Do These 5 Things to Keep Yourself Safe on Online Dates
With so many people joining online dating sites, staying safe has become top priority. The dating landscape has become nothing short of a minefield. Few platforms run any sort of background check on their users, much less a detailed one. If you’re new to dating online, here are some tips to help you stay safe.
1.Run a Background Check
To run a background check on a date, you need to collect some basic details about them, even if it is only a phone number or email address. Their user name and picture on the site is not enough to go on. You need to know who you’re really communicating with. Obviously, someone with a grainy or fuzzy profile picture has made reverse photo lookup impossible, whether intentionally or not. It’s best to stay away from profiles with just a few words in the personal information section.
Background check services can perform screening for free or for a small fee. You can search Google or social networks yourself. Know that you might have issues down the line if you find negative information or simply don’t feel right about the person based on what you find.
There’s no need for qualms about looking potential dates up on the internet. It’s never too late to bail on someone if you feel at risk.
2. Be Careful with Alcohol
Don’t drink too much during the date, and don’t leave your food or beverage unattended. Never drink more than you can carry; if you don’t know how much that is, stop when you get a buzz. If you must leave the table or bar, take your drink with you. Date rape drugs are far from history. What’s more, alcohol reduces inhibitions, making it easier to fall victim to someone with criminal intentions. If you don’t know the person that well, don’t let them take you somewhere “private.”
3. Reject Offers to “Chill” at Home
If someone you’ve just met insists on meeting at your or their place, take it as a red flag. You may think there’s nothing wrong with chilling in front of the TV, but maybe that’s not what they have in mind. It’s simply too soon to tell sometimes. Even if the person has honest intentions, it might not be a good idea.
Meet people in public on the first several dates, ideally at a familiar location. Not only does this ensure your safety, but it also makes it more probable for a bystander to remember seeing you in case things took a turn for the worse.
If it’s your first date, why not make it a group one? This is the thing to do if safety is your main concern. However, it’s not a guarantee you’ll always be safe with the person. They will act differently in a group than one on one. In a group setting, they may conceal their true desires and intentions. You also won’t get an idea of what they’re really like. If they’re shy and introverted, they will feel uncomfortable if they even agree to.
4. Stop Daydreaming
Always focus on the here and now. You’ll be tempted to start daydreaming about your future together if you hit it off. Learn to tell the difference between your perception of someone and reality. Never put people on pedestals. Make sure you get to know them.
5. When in Doubt, Delete and Block
This might sound premature and even harsh, but it’s reasonable when safety is your biggest concern. If the person is making you uncomfortable in any way, let them know and change the subject or stop talking to them. If they persist, delete and block. Don’t hesitate to report people who are sending you inappropriate messages.
If in doubt, just move on. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t met them in person. If something feels off, it probably is. It’s just as easy to start chatting as it is to delete or block someone. You may have chatted for weeks. You’re under no obligation to meet them in person. Never give out your number, Skype, email, or anything else that can identify you. Keep your social accounts private.
Sociopaths can pretend to be normal people for months and years and do so quite convincingly. Being that they are few and far between, hitting upon one is rare, but like they say, better safe than sorry.
Online dating may show great promise – surveys indicate that in the next two decades, almost 70% of people will have met a long-term partner online. Still, a healthy dose of suspicion never hurt anyone.