree with the poster who wrote about striking a balance. I always do a quick google search on my date, but not too deeply. Most every date I’ve had recently, the guy googled me as well, and told me about it. No biggie, unless you have something to hide. Also, I always take my own vehicle in the beginning. No matter what. I meet the guy out at least the first two or three times. That may be difficult in NYC and other big cities, but not being reliant on a date you barely know is just common sense. I agree with DMN about most of the horror stories we hear being rare, but as I said, a balance should be struck between using common sense to stay safe, without being so paranoid that you cannot enjoy yourself and are afraid to take a few risks. Of course, I’m somewhat flippant about this because I go everywhere armed.

    • Dimplz Says:

      A man I dated a few years back did a Google search on the girl. It must have been pretty extensive because he told me he found out she was suing an ex-lover for giving her an STD.
      Some people search because they are in influential positions and don’t want to be involved with someone with a bad rep. I know that was the case with this guy. He was a lawyer, involved in many organizations and clubs that were exclusive, including a country club. Yeah, he was a snob in hindsight, but if he wanted to do his research and he had the resources, it’s all there for the taking. So, he looked people up.

  20. WO7 Says:

    If you notice, it seems much more common that a woman is googling a man then the reverse. At least judging from these comments.

    I think this all plays into the obsessive need women have to aggressively weed out guys before they ever even meet.

    I can picture a million ways in which a google search could produce misleading results. Pages are cached in the system, and you could be looking at something that is no longer even active! What if there’s a picture of me on the internet with my nephew, and no caption. Kid has similar features. Oh no! This man must have a kid he hasn’t told me about!!! I caught him!!!

    I mean really, you have to play detective to figure out if a man is married? I do not feel like the average guy on the internet is a cheating married man!

    And do we really think that cheating married men are all out trolling the internet, and couldn’t possibly be encountered in the real world?

    I am continually seeing this motif. The real world is safe. The internet is dangerous. It’s complete BS.

    I mean…having your face on a dating site is a ballsy move if you’re married. Your wife, or someone who knows you or your wife, could easily stumble upon it.

    I’m trying to think of the last time I looked at anything other than the dating profile before a first date…nothing is ringing a bell.

    • Vox Says:

      For me, excessive googling has nothing to do with weeding someone out before I meet them. (I assume you mostly date women around 30 or under, because we 40+ women don’t have the luxury of dismissing suitors so easily. If you are gainfully employed, can string a sentence together and are average looking, I will meet you for a drink.) It is more akin to when I’d scribble a name over and over again on my notebook when I was 14 years old. It’s reveling in a crush.

      • Paula Says:

        Sometimes even “gainfully employed” doesn’t make the list (although it’s because he’s a grad student…)

        I agree with Vox (less common than a woman being raped, slightly more common than lightning striking). I Google everything. A friend once told me I’ve sold my soul to Google (although I’ve redeemed myself slightly by getting an iPhone instead of a Droid). It’s generally been a positive experience, in that I know even more about someone’s coolness than he’s shared with me so far.

        It’s when you can’t find a Google trail that you should be concerned, because you have to work pretty hard to avoid having one these days. If someone needs to be that secretive, there’s probably a reason (unless his name is John Smith or something so common that he’s impossible to Google.)

        • Dimplz Says:

          Just because you can’t find someone on Google doesn’t mean they are secretive. My bf is not secretive at all, but he doesn’t have time or a need to be on Facebook or any other social media sites. He loves to surf the web, but isn’t interested in gossip and/or connecting with strangers. There are many people I know who aren’t on Facebook, actually more of my friends aren’t on it than are.

          • Paula Says:

            Lest you think I would reject someone for that reason, I’m not, but most of the people I’m likely to connect with are going to be using Facebook and Twitter, if at the very least to promote their work if not to connect with their circle of friends and keep track of events.

            But even if you’re not on Facebook and Twitter, there are so many other ways to be Google-able, between organizations you belong to, events you’ve attended, and even public records files that maintain your address (if you’ve owned a home, for example). Like I said, you really have to work at it not to be there somewhere.

