Safety in Online Dating
If you have ventured into the world of online dating you've probably seen safety disclaimers on dating platforms, or may have even been lectured by a family member. While you may find yourself becoming truly excited about the prospect of a budding romance... please, please, please be sure to set some type of safety guidelines for yourself as you begin to know your prospective partner.
After a couple of years of on and off dating online I developed a set of safety standards that I adhered to as I got to know someone new. It is one of my most important pieces of advice that I give friends that enter the world of internet dating.
My top safety recommendations:
1. Go with your gut instinct... I can't stress this enough. If something feels not right about someone you're talking to or they start to push for things you're not comfortable with from the start go ahead and abort your plans. I had a couple of instances with chatting with the person ahead of time that something seemed off or didn't add up and I decided not to meet up with that person. The same is true if you're on a date and feel uncomfortable. You can make an excuse to leave early, or politely chat and leave. If you're at a bar or restaurant you can even flag down staff to help you leave a difficult situation.
2. Always plan to meet somewhere public - Do not meet at someone's house that you do not know. They may seem great, but unfortunately you do not know who they are yet or whether they are truly someone you can trust. Also, meeting is key. Yes, a true gentleman (or polite woman) may offer to pick you up for your date. My husband offered to pick me up for the first 4 dates and I would not let him. He was trying to be polite, but I didn't know him well enough to feel comfortable. If they pick you up you are now relying on them to get home. What if the date is going horribly and you need to politely back out? What if you are not feeling safe? If they pick you up they know where you live. Make sure they only know that information once you're ready.
3. Google the person once you find out their last name. - Once I googled a guy after a date and found a very recent mug shot... Yes, this stuff really can and does happen.
4. Always tell at least one person where you are going and the name of who you are meeting. - I did this for every single date I went on. My friend, or family member, would know that I planned to text to check-in when I got home from my date.
Now I don't tell you all of this to scare you. Yes, sometimes bad things do happen, but a lot of great things can happen too! These are the top four rules that I outlined for myself as I entered the dating world. I vowed to follow all of these without exception so I could make sure I was thinking clearly regardless of how my heart was feeling in a situation. You may brainstorm your list and add something entirely different. At the end of the day, you need to make sure you're comfortable and setting yourself up to be not only successful in finding love, but that you remain safe too.
Please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me if you have a suggestion for another safety practice. Let's help each other out!