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15 Online Dating Safety Tips That Could Save You From Danger

Dating is an essential part of the mating ritual. Whether you’re looking for a casual hookup or a serious long term relationship, everybody is game for trying online dating. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, we live in a world where it’s not only necessary to keep your safety a top priority, but imperative, especially when you’re meeting a stranger for a date.

Taking all the necessary safety precautions is sure to be a buzzkill when you’re all hyped up about meeting someone new and excited to know all about them. However, you can’t be too careful these days. With online romance scams to robbery to assault – physical and sexual – that women and men alike are experiencing after meeting strangers for a date, your safety should always be a top priority for you. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and when have you ever regretted being too careful, eh?

Suggested read: Does online dating work? 13 compelling reasons why it might NOT

So follow these essential online dating safety tips to keep yourself safe – at ALL times – when you’re dating.

1. Don’t give your number too early.

woman texting_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

So you’re chatting with someone on Tinder or Bumble, and you click. You feel this connection that you’ve felt, maybe a handful of times in your life. And you think the in-built chat system is distracting, so you switch over to WhatsApp or IMing on your iPhone. But, did you even stop to think that you’re giving out your cell phone number to a stranger, and that they could misuse it? Depending on how tech savvy they are, they could use it to hack into your phone, get your personal details, track what you’re doing, or even annoy you by texting and/or calling you relentlessly. Once you’ve given out your information, it’s out there, no matter what you do. You can’t take it back

2. Don’t post revealing information about yourself.

It’s human nature to seek validation from peers, friends, and family. But when this turns out be a nightmare for you, it seems too awful. Many people put up pictures of their cars, their apartment, or other similar identifying details on their Instagram or other social media accounts. However, your car’s license plate number, your apartment building, and other such pertinent details that you unwittingly put out there, can make you a target and ruin your privacy, even your peace of mind.

3. Don’t give out personal details.

Personal details here refer to things like your mother’s maiden name, your middle name, the town where you were raised, or the date you moved to the city. These seemingly innocuous details hold a wealth of information about you as an individual, and a potential stalker or a creep could use them to try and find you. Even something you think harmless like the place you were born in, could be used to Google you and find other relevant information about you.

4. Be mindful of what pictures you post online.

woman texting_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

It’s natural to show off your awesome figure in that red mini dress on your online dating profile. But, just be careful that certain kinds of people could take such photos as permission for them to take advantage of you. What you need to keep in mind is that not only are genuinely decent people looking to meet a nice woman, but a lot of perverts, creeps, predators, and a combination of all three are, too. So be discerning of the pictures you put out there on your social media accounts, because more often than not, these are linked to your online dating profile, and you’re just sending out the wrong message.

5. Be as vague as you could possibly be

Talking about things like your job title, the role you play in the organization, the name of the firm you work for, the college you went to, or even something so trivial as the neighborhood you live in, are all common while dating online. However, don’t give out these specific details till you get to know the person a little better. If you give out such specifics, it’s like inviting a creep to find out where to look for you. Granted that these are essential when you’re trying to get to know a person, online or offline, but be vague and find other topics to talk about.

6. Googling someone before a date is smart, not paranoid behavior

google search_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

It’s simple logic that you always put your best foot forward when you’re getting to know someone. So it’s better to be safe than sorry and Google the person you’re going on a date with. While a simple search would suffice, there’s no harm in doing an advanced search either.

7. Don’t judge a book by its cover

It’s often thought that good looking people are often nice and vice versa. You can learn a lot from someone’s photos, but there’s also the possibility of being misled by the same. Remember, even psychopaths can be charming and charismatic. A nice smile, polite demeanor, and a harmless air about them doesn’t mean they’re not hiding a dark, twisted side. So be careful when trusting anyone new, and never judge a book by its cover.

