online dating safety

Online dating safety tips from a pro

As we slowly dive into the digital world and our lives start to switch from offline into online realities, the ways we search for our significant others is changing as well. It has become a norm for the majority of us to look for companionship online. These days we find friends and even lovers with the help of our smartphones and dating websites.

A lot of our friends likely managed to find their spouses on the internet. Their stories often remind of fairy tales of the twenty-first century, where the two long-lost soulmates found each other when he liked her picture on one of the social networks or dating apps. It is undoubtedly true, you can meet the love of your life online. The world knows a lot of different examples where it has been possible. Read testimonials of happy couples who share their journey to marriage posted on matchmaking services.

Yet, we should not be disarmed thinking that everything happening online is butterflies and magical unicorns. Users are greatly encouraged to stay alert at all times. Meeting with strangers might be a dangerous affair, not simply because there are people who may be a catfish, which is also a rather disappointing experience!

Dating online safety becomes the priority

online dating safety tips

From a very young age, our parents teach us to be careful with strangers on the streets. As we grow up, we tend to adapt and learn how to look out for suspicious behaviour and alerting signs when meeting new people. The issue with the internet is that it can be hard to spot these signs. The World Wide Web is giving up a sense of anonymity, and people can easily pretend to be someone else. 

The problem of safety is becoming sharper for dating applications that are initially designed to introduce millions of people to each other on a daily basis. Once the developers of such solutions realized the issue, they started to emphasize the importance of security and provide online dating safety guidelines for their users. 

Matchmaking services often require users to familiarize themselves with the ways they can ensure their online safety and send notifications of reminders. On top of that, there are special features that enable users to complain about others’ suspicious or harmful behaviour to the service itself. In this case, the platform would restrict access to a user who received complaints from the community. 

Some dating apps go the extra mile for the safety of people putting trust in their services. There are systems which introduced the «emergency call» feature, where users can make a call from their mobile phone to report an emergency if the date goes catastrophically wrong and they feel themselves in danger.

How to keep yourself safe while using online dating services

dating safety

Whilst dating applications are doing everything they can to make us feel safe online and when meeting our potential companions, there are methods all of us can use to ensure safety for ourselves. Below, we have collected a few safety tips for online dating that will minimize the risks of getting yourself in trouble when meeting someone you communicated with online. These are the guidelines gathered from people who have been using dating applications for years and, therefore, offer practical approaches for ensuring security. Following these online dating safety rules should keep you out of problems.

Make sure your friends know where you are and with whom

The first rule of safe online dating is to make sure at least one person knows the time and place of your first date with your online suitor. You can let your friend know the exact location where your date will take place and the name of the individual you are going with. It might be worth thinking through a plan B, in case your date goes wrong. 

Some people come up with a code word and agree with their friends to send them this word so that they can call and make an excuse to evacuate them from the unsuccessful date. There is also a feature offered by the majority of messengers — to share a live location. Use it to send the requested data before going to the date. This way, your friends would know where you are to come and get you out of trouble in case they need to.

Kindly decline inappropriate offers and requests

You might think you have found your soulmate and feel the strongest bond ever with your suitor from a dating app. However, going to their place during your first date may not be the best idea. Similarly, if they offer to come over and have dinner at their house, it may not be the safest strategy to undertake. 

It is better to give it a few dates (the majority of dating sites’ users say they stick to the rule of five dates) before visiting their home. Get to know the person a little more, ensure they are trustworthy and not some kind of a weirdo. Once you feel like you know them well enough and it is safe to go over to their place, you can do so. When you are headed there, it is better to take your own car and drive it, so you have a way out if your in-house date gets out of control.

No need to be polite if you sense bad vibes from your date

The human brain works in the way that we often try to please other people. If you are sensing that the person is not quite right for you, you are too different or generally feel a bad vibe, do not be hesitant to get up and leave. We always like to seem nice and genuine to others, but pleasing a stranger might not be the best idea, especially if you feel like you are in danger. Come up with a valid and reasonable excuse to immediately leave your date, do not try to please anyone. Remember, it’s your life and safety at stake!

Agree only to first dates in public

safety tips for online dating

When you are agreeing to see your online friend, choose to meet out at a place where you’d be surrounded by people. It is generally unsafe to meet strangers at a remote location. Therefore, stick to crowded places like restaurants or bars as there will be people who would be able to help you in case something wrong happens. 

Choosing a bar as a first date location is a good idea. Not only are they full with other people, a lot of them nowadays have a secret code for people on first dates. You simply need to go to the bartender and ask for their security code. Most commonly, it would be a special name of a drink, which you will need to order to let the staff know that you need to be rescued from the unsuccessful date. 

Another great benefit of having dates in public places is that you can ask your friends to come over and sit through your date but at a different table. This way you can ensure security and comfort for yourself.

Always watch your drink

Unfortunately, the stories of people getting drugged in night clubs and bars are becoming more and more prevailing. In order to avoid this issue, keep an eye on your drink. It is advisable not to take drinks that were ordered before you came to the place. At the same time, do not leave your drink if you are going to the bathroom. When you are meeting up with a stranger, you never know what their intentions might be. Therefore, it is always better to be extra careful, especially when it’s your health that may be at risk.

Place your security at the top of your priorities

Dating services have made us feel more connected than we ever felt before. The fact that we can meet people from other locations, expand our network of acquaintances and get a chance of meeting our lovers with a few simple clicks is fantastic. But, at the same time, as they provide us with social benefits, dating apps can impose some significant risks to our security. 

Users need to comply and follow the above tips when they are meeting their dates from matchmaking websites. The above rules for online safety have been drawn up with advice from dating app users and specialists; they cover all possible problematic outcomes of a first date with a stranger. Now that you are familiar with them, it is time to find the love of your life and go on safe dates only!

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