Online Dating Safety Tips

Picture of a keyboard key with two heartsLet’s talk about online dating and safety. Like most things in life, it involves some risks. For most of the time the risks are very small. We do our utmost for keep our members safe but we need our members to be aware and the things that they can do to keep things in check.

We’ve summarised a few simple rules, let’s review these:

Protect Your Privacy

Seems like an obvious one but it bears repeating. Keep your personal details private. Stay away from using your personal email or even work email which uses your real name. It’s safer to sign up for a free email account and giving yourself a funny email nickname like LordLoL. Okay, this one was a rubbish example, but you get the idea. Just have fun with it. Use online aliases wherever you can and only share your first name and the county you live in. Many dating sites let you chat with other members, thereby protecting your anonymity.

Online Chats/Social Media Sites

Online privacy doesn’t not stop with your email address. Check your social media profiles and make sure you understand the provider’s privacy settings and change these to keep things hidden from strangers. You would be surprised how many people still share all their details publicly and for anyone to see.

Sign Up with a reputable dating website

There are now lots dating websites out there and it’s important you choose the one that suits your needs and likes. We advise you to do your homework before signing up. Read their terms and conditions, understand their billing if it’s a chargeable service, talk with others who have used the site and check out the sites reputation via social media sites or search engines. Rule of thumb is a good provider has transparent business practices and is quick to resolve problems.

Easy does it

Meeting new people is exciting and fun and we are all for it. Keep it simple though when you start out and first get to know someone. Online dating gives you the chance to collect information about the other person before meeting them. However keep an eye out for potential warning signs like these:

  • Gives inconsistent information about their appearance, age, relationship status or employment
  • Doesn’t want to provide a photo / has no photo on profile
  • Avoids talking on the phone once the relationship has developed further
  • Makes demeaning or inappropriate remarks

The next step

If you have been communicating with someone online and you feel comfortable pursuing the relationship, the next logical step is to speak with them directly – either over the phone or via webchat. This will allow you to get to know the person further. Do you like the sound of their voice, do you find it easy to talk to them? Is there chemistry? Just remember to continue to keep your personal details private.

Being online often gives a false sense of familiarity and people start to trust others more quickly, resulting in faster moving courtships. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but if you are the type of person who likes to take things slower it can make you feel uncomfortable. Make it clear to the other person and set boundaries. If they continue to pressurise you, break it off. Always trust your instincts.

Meeting in Person

So, you have got this far and you are very excited to finally meet him/her in person. You’ll probably worry about what outfit to wear and the likes. But before you do that, consider the following:

  • Do you feel comfortable with this person, or did they seem overly pushy to meet you in person?
  • Do you believe they are who they say they are?
  • Do you feel this could develop into a potential relationship? If not, what are your reasons for meeting this person?

If you aren’t ready to meet, then don’t. Chances are there’s a reason why you feel the way you do, so give yourself more time or call it off altogether.

Next, remember the following rules for your first date:

  • Meet at a public place like a café or restaurant and make sure you are familiar with the area
  • Make your own way there and back home as well. Pre-book a taxi if necessary.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you are going, who you are going with and what time they ought to expect you back home.
  • If it would make you feel more comfortable, why not ask a friend to sit at a nearby table to keep an eye on you?
  • Take your mobile phone with you and make sure it’s fully charged.
  • Never leave your food or drink unattended.

Your date has come to an end and when it’s time to leave, do so on your own. Graciously decline offers of sharing a cab or getting a lift home. Avoid going straight home if you can, instead you might drive via the shops or another public place first.

Dating is and should be fun, just remember in all matters of the heart keep your mind switched on as well.

Have fun and be safe!

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