WRITTEN BY Raeeka Yaghmai | Guest Writer | Mar 15 2018
Online dating can be a fantastic way to create an amazing love life - this is exactly how I met my man!
You can find some wonderful, quality, relationship-ready men through an online dating app. But let’s be clear - not everyone is honest, and not everyone is looking for a long-term relationship. And some people will even use a site like an online dating app to prey on others. There have been cases in the past of people being misled and even harmed, and that’s the last thing you want to have as part of your journey to find love.
It’s important to learn how to keep yourself safe while dating online. Impressions can be deceiving - a really great guy might come off as awkward at first because he’s shy, and a guy with bad intentions can seem like the perfect match, saying all the right things.
If a guy is behaving poorly by trying to push you to meet or saying inappropriate things, it’s clear that he’s someone you want to avoid. But if he knows what to say to make you feel close to him right away, you must remember that he’s a stranger. And while he might be the man of your dreams, you can’t be sure without taking the time to find out.
Check out these 4 tips on how to keep safe while dating online so that you can enjoy your experiences while you search for a great guy:
1. Be patient
It’s so easy to get excited about moving through the online dating process so you can meet someone in person. A lack of patience can lead to trouble, however, and you don’t want to sacrifice your safety because you’re in a hurry to move forward!
This can be especially challenging if the guy seems like he has all the right qualities and says all the right things. You must remember: even if that’s true and it’s off to what feels like a great start, he’s still a stranger.
When I met my partner through an online dating app, I was very transparent about what my boundaries were. I took small steps to get to know him over time and to ensure that what he was saying checked out. I also continued to use my dating app handle when we progressed our communication so that I wasn’t using my personal email address. People can use other people’s identities and they can tell you anything - you want to take the time to make sure all the information lines up.
2. Find out what you can
When I was getting to know my partner online, I Googled him, looked at his profiles, and looked for anything that may not be in alignment with what he was telling me. Research the information a guy tells you and see if it checks out. You can search his name in the images tab on Google to see if you can get information that aligns, and if something doesn’t seem right, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t try to convince yourself that it’s no big deal.
3. Keep your personal information private
Giving your personal information to a stranger who may be pursuing you is never a good idea. A predator will usually want to jump off the dating app and open a conversation with you in another way as quickly as possible. Stay within the app until you’ve taken the time to get to know someone better and you’ve done your research - predators don’t like to hang around and wait either! If he’s a relationship-ready guy and he is truly interested in forming a relationship with you, he will respect the time you need to get to know him better before moving to the next step.
4. It’s ok to say NO
If something seems like it’s not right, it’s ok to say no and step away! In an online app, let the guy know you don’t feel like it’s a match and move on. If he continues to pursue you and you’ve said you are not interested, block the person if necessary.
If you’re meeting face to face and something doesn’t feel right, you can leave this situation, too. It might feel awkward, but your safety is more important than accommodating appropriate social behavior. If you’re concerned about walking away alone, call a friend, call a cab, or have someone walk with you until you feel safe.
Just like you have to prioritize your values and who you are over what you think a guy wants you to be like, your safety has to be prioritized over anything that makes you unsure. If you feel like something is off, take a step back. Give it more time to find out, or change course and go in another direction.
Online dating should be a fun and exciting tool for you to use. Be sure that you’re following important safety tips such as these so that you can enjoy your experiences!