The internet has transformed the way we date in such a short period of time. While we can agree that it has made the process much more convenient than it once was, it also came with a few drawbacks.
For one, it’s much easier to project a false image of yourself when you’re online. Anyone can literally create a whole different personality for themselves, and people get caught by them every single day. There’s also the lack of direct interaction. It’s just simpler to lie to someone online than it is face to face. This comes with a few safety issues which can have disastrous consequences if not addressed and prepared against. Here are a few important safety tips everyone should follow.
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You want your first interaction to be somewhere public and where you’ll have the chance to have interactions with other people. This will allow you to see how well adjusted a person they are and how they react to the people around them.
Look at how they look at other people, how they interact with service, how they react to the homeless, etc. This will give you an idea of whether you’re dealing with a genuinely good person, or someone who can’t be trusted. This will also be a quick compatibility test, and enough to see if this is going to work.
You also want to let people know where you’ll be and when. You should have someone ready on call to come and pick you up if things go left or if you start feeling uncomfortable. And you always want to have a plan B exit route.
Another thing you should do is perform your research on anyone you are thinking of dealing with online. Things are made super easy these days, and you can get Federal Records on anybody in minutes with services like Public Records Reviews. You will be able to see if they were indicted on federal crimes like tax evasion or identity theft, for instance. This one in particular would be a huge red flag. Performing a background check through a background service like this could be all that you need to catch a potential scammer, so don’t skip this step.
There is really no reason to rush to meet anyone, so spend as much time video chatting with the person as you can. While nothing beats face to face, this is the closest you can get without having to actually meet them. Again, you could immediately realize that they are not who you were expecting them to be. This will give you information beyond the profile and see if you can actually hold a conversation.
You also want to follow up with a quick phone call before you first meet them. This could help you pick up on some additional verbal cues you may have not picked up through text.
You also want to avoid using your personal phone number if possible. That doesn’t mean you have to get a phone number for online dating only, however. There are services, like Google Voice for instance, that allow you to get a free phone number and check voicemails, calls, and messages without having to ever divulge your real phone number. So, make sure that you look it up and consider using it if you want to keep your phone safe.
You don’t want anybody to have control over your movements, so you should either drive yourself, have someone who will, or use public transportation. Be careful with carpooling too, as they might be able to get your address that way, which is a no-no.
Another thing you should be careful with is the kind of information you share either directly with them or on your profile. Things like sharing the places you like to visit can become problematic. You don’t want someone you don’t know or someone you cut off after a disastrous first date to know your habits and whereabouts. Only start sharing more information when you get comfortable with the person and know each other a little more.
A first date is never the time to go crazy drunk; you want to be as sober as possible. This is a time where you’ll need all your senses, and maybe have to make a quick decision to get yourself out of a bad situation. So, we would suggest something wholesome like a simple walk down the pier, or an art exhibition as a first date. This will give you the chance to know them from up close without having to drink.
If you follow these few simple tips when dating online, you’ll be able to greatly reduce your chances of incidents. The most important part is to use common sense and be as guarded as you can before your first interactions.