Online dating is now the norm as opposed to the exception. Numerous couples have met, dated, and are now married based on online communication, profiles, and private messages. In our technology-based world, it seems that even dating is something that begins with a short message or an online photo. Many couples have spoken, or at least messaged, several times prior to the first meeting. Unfortunately, texting or messaging can offer the users a false sense of security; after all, you can be anyone you want to be online. Knowing that someone may be far from what they appear in their profile, there are a few safety tips that should be followed by all online daters.
Safety tips for online dating
The most common-sense advice for your first few meetings is to meet in a public place. As the adage goes, safety in numbers. Meet somewhere where plenty of others will be around to witness what is happening. This way if something goes wrong you have others around that may offer help. This also means that if the person you thought you were ‘dating’ turns out to be someone else, you can walk away without ever making contact. Though this advice is typically given to women, it is good advice for either gender.
The next most important thing you can do is drive yourself and tell someone where you are going. Whether you tell your best friend or parents that you are meeting someone for the first time, make sure someone knows. You would not go hiking in the woods without telling someone where you were headed, why meet a perfect stranger without letting someone know. If you start to feel uncomfortable excuse yourself and text a friend who will call you away on an emergency. If the unthinkable would ever happen, someone will know exactly where you were and who you were with for the date. This goes hand in hand with driving yourself. If you are reliant on your ‘date’ to get you home and things go bad, you are stranded. In addition, if your date decides to keep you longer than you expected, you have no real choice in the matter. So throw old conventions out the window and drive separately.
A final point is one that so many forget. On the first few dates, at least until you truly know the other person, stay sober. Drinking can lower inhibitions and keep you from seeing warning signs that may otherwise be notable. Drinking can cause you to ignore that guy feeling you sometimes get when things seem off, this leaves you vulnerable.
This is not an article to scare you away from online dating. In fact, this may be the best way to meet your forever mate. However, just as parents have warned children forever, it is better to be safe than sorry. Not everyone that uses online dating sites is a creep, nor is everyone a complete angel. Trust yourself and if something feels wrong then do not be afraid to walk away. If something feels right, take it slow and enjoy getting to know the person behind the screen. Happy dating.