It is almost impossible to tell where or how you will meet the love of your life. There are those who have met their soulmates in bars, war zones, and during vacations, among others. However, improvements in technology have made it possible for us to try out online dating. There are various websites and dating apps that enable us to meet up with people in fun new ways.
While online dating seems cool, it has introduced some unpleasant issues too. Unfortunately, not every individual you meet in the online world has good intentions. When you interact with strangers online, you expose yourself to online harassment, identity theft, and other criminal activities.
Even worse, you could put yourself in physical danger should you decide to meet these people in the real world. The saddest thing would be to make yourself vulnerable and become a victim. The good thing is that these individuals only make up the smallest percentage of the online population.
To keep you out of harm’s way when dating online, we have compiled some of the best tips to help you out. While these tips cannot guarantee your emotional and physical safety, they will help to protect you as you try your luck in the online dating world.
1. Only meet in a public place
Even if your intention is just to have a quick hook-up, a public place is the most suitable place for you to meet for the first time. Go to a coffee shop, museum or any other public place. Doing this will give you more time to learn one or two things about the person.
You will also be in a position to identify any obvious red flags in case there are any before you meet again in a more private area. Meeting in a public place is also another effective way of avoiding ill-intentioned people.
2. Dress appropriately
If your intention is to have a long-term relationship, there is no need to put on that super-sexy outfit. While you may want the other person to find you attractive, refrain from sending an overtly sexual message that may scare your potential suitors away.
This is because such a suitor may think that your only intention is a hook-up. However, if your main objective is sex then you are free to show off your assets.
3. Never doubt your instincts
While you may ignore all the other tips that we have discussed, this one should never be taken lightly. If by any chance you don’t feel the situation is ideal for you, just get out. Don’t think twice about it, just act on your instincts.
You are never under any obligation whatsoever to continue the date. If you find the situation uncomfortable then it is obvious that the other person is not your perfect match.
4. Inform your family or friends about your intentions
It is very important that at least one of your family members or friends knows what you are planning to do. They need to know who you are meeting, where you will be meeting and when the meeting will take place. Make arrangements to check in with the person once or twice during the date.
It may be even better to have some friends hanging around at the meeting venue, keeping an eye to see how things are unfolding during the date. This is a sure way of making sure that you will be safe during the whole process.
5. Verify the website or dating app before signing up
There are several dating websites and apps on the internet that offer platforms for people to meet on. Some of these websites or apps may not really care about you or what happens to you if they carelessly expose your personal information.
It is, therefore, important to choose a website or app that has your best interest at heart. fckme.org, for instance, will make sure that all your interests are well taken care of. Such a website is ideal to try out.
6. Verify further
You may do your own research about the person you want to be your partner and fail to come up with anything suspicious straight away. This should not be reason enough to go ahead and trust your online friend.
Feel free to order a background check on the individual to find out more. A person who has your best interests at heart will not get offended should they learn what you did.
7. Take your time and go slow
There is no need to rush things. Take one step at a time as you try to cement the relationship naturally. Particularly, you need to be careful about the premature declarations of love. Don’t accept them too early in your online relationship.
Requests for sexy photos should also be avoided at such an early stage of your online relationship. Generally, never fall too fast for a person you’ve never seen.
8. Meet as soon as possible
It is very easy for both parties to keep secrets or tell lies when you are strictly engaging online, over text messages or through phone calls. If the distance between you seems to be a big obstacle that could stop you from meeting physically as soon as possible, try platforms like Skype to give you some face time.
If your online crush is hesitant to meet physically or via Skype, the relationship may not have a future. It may also mean that something sketchy is going on.
9. Don’t fear offending or making someone feel uncomfortable
You have the freedom to ask anyone pursuing you online as many questions as you like. Feel free to ask any kind of question you want. Doing this will put your mind at ease. If there is any information that you need to know, ask for the information without fear.
If the online person is who he or she claims to be then it should be very easy for them to make you feel safe and comfortable.
10. Have a self-defense tool
This is a personal decision that you will need to make. However, having a defense tool normally makes someone feel safer. In the event that your date turns out to be a bad person, do not be scared to use your self-defense tool which could be a taser or pepper spray, for example. Even a flashlight could be considered a self-defense tool in some cases.