            • Dimplz Says:

              No, I don’t think that at all. I just thought you had a misconception about people being secretive because you can’t find them on Google. My bf is a Jr., so it’s hard to figure out if it’s him or his father, being they have the same occupation and work together.

              • Paula Says:

                That means he’s difficult to Google, not that he’s not on there. People with common names or ones that are similar or the same as other family members may be difficult to distinguish (the only close college friend that I’ve been unable to locate and contact is named “Brad Smith”).

                However, the ones that have covered their tracks so well that they’re not on there at all usually are the ones who are either secretive, excessively reclusive, or ones with something they have an interest in hiding.

        • Vox Says:

          Good point, new man in my life has returned to school and is a PhD candidate. No job!

      • WO7 Says:

        Doesn’t that ruin some of the fun of getting to know them on the first date?

        • Vox Says:

          Yes it can at times, as I previously addresses on this thread.

        • Paula Says:

          No, that hasn’t been my experience. Often it makes it less like a job interview and more like an exploration of the physical attraction and chemistry.

    • bree Says:

      wo7 because it’s usually men who are notoriously lying…not to say that women don’t lie either…..but look at the ratio of cheating and lying between the sexes (generally speaking) …

      • WO7 Says:

        I would not say that one sex is more trustworthy than the other. I have never cheated on a woman, but I have been cheated on 3 times in my earlier life. However, I approach every new interaction as someone who can be trusted until they prove otherwise.

    • Stef Says:

      Here’s the thing that I think:

      If I am going on a date with someone, I go. I don’t spend endless amounts of time checking them up, in fact, if a friend wants to set me up on a blind date, I’ll do that and NOT check them out on Facebook, etfc. If you like them after the first date, THEN I’ll do a little searching, see if we know anyone in common, etc. That’s it.

      It’s been done to me. Does it mean “I’m safe- I’ve done my homework.” No. But before the Internet I remember calling my friends – “Do you know so and so?”

      However, that said, I personally would rather meet out the first few times because I’m old enough to know how easy it is to end up doing things I didn’t plain on doing. I also want to feel comfortable in my own turf.

      I don’t go into things with a negative attitude- but I DO get annoyed when if I tell a guy “I’m not comfortable with x” and they don’t listen. The guy Jake- was told by me that I don’t like doing public transporation by myself at night- he tells me he would “take me home via train” but again, that to me would say “Okay until I know someone better I’ll pick places she is comfortable with.”

      How do you make someone more comfortable? Usually it’s by getting to know them better- and I’d say telling them basics, your name, where you live, grew up, your siblings, etc. is a good start- and of course to reciprocate the conversation.

      Instead this guy offers for the next date to make me dinner- at his house.

      This guy didn’t listen- and didn’t get what I would call “basic social cues”. I shouldn’t have to hit a nail on the head and say “DUDE you have spent the last two hours talking about your exwife, your Dad’s illness, and what’s wrong with the economy, considering I can tell you how many nieces and nephews you have, your sisters’s ages, it would be nice for you to reciprocate one of the questions and let me actually answer it. I’ve told you repeatedly that I don’t know YOU and yet you spend the whole time talking about everyone else- negatively at that. None of this helps me know YOU any better. And by the way, you forgot basic information to tell me that most normal people tell one another.”

      Needless to say, the end of the date, he thought it went GREAT and asked me out on a 4th date. I told him to call me later in the week. I was emotionally exausted from listening to him (and I did ask him to change the subject three times!) and not getting a chance to say a word in edgewise. And he contacted me via text- I didn’t answer. Then it’s been silence.

      I used to like to NOT have to do the “interview” questions- now after someone completely bipasses them- I guess I miss them- they are necessary evil.

      • pistola Says:

        “I shouldn’t have to hit a nail on the head…”

        Thinking that other people live by the rules we live by without talking about it or being assertive and communicative is a surefire way to end up being disappointed. Both in dating and in life.

        • Stef Says:

          I agree with you- but my earlier post stated that I told him THREE times could we talk about something more positive. I did try to redirect the conversation and to try and make an awkward situation more comfortable.

