With the increase of traffic on dating websites, it is vital to find safer ways to approach online dating. I wholeheartedly disagree with the social stigma that places judgment on people who are interested in forging connections with strangers through the ever-changing world of the internet. However, I do believe that you should always proceed with caution in any situation where there are endless unknown elements. Keep this list of completely safe ways to approach online dating in mind as you decide whether you are going to hit that reply button!
1. Protect Your Private Information
One of the best ways to approach online dating is to make sure that you do not provide any information that will eventually allow your privacy to be invaded. Although this may seem like an obvious point, it bears repeating because you can never be too cautious! I wouldn't make my name available anywhere on the site; if someone wants to know what to call you, they are going to have to explicitly ask you for it.
2. When in Doubt, Turn to Google
Ladies, before you decide to meet up with your online interest in person, you should make sure that they are being genuine about their identity. Did you know that you can not only Google search a person's name, but their images as well? Go to your Google search engine and click on the tab that says images; this will allow you to either insert the picture's URL or manually upload it yourself. Keep an eye out for any red flags that you may find; even one falsity can be a deal breaker.
3. Not Gonna Reach My Telephone
I wouldn't suggest offering your phone number until you are completely positive that you want to take your conversations further. There is no law that requires you to make yourself available to phone calls. In fact, I would be suspicious of people who badger you for it on a consistent basis!
4. Get to Know Me
Most dating sites do not conduct background checks on their users, meaning that you need to get to know the person you are connecting to online before things escalate. If your online conversations seems choppy and well-rehearsed, there's a chance that you are not getting an honest picture.
5. Me, My Friends and I
When meeting with someone you don't know for the first time, you should always tell a friend. In fact, to take extra precautions, make sure to either text your exact location and plans to a trusted friend or have them nearby; it is always better to be safe than sorry. I cannot stress this point enough!
6. Blame It on the Alcohol
In any situation, regardless of if you are on a blind date or meeting an online interest, never consume alcohol to the point that your inhibitions are no longer intact. “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” F. Scott Fitzgerald couldn't have said it any better than in this inspiring line.
7. Shut up and Drive
Last but not least, always make sure that you are in charge of your own transportation – Regardless of if you are taking the bus/train/taxi or driving your car. Having your own means of traveling can make the difference between potentially being stranded in the presence of a stranger and having an easily accessible escape route if your date doesn't go as planned.
Don't ever be ashamed to turn to online dating sites if you aren't happy with your current options. The best thing to remember is that none of your information should come freely or without your permission! Have you ever joined any sites? Was your overall experience positive or negative?