Online Dating Tips to Help You Stay Safe
With billions of users accessing social media platforms each day across the world, online dating has naturally grown in popularity too. In previous years, popular websites such as Plenty of Fish and eHarmony dominated the online dating scene, however, thanks to technology and smartphones, there are tons of mobile apps like Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder that have transformed online dating for the better, helping you to find matches much easier and faster than ever before.
When embarking on your quest to find the one, it’s important that you keep your cards close to your chest. While it can be great to connect with someone online, you can never be too sure they are who they say they are. Whether you’ve tried online dating before or you’re ready to take the plunge and try out something new, here are some useful tips to keep you safe when online dating.
10 Tips to Help You Stay Safe When Online Dating
1. Do Your Research
Before you jump into the world of online dating, it’s important that you do your research first. Once you’ve found an online dating website that works for you, it’s advisable to perform a simple Google search before you head out on a date. While no one is saying this means you have to stalk your date, having an idea of who the person is before you meet can put your mind at ease. Searching for your date on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can help make sure that who you’re planning to meet is the real deal.
2. Perform a Dating Background Check
If you’ve done a basic search and not found the results you wanted, you may want to consider performing a dating background check. You can visit publicrecordsreviews.com that enables you to find online dating records for anyone instantly. Whether you’re planning to meet someone from a dating website or app, or you would like to see if they have any other active online dating records, conducting a public records search can give you the information you want. The report will display links to their dating profiles, as well as other important information such as their username, bio, and photos, which may be shared on other dating websites.
3. Use a Google Voice Number
Rather than using your own phone number on online dating platforms, you may want to go a step further to keep yourself safe and protected by using a free Google Voice phone number. There are many benefits that come with using the Google Voice app. Not only will using Google Voice give you the freedom to check calls, messages, and voicemails without handing out your real number, you can block individuals who come across as a little sketchy. It’s best to keep your personal number safe and secure, and only for those who you feel comfortable handing it out to.
4. Video Chat Before Meeting
In the modern world we live in, you can never be too sure about who you are chatting to online. If you have arranged a date with a potential love interest, the last thing you want is to rock up and find they aren’t who they say they are. Thankfully, there are lots of avenues that you can go down to minimize the risk, such as using a video chat platform like Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime. Using these tools can be hugely beneficial in giving you an insight into who your date is before meeting him or her. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you should be aware of what catfishing is, so using a video chat platform will help put your mind at ease.
5. Chat by Phone
For those who prefer the old school approach, why not reach out by phone before heading out on your first date? Talking to your date via phone enables you to hear their voice and pick up on certain verbal cues, which may have been hidden throughout texts or instant messaging. What’s more, you can get a better idea of what the individual is like before your first meeting. If you get a bad vibe from your call, it’s best to not follow through with a date. You should always trust your gut feeling, so if something feels too good to be true, it probably is!
6. Take Public Transport or Drive Yourself
Before you head out on a date, you need to figure out how you’re getting from A to B. Instead of accepting a carpool invitation, it’s advisable to take your own car or use public transport if possible. For those who choose to carpool, you may not realize all the information your date will be able to find out, such as where you live, as well as having control on where to go for your date, therefore, taking your own vehicle instead will lower the risk of putting yourself in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.
Taking public transport also means that you have an escape route should you feel uneasy. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the dead of night, especially if your date hasn’t been a success, so getting a taxi home or having a friend or family member come pick you up will mean that your safety isn’t at risk.
7. Meet in a Public Place
For your first date, it’s best to steer clear of going somewhere private. Rather than meeting at their place, it’s advised to stick with a public place that is full of pedestrians. Whether you live in a village, town, or city, there are bound to be plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars that can be great options for a first date. Knowing that there’s plenty of people around can put your mind at ease and avoid any uncomfortable situations.
If anything does go wrong on your date, you can be assured that there are people around who can step in and help if needs be. Also, make sure that you let a friend or family member know where you are always, meaning that if something dangerous occurs, they can come and collect you. If a visit to a restaurant or bar is on the cards for your first date, another great idea is to let your waitress or bartender know if things aren’t going great through code. There are some bars that have secret codes that guests can use to notify a member of the team if something is a little off-key.
8. Avoid Sharing Too Much Personal Info
If you’re the type of person that likes to lay out everything on the table, you may not be aware of how much personal information you’re giving away. Even if you feel comfortable with your date, you can never be too sure about what their intentions are on the first date. While you will naturally not want to have any awkward silences throughout your first meet, it’s best not to give out places that you normally visit, or information such as your family member’s locations, or your birthday so quickly. Once you’ve met up with your date a couple of times, you should begin to feel more comfortable around them, which can be the perfect opportunity to share a little more about your life.
9. Carry Pepper Spray
While it may seem like a drastic action to take, it’s always better to be safe than sorry on a first date, so if things go terribly wrong on your date, carrying a can of pepper spray can help you in a dangerous situation. Although no one is saying you should always assume the worst when first meeting someone, having something to protect yourself should you find yourself in danger can give you time to alert the authorities and get yourself to safety.
10. Stay Sober
While it can be nice to have a glass of wine to accompany your meal on your first date, it’s important not to overdo it. Even if the conversation is flowing nicely, the more you drink, the more risk you will be putting yourself in. Although you may think a little alcohol won’t hurt, you could end up saying something you regret, not to mention be unaware of the dangers that surround you.
Regardless of your gender, it’s important that you’re cautious about how much you drink. Your safety and security should be your number one priority, so taking things steady and opting for water or a soft drink can help keep your head clear and ensure that your first date goes smoothly and according to plan.
With millions of people from across the globe using online dating websites and apps on their quest for love, it’s important that you have your wits about you before heading out on a first date. Not only should you be cautious about meeting someone in person, but it’s important that you don’t hand out personal information and financial details either.
There are many scammers who operate on dating websites and apps who prey on vulnerable individuals, so if you come into contact with someone who seems sketchy and not who they say they are, it’s best to block the user, rather than carrying on the conversation.