I Googled You and That’s OK

I have a few questions for you:

Do you feel embarrassed to admit that you’ve googled someone? If they confronted you, would you deny it? If you found out something really cool about them and normally would have congratulated them, would you refrain from doing it because of the way you discovered it?

I google people all the time, but never once thought to mention it to them…

My daughter made a best friend at preschool this past year, and I’ve gotten to know her mother, Cheryl. The second time Cheryl and I hung out, waiting for the girls to finish gymnastics, she just comfortably blurted out “So I googled you. You had a wedding planning business, you’re a theatre director, that’s so cool, I love your website, did your husband design that? I noticed it’s the same last name, and I love your head shot!”

I was flummoxed. Not that she googled me; not that she learned so much about me without my knowing; not even that she was positively impressed (although that was nice). But because she didn’t think that telling me all this was at all embarrassing, or brazen. Her confidence was enchanting.

“You did, did you?!” I responded, with obvious surprise on my face.

“I’m in PR,” she said, as an explanation. As if that gave her the gall to be so forward.

That little moment eliminated about half an hour of small talk and getting to know each other. Inspired by her boldness I said:

“Now you have to tell me everything about you that I can’t find online, because you know I’m going to google you when I get home tonight.” We were off to a good start.

Ernestine Balisi reacting to my news that I googled her.

It got me thinking about my attitude toward everybody I have ever googled in secret. There’s usually a comical moment when I see them right afterward, armed with all this exciting new information about them, and I… don’t… say… anything. So stupid, really!

Since I met Cheryl, I am much better at admitting my curiosity in someone. If I google an acquaintance and there’s an appropriate moment to mention it, I do. It’s quite rewarding actually. It lets them know I am interested, which is almost always pleasing, and it jump-starts a trite association into a developing relationship.

Today, I tried my skills on actor Ernestine Balisi, from the cast of Spring Awakening at San Jose Repertory Theatre. I think it went really well…

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