          Look, he could get my doorman to call me directly (Jake called me on his cell phone to talk to the doorman) because he didn’t have my last name. When I asked him DIRECTLY why the doorman didn’t call me he didn’t answer. That’s pretty direct.

          Same thing when I tried to get his last name by giving him mine- I gave him the reasonining that I’ve had a few bad experiences on the Internet- so here’s my card. How is it my fault if the guy literally needs me to HIT him on the head?

          I believe in being reasonably direct. But at a certain point there are social cues that you need to get. Unless you have Asperger’s which is a completely different discussion. When someone says “I don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation alone at night”- I probably wouldn’t then suggest for our next date that you do it.

          When someone says “Hey I need your last name to have your doorman call you” that also shouldn’t be difficult- but for this guy it was- thus, he needs the nail on the head.

          • Dimplz Says:

            And that’s where I would have said, my name is Jane Doe, what’s your full name so we can avoid future mishaps. And we would have laughed it off. You are not aggressive, you are passive-aggressive. You say you told him you redirected the convo, but you could have said, “hey I’m not on a date with your ex, I’m on a date with you, and I’d like to know more about you, the individual.” Say it with a smile and light hearted tone. I’m not saying it’s your fault that he talked so much; I’m pointing out that you didn’t address it in an aggressive manner. Someone like that doesnt work off cues and hints. In fact, most people don’t. Short and sweet, direct and effective communication. It’s a date, not a riddle.

      • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

        So, even when you’re set up by a friend – someone you trust – you’re still trolling LinkedIn and what have you looking for connections? Why? So you can email them or call them and ask them if they know the guy you’re going out with? Don’t you think that’s a bit unnecessary?

        The guy Jake- was told by me that I don’t like doing public transporation by myself at night- he tells me he would “take me home via train” but again, that to me would say “Okay until I know someone better I’ll pick places she is comfortable with.”

        Right. That’s what that means to you. You’re beating this guy up for not reading your mind. He thought he was suggesting something that works. Okay, so he failed. But the guy is fresh out of a marriage and new to the dating scene.

        How do you make someone more comfortable? Usually it’s by getting to know them better- and I’d say telling them basics, your name, where you live, grew up, your siblings, etc. is a good start- and of course to reciprocate the conversation.

        Okay, well, he did share that info, as you said here:

        considering I can tell you how many nieces and nephews you have, your sisters’s ages,

        What you’re upset about is that he didn’t ask you the same questions you apparently asked him. Maybe because he doesn’t care? Maybe because it’s irrelevant? Maybe because he didn’t want to seem to nosy? Or, yes, maybe because he was was some self-involved dude clearly not over his marriage. I’m still not seeing how any of this is related to your original question about safety and not wanting to seem paranoid. You just want everyone to go, “Oh Jeez, what a douche!” Okay. “Oh Jeez…what a douche!” There you go. The validation you need to believe he’s a douche who is clueless and self-involved. So again I’ll ask…what does any of this have to do with your original question? Because I’m not getting it.

        He’s a self-involved dude who isn’t ready to date who didn’t let you in to get to him. Got it. And yes, that’s annoying. But you managed to make it through 3 dates with this guy. So something kept you around.

        • Stef Says:

          I don’t think this guy is a douche, I think again that he is clueless- to seeing the other person’s point of view.

          Yes, I would see if I knew someone in common on LinkedIn. I don’t think it’s such a big deal, I’d do the same if I was going to an interview for the same reasons- to see if we have any connections.

          He’s not “fresh” to the dating scene- he’s been divorced for three years and lived in the city for the same.

          I told him on the 2nd date that “I don’t want to take transportation alone at night”- so the 3rd date he suggests that I do that- to come to his house so he can make me dinner? Out here, unless you live under a rock, you see the extra police force, the volunteer guardian angels around, and its all over the news and paper about the recent amount of El (train) robberies. And he takes the train to work, it is big time news here- and it was the very line and stops he was talking about.

