The internet creates many opportunities for people to cultivate meaningful relationships with anybody across the world. This cyber landscape has opened the door for a variety of different online dating sites and forums. It is convenient and straightforward to find someone to go on a date with, but there is also risk associated with beginning a relationship with someone you have never met before.
There are different ways that you can protect yourself but also get the most out of the online dating experience. In this article, we provide you eight tips on how you can enjoy online dating without sacrificing your safety. The most important thing to remember is always to do your research, communicate appropriately with your loved ones, and give attention to your feelings.
1. Double Check the Facts
Someone you meet online may seem attractive at first glance. The person has a good profile, a beautiful profile image, and they have all their life together. But you need to verify the other person’s identity. Do not hesitate to search for someone on Google immediately after you meet online.
If you do further research, you could find out that the person copied someone else’s image as their own. To confirm this, you could use the “search by image” feature on Google to see if he or she is using a similar photo as someone else. If you find that the person you meet is borrowing a photo from someone else, you can deduce that their Facebook or online dating account is fake.
You can also be smart by doing a full Facebook profile scan of the person. You can check for signs of a fake Facebook account, such as:
- A deficient number of friends or connections
- Photos that do not have tags in them or no links to existing Facebook accounts
- Pictures with no friends, family members, or unique events in them
If each photo looks to be staged or crafted, this should raise a caution flag in your eyes.
Even if you do not find anything suspicious and are still unsure, it never hurts to set up a background check on the person you just met. You can never be too cautious in double-checking the person’s identity. By taking the proactive steps to begin a relationship properly, you are doing the best to protect yourself.
2. Be Mindful About Revealing Personal Information Too Quickly
Honesty is essential in any relationship, but you should be mindful about how much you reveal about yourself from the beginning. Avoid sharing information about typical locations that you visit, where your family is located, or any secret location.
You could share positive memories, experiences, and other motivations without providing insights that could harm you later. If the person ends up being crazy or dangerous, you do not want them to have any leverage or intel on how he or she could harm you or your loved ones. The best thing for you to do is to take it slow and let trust run its course.
You cannot get a full read on someone right away, and you need to have patience before you share the most intimate components of your life. At the beginning of the relationship, you can protect yourself by focusing the conversation on the other person and asking thoughtful questions. That way, you can learn more about what makes them unique so that you can share them accordingly.
3. Meet in Person Early in the Relationship
The online dating landscape enables people to hide their identity behind a screen. When you cultivate a new relationship online, you must meet in person early. Whether this is through video chat or in-person interaction, the ability to see the person’s face will put you at ease and bring out a whole new personality in them.
When you two go on your first couple of dates, you must meet in a public space. An environment where there are a high number of people around will give you a feeling of safety in case something goes wrong. A few ideal first date locations include:
- Outdoor concert
- Public park
4. Talk on the Phone to Become Familiar with Their Voice
If you are moving slowly in the relationship and putting off the in-person date, then you should at least talk on the phone with the person. The tone of the other person’s voice will give you more clarity into their personality. A phone call will also give you insights into verbal cues, which will make the first in-person meeting go a lot smoother.
About half the meaning of a message is conveyed through tone of voice, so you can also grow closer with the person through a phone chat than an online chat. If the person is not trying to hide anything about his or her identity, then a phone call should be something welcome for them.
5. Keep Your Close Friends and Family in the Loop
Your close friends and family are your primary sources of support. They will be there for you through both the good and bad moments. It is smart for you to tell someone else the details about your online relationships. These people in your life can offer you advice, give you confidence, and provide another level of safety in case something goes wrong.
When you share information about your online dating partner to your close friend, they can give you another set of eyeballs and let you know if something seems off. If you keep your online dating life private, then it will be difficult to act effectively if something goes wrong.
Being open and honest with your loved ones is just another way that you can protect yourself. You have fans in your corner, so you should utilize them!
6. Listen to Your Feelings
When everything seems too good to be true in online dating, then it probably is. It takes a mature person to step back, analyze their feelings, and make an educated decision on when to move forward. If you are having second thoughts about pursuing a relationship with a person online, then you should ask yourself why you are hesitant.
Love is a sensitive subject, and you should give it careful thought before investing a lot of your time into it. You owe it to yourself to take time to think things over yourself, discuss the situation with your friends, and decide for YOU.
An excellent exercise to do is create a pros and cons list. Give careful thought to the benefits and what could come of your relationship. Note the things you like about their person, the positive feelings they give you, and their potential. But you should also make a note of the hesitations, the uncertainty, and the potential downfalls of pursuing an online relationship with the given person.
7. Remain Sober
When you go on the first couple of dates with the person, you need to be fully present mentally. If you remain sober, or at least close to it, you can focus on getting to know the person. You are also less likely to miss out on essential details or nonverbal cues. If you become intoxicated, this makes you vulnerable to any potential threats of danger, and you will not be able to defend yourself.
We are not saying that you should refrain from alcohol entirely, but you should be mindful of your intake. It is smart for you to set a preliminary limit on yourself so that you can get a good feel on the person. You should keep a good pace too. If you drink too much early, you will not be able to gain the full experience and enjoyment of meeting someone new in person for the first time.
8. Drive Yourself or Take Public Transportation
How you commute to the first date is also very critical. Before you genuinely get to know the other person, focus on driving yourself or utilizing public transportation. Try to avoid accepting a carpool invitation from your date. If the person picks you up from your private home, he or she now knows where you live.
When you drive yourself, it is another line of defense in not revealing too much personal information about yourself too quickly. If your date is persistent about picking you up or taking you home, you can provide a harmless excuse and say that you have plans with your friend or family member. By saying you have previous arrangements, it will not come off as defensive.
A Final Note on Staying Safe
The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself first. Your safety is the top priority, and you can never be too safe. If the person you meet online cares about you, he or she will understand that you want to enter a new relationship safely and adequately. Listen to your feelings, take time to think about the situation, and act with care.
You deserve the best relationship, and you cannot achieve that for yourself without some patience. By taking the necessary steps in online dating, as we described above, you will undoubtedly get the most out of your experience and maybe find that special someone!