Online Dating Tips For Safety
Online dating means that you’re meeting up with a total stranger. You don’t know who he is, or what he’s like in person. That can lead to some seriously scary incidents. If you want to make sure your dating time is a safe one, make sure to follow these online dating tips below.
Google your own name before you even sign up for an online dating account.
Go ahead. Do it. Surprised at how much information comes up? Shocked at how reachable you suddenly appear? It can be jarring, especially if you always thought of yourself as a private person.
Knowing this puts a lot of stuff into perspective, especially when you realize that some folks on dating apps might not want to use that information to your benefit. If anything, this can give you a good idea of what people will see if they decide to search you up.
Don’t reveal much about yourself on your online dating profile.
This sounds so extreme, but trust us on this one. Revealing where you work, your full name, or even your real phone number can lead to serious problems. There have been multiple occasions where people gained stalkers as a result of having their personal information online.
You never know who is checking out your profile, and who could decide that they won’t take you ignoring them online for an answer. To make sure you stay safe, don’t reveal where you work until you get to know them, and don’t tell your full name until you actually meet in person.
Get a Googe Voice account.
Your cellphone number isn’t something you should be giving out willy-nilly. In the wrong hands, it can quickly turn into a method of harassment and can also be looked up online. To make sure that you stay safe, it’s best to use a Google Voice account for those first few initial calls.
Google Voice accounts are free, give you a separate number, and also can be switched to a different number. This makes them a smart way to communicate until you get to know them. In many circles, this is called a “burner phone.” It’s a good tool to have.
Don’t be afraid to search up your dates’ photos and information.
Though it may make you feel like a stalker, it’s a smart idea to search up the photos and information your potential date gives you. Many would-be dates got cancelled when they realized the person on the other end wasn’t the person in the profile.
If you get your date’s full name, a quick search can help you figure out if they’re being honest about who they are. If they’re not being honest about who they are or you find something alarming regarding their past, then it’s better to skip the date. In many situations, it’s a bullet dodged.
When it comes to online dating, keep your social media photos and dating profile separate.
Most people don’t take a second thought when they post photos from their Instagram or Facebook accounts to their dating profiles. After all, it seems like it’s a way to save time. No one wants to have to take more photos of themselves, right?
It seems so innocent, but surprise—reverse image searches are a thing. And since this is a possibility, your social media photos can act as a way for someone with a little tech savvy to find out your personal information.
Meet up in a public place for at least two dates.
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s still one of the most intelligent ways to ensure that nothing bad happens to you. Even if your potential suitor sounds amazing via phone and text, you still haven’t met him. This means that you really can’t gauge what their intentions are or how they really are as a person.
Meeting up at a total stranger’s house can easily turn into a true crime story. That’s why it’s best to meet up at a public place and see how you feel with your date before you trust them to be okay to visit at home. Though it’s better to meet up at a public location for the first two dates, many find just sticking to the first date to be okay.
Drive yourself, or take public transportation.
There have been many, many instances where predators took to the online dating scene and asked women if they minded sharing the ride with them. Though most requests like this are done with good intentions, there’s always a chance that your date isn’t who he claims to be.
Many online predators choose to insist on picking the girl up as a way to force her to stay on a date without a way to get back home. Their goal usually involves refusing to bring her home unless she consents to let him in her house—or worse. The best way to avoid being “locked in” with a date that poses a threat to you is to have a way to get back home that doesn’t involve them driving you.
While you’re at it, don’t let them walk you home.
Back in the 1950s, a suitor was considered to be extremely rude if he didn’t offer to walk his date home. However, this isn’t the time of Leave It To Beaver anymore. People don’t know each other that well, and when you’re working on staying safe while dating online, your home address becomes pretty private stuff.
Many ill-intentioned people have offered to walk a date home, only to try to force themselves through the door when they realized a goodbye was all that was going to happen. Don’t let this happen to you. Make a point of going home alone, and if you’re concerned about them trying to follow you, keep an eye out while you walk back home.
Invest in some pepper spray.
In an ideal world, you would never have to even consider this to be part of your dating gear. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. Even if you work with the best online dating tips, there’s always a chance that you could end up with an assailant who just won’t take no for an answer.
Self-defense is important, and at times, a confrontation isn’t going to be avoidable. It’s an investment that can help protect you when most of your other safety measures have failed. No one wants to have to carry pepper spray on them, but it’s better to have it when you need to use it rather than to be stuck without.
Keep an eye out for online dating profile red flags.
Though this isn’t always the case, there are often signs that a potential suitor could pose problems—and most of those can be spotted through their dating profiles or via chats. If your date uses aggressive language, says negative things about your gender, or gets very pushy, don’t bother meeting up with them.
In many cases, predators have a tendency of trying to keep up a nice face until they think they’re bound for success. They usually can’t keep up the facade too easily, which leads them to saying abusive things before women even meet them.
Looking for warning signs isn’t just a good move. It’ll weed out bad dates and help inch you closer to a completely authentic, lasting connection.
Listen to your gut.
Does that charming guy you’ve been chatting up make you feel uneasy, even though you can’t figure out why? Do you have this weird “pull” that tells you to skip the date today? If you’re wise, you should listen to those feelings—at least, according to the experts.
You will be hard-pressed to find a safety guru who doesn’t tell you to trust your instincts. In The Gift of Fear, security expert Gavin deBecker explained that the gut feelings we have are actually a response of our self-preservation instincts at work. A lot of calamities could be avoided if people listened to their intuition.
Have a safety call.
You should never go on a date without telling at least one friend where you are going, with who, and what you will be doing. This information can help police if you don’t come back after your date, grim as that sounds.
Keep reading experts’ online dating safety tips.
Yes, these online dating tips are a great start when it comes to keeping yourself safe and avoiding the dangers that come with typical online meetups. However, you shouldn’t rely on these alone.
These online safety tips are really just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more that you can learn about dating safely, and even more that experts can teach you about finding love online. By continuing your online dating education, you can brush up your street smarts and have a better time on a date.