Be ready to see some raised eyebrows if you tell your friends you’re trying to find someone’s online dating profile. We’re in an information age—exactly how much more do you need to know about a person?
But maybe you’re interested in someone and too shy to ask if they’re single. Maybe you’ve started to get serious with someone but something feels a little off, and you want to see if they’re still playing the field. Or maybe your bestie met someone online and you want to find out if he’s as good as she says he is.
Whether you honestly intend to snoop or just want to indulge in a moment’s curiosity, finding out if someone is online is easier than you think.
Good old fashioned trial and error
If you’re truly curious about finding out if someone you know is dating online, one of the easiest ways to do it is to input incredibly narrow search terms. That is, set up a search that filters only for people who match the characteristics of the person you’re seeking. Location, age, and height are quick ways to winnow down your quest. That is, of course, if the object of your affection is being honest. Shocking but true: people tend to fudge the details a little bit in their dating profiles.
Little details, like hobbies and alma maters, can also speed up the search. You may want to rely less on those, though, as they may not seem profile-worthy to the person you’re trying to keep tabs on. There’s also the possibility that they’re the aspirational profile type who post pictures of themselves rock climbing when their real go-to weekend activity is a sci-fi TV binge.
And don’t forget, if you want to use some free trials to get a little extra access, it’s a great idea. Here is a link to several online dating website free trials you can use now.
Cast a wide net
While your individual searches may be highly-targeted, there are so many apps and dating sites available that you may find you need to search quite a few. Plenty are easy enough to join for free, with just a few steps between you and a new profile. But there are just as many that are subscription only, or so highly specialized in its subject that you could never search absolutely every online dating platform.
Take advantage of linked social media
While plenty of people keep details like name and employer private, some of those same people have no qualms about linking their social media to their profiles—and plenty of people use their real names on their profiles. It’s not a direct route to finding out if someone is dating online, but it’s something to look out for while you’re browsing profiles. Check yourself, though: there’s a good chance you’ll see locations and other friends—or potential significant others—tagged, and it’s very easy for idle curiosity to lead you down an unnecessary rabbit hole.
Make the most of peoples’ laziness
Admit it: you don’t use unique usernames or emails for every website you log into, do you? Even though it’s best practice, nobody but the most diligent person takes the steps needed to create a unique password online. If you know their handle on one site, search it on other dating sites as well. You’d be surprised how easy it is.
The same goes for email accounts, and the same rules apply: the line between curiosity and snooping is a very fine one, and you should check yourself to make sure you stay on the right side of that line.
Try a reverse image search
Most people have a favorite photo they use as their go-to for all things online. Do a general search by their name, and you’ll likely find they use the same photo over and over again. Download, then paste it into your browser’s reverse image search. There’s a pretty good chance that one photo will lead you to other places they hang out online. Again, this one really skirts the line between casual interest and serious sleuthing, so think twice before employing this extra step. Play it cool.
Try mutual-connection based apps and sites
There are several apps and dating sites that have you connect your social media and recommend dates based on overlapping social circles. The added bonus here is that with enough mutual friends, you can get a decent idea of the type of person you’re trying to get info on.
You could say judge a person by the company you keep but, well, you know all of those people too. This is a good way to introduce yourself if you’re trying to find someone online if you’re shy, but it’s also not a bad strategy for finding out if your partner might have a wandering eye…though be ready to explain why you were on there, too.
Make it easy: just look them up
The vast majority of potential daters like to keep their profiles private. Some singles may not be interested in their friends, family, or potential employers knowing much about their private lives, so they’re likely to keep things locked down.
But you’d be surprised at how many people are completely comfortable being open with their online lives. You’d be surprised how many peoples’ dating lives are easy to uncover online. A quick name and city search could yield more than the run of the mill info and bring up a dating profile instead.
In the end, honesty is the best policy
Whether you’re worried your social anxiety will get in the way, or if you’re worried your partner is cheating, it’s unlikely finding their dating profile is going to resolve any of your worries. Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right in a relationship, it probably isn’t.
And if you’re just interested in catching the eye of a crush, there are less complicated ways to do it. Still, the impulse to do a little advance research is a hard one to curb. Make sure your idle explorations don’t stray from lighthearted curiosity. Do your search, say hello, be yourself and find a common interest, and let it go from there.