How do you stay safe when looking for love or hookup online? Here’s how to navigate the world of online dating successfully!
Online dating is a convenient way to find your match. Whether you’re looking for a casual hookup or a hot and heavy long-term romance, the dating pool is ready and waiting for you to dive in.
However, as with anything online, online dating has its pitfalls. These can range from romance scams to rushing into something too quickly because you overlooked the red flags.
Before you allow your heart to take the steering wheel, it’s a great idea to understand the do’s and don’ts of online dating safety.
Do’s of Online Dating Safety
What can you do to protect yourself when exploring online dating? Sure, the physical gap between you and potential partners offers physical safety. But let’s be honest; there are some sneaky creatures out there.
So, what are some of the proactive measures you can take when hitting the online dating scene? Here are 7 helpful things you can do:
1. Choose Reputable Dating Platforms
When starting your online dating journey, opt for well-known and reputable dating websites or apps. Do some homework and research and read reviews to ensure the platform has a history of safety and privacy. Many reputable platforms often have features like profile verification and customer support to address any issues that may arise.
2. Protect Your Personal Information
Be ultra-cautious about sharing sensitive personal information with someone you’ve just met online. Avoid revealing your home address, phone number, financial details, or other sensitive data until you feel comfortable and confident about the person’s intentions. Romance scammers are forever updating their modus operandi, so you must have your wits about you despite your enthusiasm.
Consider creating a separate email account dedicated to online dating. This helps keep your primary email address more secure and minimizes the risk of exposing personal or work-related information.
3. Keep Conversations Within the Platform
As tempting or convenient as it might be to communicate on personal messaging or social media platforms, stick to communicating on the dating platform’s messaging system for a while. Doing this provides an additional layer of privacy and security until you feel the person has good intentions and is trustworthy enough.
4. Take Your Time
Building a solid connection with someone takes time. Therefore, you should avoid rushing into anything and take the time to gradually get to know the person through conversations. Additionally, in your interactions, look for consistency in their behavior and responses, as appearances can be deceiving.
5. Inform a Friend or Family Member
If you plan to meet a prospective partner in person, inform a friend or family member about your plans. Share the details of your first meeting, including the location, time, and the person’s profile information. This way, someone knows where you are and who you are meeting in case of an emergency.
6. Video Call Before Meeting
Video calls are a fantastic way to suss someone out before meeting in person. They allow you to verify the person’s identity and ensure they match their profile pictures, reducing the risk of falling victim to catfishing or impersonation. If the person is hesitant to chat via video call, proceed with caution!
7. Trust Your Instincts
Finally, pay attention to your gut feelings. If something doesn’t feel right or makes you uncomfortable, don’t ignore your instincts. Your intuition can be a valuable guide to protect yourself from potential risks and help you know if you’ve found “the one.”
Don’ts of Online Dating
Okay, so we’ve covered the do’s of promoting online dating safety. But what should you avoid doing to protect yourself in this setup?
Next, we’ll look at seven “don’ts” of online dating that can help to keep you safe.
1. Don’t Rush Into Sharing Personal Information
Avoid sharing personal details too quickly, especially with someone you’ve just met online. Instead, take the time to build trust before disclosing sensitive information.
2. Don’t Send Explicit Photos or Content
Be cautious about sharing intimate or explicit content with someone you’ve just met online. This material can be used against you or shared without your consent, leading to potential embarrassment, harm, and loss. While your pictures can be a little flirty, it’s still better to leave some details to the imagination.
3. Don’t Fall for Sob Stories or Financial Requests
Be wary of individuals who share sob stories or ask for financial assistance online. Online scammers often use emotional manipulation to exploit your kindness, generosity, and eagerness to please. Never send money to someone you’ve only interacted with online unless you accept you may never get it back.
4. Use The Block Feature
Never let anyone make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your wants or needs, your preferences, or your lifestyle decisions. If you embrace an attitude of positivity and the other person doesn’t, or they negatively question you about your choices, block them and move on. The same goes for anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or is aggressive.
5. Report Bad Behavior
Most online dating apps allow you to not only block users but to report bad behavior, too. If someone has overstepped their boundaries, bullies you, or is rude or disrespectful, report them. This can ensure that they don’t get to repeat the same behavior with someone else.
6. Don’t Meet in Secluded or Private Locations
For safety reasons, avoid meeting in secluded or private locations, especially during the initial stages of getting to know someone. Instead, it’s better to stick to public places with other people.
7. Don’t Give in to Pressure
If your potential partner is pressuring you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, move on. If you truly are a match made in the stars, they’ll never force or coerce you into overstepping your boundaries.
Put Your Safety First, Always!
By following these do’s and don’ts, you can reduce the risks and enjoy getting to know new people in a secure environment. Remember to take your time, trust your instincts, and prioritize your safety above all else. Your perfect match will come at the right time, and they’ll make you feel happy, fulfilled, and safe!