Online dating has become more and more popular over the past few years. This makes sense – people are busy, which means they don’t often get to meet potential love interests the traditional way.
By doing online dating, you are able to test the waters and see if you get along with someone before you commit to meeting them. Of course, the pandemic has also led to many people trying their hand at online dating.
That being said, you’ve probably heard a few online dating horror stories. While there is the possibility that your online date may be the love of your life, you need to be safe when doing online dating. If you want to learn how to do this, keep reading.
So, you’ve chatted to someone online for a while, and you really like them. Perhaps you’re even ready to take the next step and meet them in person. However, you need to keep in mind that your online date may be hiding a few things from you.
Luckily, there are ways to learn more about who they truly are. A good idea is to start by looking at their social media. Websites like Instant Checkmate can also help you gain valuable information about your date so that you can make an informed decision.
Don’t share personal information
It’s highly likely that your online date will also look you up online since that’s probably what you did to them. While it’s natural to share some details when online dating – such as your name or interests – you should avoid sharing personal information.
If possible, don’t even exchange cellphone numbers, but rather try to keep the chat on the dating platform. If you and your date agree to meet up, you shouldn’t have them pick you up at your home.
Let your friends know where you are
Of course, the whole point of online dating is to help you meet someone, and most relationships won’t work unless you meet someone face-to-face. But this can be scary, especially because you might not really know the person.
A good way to ensure your safety is to turn your location on and share it with your friends. This way, they will know where you are at all times. You can learn more about location sharing here. You should also agree to call your friends at a specific time to confirm that you are okay.
Meet in a public space
While you might want your first encounter with your online date to be intimate and private, a public space is always a better option. No matter how well you think you know your date, it’s never a good idea to go somewhere secluded with them, especially not on the first few dates.
Keep it simple: go have a cup of coffee somewhere. If you hit it off, you can arrange a second date, and go for dinner. As you get to know your date better and learn to trust them, you can start spending more time alone with them.
Be ready to defend yourself
No one wants to go on a date expecting the worst, but unfortunately, in the world we live in, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
When it’s time to meet your online date in person, you should be on high alert, just in case something goes wrong, which is always a risk when you meet someone on the internet.
Brush up on your self-defense skills, or carry self-defense tools. These are things that can help you in various situations, not just when it comes to dating.
Ask for evidence
You’ve probably heard of at least someone who has been a victim of catfishing. It’s actually surprisingly easy to be catfished – after all, you won’t know if the photos on the person’s dating profile are actually of them, or if they got it somewhere else.
It’s a good idea to ask for evidence that they are who they say they are. This doesn’t have to be anything extreme – simply ask them to send a photo of themselves holding a specific item, like a red piece of paper. If they can send this proof, you likely aren’t being catfished.
Be on alert
No one likes to be on alert all the time when on a date, but it is necessary, especially if it’s someone you met through online dating.
That’s because most people know the people they go on dates with, or their friends know them. That means that they already know that the person is trustworthy. With online dating, however, there’s always a bit of doubt.
That’s why you should be on alert all the time. We’re not suggesting that you analyze each move your date makes, but just watch out for anything suspicious. Also, keep an eye on your drink to make sure it isn’t spiked. Date rape drugs are unfortunately a risk with any date, including online ones.
Don’t get taken advantage of
When you spend all day talking to someone online, you may feel like you know them and they know you. While it is entirely possible to build a solid relationship online, it’s also much easier to get scammed.
If your online date starts to ask you for money, that’s a red flag. The same can be said if they start asking you for intimate or inappropriate photos of yourself. Just remember that you don’t really know this person at all, and they could easily be taking advantage of you.
Look, online dating has many risks. No one is denying that. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it – almost everything has risks!
Many happy relationships have started thanks to online dating. You may still be scared that people will judge you, but the stigma around online dating has died down a lot.
If you’re feeling lonely and you’re ready to meet someone, online dating could be a great option for you. As long as you’re taking steps to be safe, it can be a great experience.