Times have changed and so has the dating game. The past decade has seen an increase in dating websites or applications for single people to meet online and progress the relationship to physical dates. If you have been dabbling in the online dating space, you will have heard many cringe-worthy stories. There are various considerations to take to heart when setting up your dating profile or amending your current one. Staying safe online should be your very first consideration. Protecting your privacy and personal information is essential.
When your dating profile is online, remember that literally thousands of strangers will have access to the photo and information you have provided. Steer away from providing your full name and street address, email address or contact information.
Unfortunately, online predators are a reality and dating situations can turn into dangerous encounters very quickly. When agreeing to meet up, ensure that a friend or family member knows exactly where you will be, at what time, and with whom. Agree to meet up at a public place and never meet at the person’s home or somewhere quiet and intimate. Leave these meetings for later, when you know your date better.
Avoiding too much alcohol on the first date is also a good idea. Alcohol inhibits a person’s judgment and as tempting as it is to have liquid courage, it is better left alone on the first date. Always protect your drink to avoid being taken advantage of or having to deal with the consequences of a date rape drug.
Ensure your mobile phone is charged and you have someone on standby to collect you if you feel uncomfortable at any given moment. Trust your gut instinct; it is usually right.
Beware The Catfish
And then there is the catfish scenario. A catfish is a person who pretends to be someone they are not in order to lure a person into their dating life. Sometimes, a catfish can end up extorting an innocent person for money or just a cruel laugh.
There are a few warning bells that may signal this person is not who they say they are. Consider using a reverse image search tool to check if their online photos belong to them or if they have been reported in certain chat communities. This is the quickest way to expose a catfish!
If they hide their faces or are wary of meeting in person – ask yourself what they could be hiding. Are they married or involved in another relationship? Are they trying to reel you in emotionally before exposing their true selves or are they just wasting your time? If any of these questions trouble you, you are probably in the company of a catfish! Once again, trust your gut instinct!
Take Your Time And Be Selective
When dating in general, there is no reason to rush into relationships or into dates. Take your time to establish whether you want to go on a date, whether you want to meet up for a second date or progress the relationship. If you are not comfortable with going on a blind date, you can absolutely say no. Never feel pressured to go on a date and if you are, the chances are that you will end up regretting it. Take your time, be selective, and stay safe.