Suggested read: 12 common misconceptions about online dating that are far from true

8. Always pick the place

It’s always better if you picked the place, instead of letting your date pick it. You do not want to be caught on their turf. Although the chances of this happening are pretty slim, it just takes one person with hidden motives to harm you. So pick a place that is in one of the busiest parts of the city, and a place which you’ve frequented often.

9. Meet in public

couple on a date_New_Love_Times

Image source: Dollarphotoclub

This holds for the first few dates, at the very least. It could be public parks, cafés, restaurants, or pretty much any public place. As mentioned previously, choose places you’re familiar with, avoiding dark, secluded bars or ‘too intimate’ restaurants. Don’t pick remote places which are out of the way from the main thoroughfare. Also avoid places like a hiking trail, a date on a boat, or an out of the way park. Although these might seem very romantic for the first few dates, be very very leery of such places because there might not be anyone around to help you, should something untoward happen.

10. Don’t lead someone on

Situations like stalking, harassment, or even assault can occur through no fault of your own. All it takes is a chaste kiss on the cheek, or a hug to be misinterpreted, and they could go off on a delusional fantasy where you’ve declared your love for them through these actions. You can never know what goes on in a person’s mind, so be very wary of leading someone on, or giving out the wrong signals through your words or actions or both.

11. Let people know about your date

When you’re going out with someone you met recently or online, it’s better to let at least one or two people know about your date – the day, the place, the person’s details (whatever you know of them so far), everything. Pre-arrange it so that you check in with them (whether a friend or a family member) in the middle of the date, so that they know you’re okay. It would also be wise to give them an idea of when you’d be back, and also make sure when you’re back from your date. Granted that this might be taking the online dating safety tips a bit too far, but it sure adds an extra layer of safety.

12. Watch your alcohol

woman drinking beer_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Whether it’s one cocktail or a couple of beers, you know how much liquor you can handle. Always be aware of your limits and never drink so much that you lose control of your senses, along with the situation. Never, ever get wasted on a date with a stranger. It’s easy to get lost in the conversation and lose track of the amount of alcohol you’ve imbibed, but resist the temptation and stop drinking. If you’re afraid that you won’t be able to stop once you’ve started to unwind, don’t drink at all. Make up an excuse about watching your calories or that you’re trying a new diet where you don’t drink alcohol at all, if it makes you feel awkward. Also, another thing to keep in mind is never to let your drink out of your sight. If you have to take a bathroom break before you’re done with the single glass of wine you’ve ordered, don’t touch it again. Either ask for something else when the waiter arrives, or don’t drink anything again at all.

13. Have an ‘emergency’ excuse ready – always

If your date is making you feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to create an ‘emergency’ and get out of there. Whether your date is coming across as a creep, or making lewd statements in an effort to flirt with you, or is making you plain uncomfortable, dish out your ‘gotta go’ excuse and skedaddle outta there. Nothing good will come of spending more time with someone who’s giving you a bad feeling.

14. Ghost them if you’re not feeling it

Yes, ghosting can hurt pretty bad, but if the person on the other end, just isn’t taking the hint that you no longer wish to pursue anything with them, then ghost them. Also, never make the mistake of saying no over and over again, which will only make them pursue you that much harder, thinking you’re just playing hard to get. When you cut off all communication, make it one hundred percent. Go off the grid if you’re not feeling it; it’s a clear sign for them to back the heck off.

Suggested read: 20 things you should NEVER put in your online dating profile

15. Trust your gut

Your instincts are a powerful ally when you’re in new situations such as meeting strangers for a date. If your gut is saying no, that something is just not right, that there’s something amiss, believe it. More often than not, your gut instincts will be right on the nose. They will rarely let you down. Shushing your gut and hanging around to give it a shot is a risk not worth taking.

These are the essential online dating safety tips that you need to keep in mind when meeting a stranger online or in person. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and we live in dangerous times for sure. Happy and safe dating!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
15 Online Dating Safety Tips That Could Save You From Danger
Online dating can be likened to a minefield. So you'd be better off following these online dating safety tips than to ignore them!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg