It’s common to look up romantic crushes online and pay attention to their activity. Still, it’s very easy to take things too far.
The urge to go through someone’s virtual life is strong, even with friends and acquaintances. When you’re romantically interested in someone, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to your curiosity and scroll to the depths of their Instragram profile, doing your best to avoid liking a photo that was uploaded over four years ago.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional online snoop, which can even become a fun activity done with friends and a few drinks. Most of the time though, online stalking sessions are done in private and they tend to augment our insecurities, whether we’re dating that person or are simply curious about their lives.
Mashable went down the rabbit hole on people’s online snooping trends, interviewing them and asking about their backstories and habits. Unsurprisingly, the article found that we all engage in these kinds of behaviors, even if we’re not open or proud about them. Still, not to sound like a mom, but just because everyone’s doing something doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pause and think about how this might be impacting us.
So, to help you keep better track of your habits and actions, we’ve compiled a short list of situations where it’s perfectly okay to snoop — and when it’s not:
Do: for fun
Social media was developed to bring us closer to people from all corners of the world. This is amazing, since it introduces different perspectives, cultures and opinions that differ from yours and that you’d never encounter in your day to day life. There’s nothing wrong with following and going through a stranger’s Twitter or Instagram profile as long as it’s entertaining and doesn’t make you unhappy.
Don’t: when in a relationship
Relationships are complex enough as-is. Add technology and it’s even worse, with people using these tools to track their partners, check their online interactions and more. While you may feel the urge to go through the people who like your boyfriend or girlfriend’s Instagram post, keeping track of their online activity is a slippery slope. Comments and likes can mean a hundred different things, and it’s extremely exhausting to try and decipher.
“One person who preferred to be anonymous admitted they check to see if the person they’re dating still likes his ex’s Instagram posts, and vice versa,” writes Mashable. Does that sound fun? No, it doesn’t.
Do: when you’re really into someone
So you just came home from a great date and want to continue to bask in the glow of this person, looking at their photos and hobbies and all that good stuff. Go ahead, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself as long as you remember that social media is not all there is.
Don’t: Instagram stalk your ex
We’ve all been there. It’s unrealistic to say that you won’t ever do this, but it’s important to keep track of your behaviors. If you feel yourself becoming depressed for extended periods of time and being unable to engage with your phone if it’s not to check up on whatever it is that your ex is doing, cut yourself off from them. It may sound extreme, but the blocking option is there for everyone to use. While you may feel embarrassed to block your ex with whom you ended things amicably, your mental health comes first.
Do: before a first Tinder date
You may feel nervous before you go on a date with a stranger, so it’s okay to look them up and see if they look normal. It might even be advisable just as long as you don’t go overboard and freak them out by telling them about that cute photo of their dog you’ve never met.