Setting Your Internal GPS
You have to know where you want to go (and who can help you get there) in order to point your life in the right direction. Are you searching for someone to travel around the world with you? Then perhaps the home-owning workaholic with the needy wolfhound will never be more than a fun distraction until your next flight. Are you just looking for a fun distraction until your next flight? Terrific. But be clear with Mr. Wolfhound about this from the outset, so as not to break any hearts (including your own).
Knowing When to Close the Tab
The problem with anxious Internet stalking before meeting IRL is that you tend to find whatever it was you were looking for: the accomplished ex-girlfriend, the misspelled “its”, the disparaging tweet about your favorite Orange Is the New Black episode. Then again, you’d feel really silly if you went on a date with a registered sex offender because you hadn’t done your due diligence. So by all means, do a background check–you’d do as much if you were looking for a petsitter. Read the first story. Check the first picture. And then, unless you’re good at not saying “Oh I know you were class president, I read it in your high-school-paper archives,” stop there. A creepy stalker vibe can be a real conversation killer.