          Yes- he told me information- about other people- not about himself and not that helps me to get to know him better. You tell me you have two sisters- then you don’t tell me their names- but you tell me that the older one cooks better. You tell me you like to exercise but you don’t say what you like to do- the guy was vague.

          You’ve responded but never mentioned the doorman situation- the fact still is that he didn’t ask (or know) enough information to get the doorman to call me to come downstairs- and the fact that that should be such an issue on a 3rd date- is yet a funny, but ironic part of the whole story.

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            You’ve responded but never mentioned the doorman situation- the fact still is that he didn’t ask (or know) enough information to get the doorman to call me to come downstairs- and the fact that that should be such an issue on a 3rd date- is yet a funny, but ironic part of the whole story.

            It was on you to give him your last name if that was necessary in order to come up to your apartment. Frankly, I don’t understand why this was even important. Didn’t he have your apartment number? Could your doorman not figure out who he was looking for from there? Or did you not give him your apartment number? I’m sorry, but I am completely lost with this story. I’m not getting your issue.

            Yes- he told me information- about other people- not about himself and not that helps me to get to know him better

            And how does knowing the specific town where he grew up help you get to know him better? Maybe i’m just tired, but it sounds like this guy told you A LOT about himself. But none of it was enough.

          • Dimplz Says:

            Sorry, but you sound just like my mom. She doesn’t drive, yet she wants us to offer to take her everywhere. I have 2 sisters, they have families and I have a bf and my own errands to run. She will tell us, oh I have to go shopping for so-and-so’s birthday, and wait for us to say I’ll take you. Uh, no. Ask and ye shall receive. Don’t ask, and never get it. Seems to me he told you enough on a 2nd date. And you said he talked too much, so which is it? You seem like the archetypal woman the men on this site complain about. Nothing is good enough. You don’t ever plan on taking public transport? Save up for cabs or stop dating. Most dates occur at night. You have to exercise SOME flexibility here.

          • Paula Says:

            The guy is socially awkward and clueless, like someone who hasn’t done much dating recently (I’m assuming his recent divorce means that’s the case). He is as self-absorbed as someone who’s taken a recent big emotional hit can be — having been there, I know that you can get pretty caught up in your own painful shit for a while. He didn’t open up to you because he’s like a wounded animal in a trap, with no reason to trust you or any woman yet.

            And, because of all that, you didn’t hit it off, which was likely to happen with 90% of your dates anyway. Time to say, “next…”

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          “But you managed to make it through 3 dates with this guy. So something kept you around.”

          Yes, what did keep her around? This is the essential question for most Ask Moxie letters. Rarely asked. I guess it would be boring if every post asked the same question, but it’s a good study.

        • nathan Says:


          It just sounds like you’re looking for a defense for your actions and sympathy from us. What I read from your comments is that this guy was too negative, and didn’t make enough effort to get to know you or say enough about himself. This kind of think happens a lot, but it doesn’t mean the guy is clueless or pathetic.

          I have been on dates with female versions of him. I have gone on second and even third dates with some of the same women, thinking it was worth giving them more chances to open up or not be so negative. For whatever reasons, it didn’t happen. And while I didn’t end up feeling favorable towards these women, I also am not going to list off every action any of them did as a sign that their clueless, selfish, or whatever.

          We just weren’t matches, end of story. And it sounds like Jake and you also just weren’t a match. He didn’t do anything terrible. He didn’t do the kinds of things creepy or abusive men do, and are rightly called out for. He just sounds like a guy who probably needs some more time to get his past out of his system.

  21. nathan Says:

    Bree – it’s basically about even, the percentage of men and women who cheat. men are probably higher by a few percent, but not all that much.

    Here’s a recent study.

    I looked at several more from the past 5 years – all with similar findings.

    And my god, what would we all do without Google? Apparently, dating must have been horribly dangerous before the advent of internet, which suddenly allowed us all to become Sherlock Holmes. I get the urge to look for dirt about a date – I have done it a few times myself. But the way some of you are tying your judgment of someone to something like that is kind of creepy.

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