Online dating is a valid way to meet new people and has become very popular. In fact, thousands of men and women are probably online right now looking to meet their next partner. But as great as it is, it’s also a venue where criminals and just plain sketchy people lurk, so you must keep safety in mind when you’re navigating the online dating venue.
Regarding safety, the first thing to understand is that you should never give out personal or sensitive information online. Don’t give your address, financial information, or even your full name if you’re simply browsing around. Understand that there may be scammers posing as attractive men or women, trying to steal your personal information so they can somehow use it to their advantage.
So, essentially, be smart about what kind of information you’re giving out.
When you find someone you want to meet in person
Now, let’s say you’ve been chatting with someone you want to meet in person. You think perhaps you have a connection. Whether this person lives in your area or a country where you’ll have to travel to, remember that safety is an issue you should not take lightly.
Safety comes first
There are several things you need to keep in mind when setting up your first meeting, with safety being the most important. Your person of interest may have told you that he is a great guy, all his friends love him, and he couldn’t hurt a flea, but take caution because he could be flat-out lying. He (or she) might not be remotely close to what he’s been telling you. This is one reason you should always meet in a public setting, preferably one that you are familiar and comfortable with.
There are many options for meeting during the day. You can go to a park, zoo, outside café, sporting event, and more. Depending on your shared interests, you could go for a bike ride, go hiking, shopping, or just sit on a bench at the park to make the initial meeting enjoyable. Have a conversation about various meetup ideas and then narrow it down to one. Compromise works quite well in this situation.
Evening meetings can include restaurants, coffee shops, museums, live music, or bowling alleys. Stay away from the bars and movie theaters, as you may want to avoid alcohol and places that do not offer the opportunity to talk and get to know one another.
Let someone know where you will be
The time has come to meet your date in public. Before you venture out, be sure to tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting (you better have their name by now) and when you think you will be home. When you meetup with your date, let your friend know you’re there safely and things are on the up and up. Send a brief text or call them. This allows them to know you’re off to a good start.
You may also want to let them know when you arrive back home safely for the evening. This gives them reassurance that you’re safe.
Drive yourself to the meeting location
It’s best if you drive yourself to the meeting location, rather than allow the other person to pick you up. Remember that you don’t really know this other person yet, so take caution. This also allows you an early escape should you meet the person and think, “Oh, no way.”
Don’t get drunk
You might want to skip the alcohol when you meetup with your date the first time. There’s been plenty of people that learned this lesson the hard way, ending up drunk and doing things they wish they’d never done. Or worse – getting taken advantage of or kidnapped. Stay sober or stick with one or two drinks tops.
Meeting people online is a great way to find a suitable partner, as the whole world is right there at your fingertips. Just be sure to keep safety in the forefront of your mind, as your safety ought to be your number one priority.