More and more these days, people are finding dates and even long-term relationships via online dating. When it first started, it was something of a joke. But, when it comes right down to it, finding relationships online isn’t all that different from finding them in-person.
If anything, the online dating process actually makes things easier and safer. Just as long as you stick to some common sense rules, such as:
Communicate as Much as Possible Before Meeting
The idea here is to sort of date a person online before you date them in real life. Just like you might meet someone in a bar or the grocery store, you get to meet people virtually on online dating apps. See if the person appeals to you visually, and find out if their interests and passions somewhat match up to yours.
Once you’ve found someone intriguing to you, open the lines of communication gradually. If messaging seems to be going well, then you can advance to voice calling, and then even video chats.
Progressing in this way offers you some safety filters and a way to get to know the other person without any need for a firm commitment. If the person seems strange or dangerous just with messaging, you can simply cut it off there. From there, voice calls and video chats really help to present a person’s real personality. They may reveal a bit more, but still leave you capable of saying yes or no to meeting in person safely.
Verify Your Match’s Identity
Romance scams, catfishing and other kinds of identity theft schemes have become real problems in the online dating world. Phone calls and video chats help to cut back on fake personas, but not entirely. That’s where something like online background checks can be invaluable.
With such a tool, you can search for your match using their name, city and state to confirm information they’ve told you (like the names of relatives, where they’re working, etc.). You can also check on any criminal background they may have, and even verify that the identity they’ve presented to you is real. Knowing this information can make the decision to meet or not much easier.
Make First Dates Very Public
Assuming you’ve already taken the above advice to heart, you should feel pretty comfortable and safe meeting your match in-person. But it can’t hurt to take at least a few precautions on your first “real” date. When meeting face-to-face for the first time, have the date take place in a restaurant or other establishment that’s very public; somewhere that leaves little to no opportunity for bad behavior. And, at least until you really get to know the person, don’t plan to meet up at each other’s homes.
For those used to more traditional means of finding a date, this technological approach may sound a bit clinical. But just because you’re using a dating app to introduce yourself first, that doesn’t mean that getting to know someone isn’t still an exciting, exhilarating process. Keeping these safety tips shouldn’t take away from the romance, either. Rather, following these tips will just help you navigate the world of online dating safely and, hopefully, successfully.