Remember when getting to know someone meant that you had to actually talk to them?

These days, a little bit of social media "research" can tell you all about a person's political and religious leanings, favourite television shows and music genres, their past and present relationships and even whether they showed up at work on time that day. Not only does this leave you with a very superficial and carefully censored version of that person, but it can create some awkward moments when you absentmindedly remark on the holiday that he or she enjoyed with their family four years ago.

We're not saying that you shouldn't conduct a little research before dating someone (you definitely should), but the realm of social media should be navigated with care.

Is social media ruining your dating life? Here are four things to watch out for, as well as a few ways to protect yourself in the future.

Your Photo Albums Look like a Wall of Shame

Unflattering angles and bad haircuts, drunken selfies at booze-filled parties, horrible exes and exes that you wish hadn't gotten away; do any of these sound familiar? If you haven't done so recently, take a quick scroll through your online photos. If the man or woman of your dreams was sitting and perusing your pictures with you, which ones would embarrass you? Take those off. If you can't bear to part with them, set them to private.

You Rely Too Heavily on Online Communication

We can't argue with the fact that communicating online is convenient. It's even useful when you're setting up an actual date or if you simply need a diversion during a business meeting that really should have been an email.

The problem comes when an entire relationship takes place online. More and more, star-crossed lovers use social media chat features to share late-night confessions, hash out arguments and talk about their days. Once again, we understand it. It's easier to censor yourself and it feels safer to share your opinions in a little message box than in a face-to-face discussion. However, having online communication as your sole communication is neither healthy nor sustainable.

It Can Create Paranoia

"If he likes me as much as he says that he does, then why doesn't he post sweet messages to me for all of his friends to see?"

"Why won't she post pictures of me? Do I embarrass her? Is there someone else?"

"Why won't he give me his login information? What is he hiding?"

For all the transparency is affords, nothing breeds paranoia quite like social media. If you're spending time agonising over what your partner is or isn't posting, you may end up sabotaging your own happiness.

It's Tempting to Make Comparisons

Your sister's boyfriend sent her flowers at work yesterday. How do you know that? Everyone knows that; she posted pictures on Facebook.

This couple enjoyed an amazing holiday in the Caribbean, and that couple likes to cook gourmet meals together.

And what do you have? Chances are that you have a relationship that you would be happier with, if only you weren't comparing it to everyone else's. We forget that we see a carefully built and censored version of everyone else's best self, and we take the mushy posts and filtered selfies at face value. We don't see the little spats and mind-numbing monotony that is present, at least to a small degree, in every single person's life. We end up comparing our "normal" to someone else's "best," and we end up dissatisfied with our partners and our relationships.

Reclaiming Your Dating Life

In spite of its downfalls, social media is probably here to stay. Here are three ways to ensure that it will not ruin your dating life.

Consider Pulling the Plug

At least, temporarily. If you feel like social media has stood in as a substitute for actually getting to know someone or letting them get to know you, it may be time to sign off for a while. Being forced to communicate with your partner without the aid of a chat box is surprisingly refreshing.

Set Personal Boundaries

Whether it's a daily time allotment or a personal rule that you won't anonymously cyber-stalk someone, setting personal boundaries goes a long way in ensuring that social media doesn't jeopardize your happiness.

Check Out Your Privacy Settings

If you treat your social media page like a journal and you don't foresee that changing, then consider editing your privacy settings. Updated settings allow you to control who sees your rambling status updates, pictures and anything else that may give anonymous strangers bigger glimpses into your life than they are entitled to.

Are you ready to begin a relationship? At Love2Date Singles, we make it easier than ever to connect with singles in your area who are looking for friendship and romance. Getting started is free and simple, so create your profile today.