"Gather as much data as you can right away," said an economist I used to work with. This brilliant advice came when I was debating bringing a new guy I was dating to my work Christmas party. "It's a waste of time to wait and see how someone interacts with your friends, family, coworkers etc.," he explained over lunch. "As soon as you know you like someone, find out how they are in fancy situations, in nature, in dive bars, and anywhere else you like to go. Data collection should happen fast so you don't string someone along longer than you need to."
My friend Ryan likes to do this to the extreme by getting into the nitty-gritty topics like politics, religion, and sexuality on first dates. "Off limits? More like required discussion," Ryan said. "On a first date, I liked to bring up typically taboo subjects like religion, politics, mental illness, toilet humor, racism, drug use, periods, etc. to see how they react. Sometimes it scares women off, but sometimes you have a better connection with someone who's willing to get into things right away." To be clear, this would never, ever work with me, but it did for Ryan. He's currently dating someone who was willing to talk about poop with a stranger.