Online dating is a great avenue for meeting potential mates, but as with any type of dating, personal safety is of utmost importance. When done safely online dating can be a pleasurable experience, and many reports now show that many successful relationships were as a result from people meeting online. Follow these guidelines to ensure your safety while dating online.
1. Listen to your gut.
Trust your instincts when getting to know someone. If something seems “off”, then you need to be careful. Don’t second-guess yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.
2. Limit sharing of personal information.
Don’t give out personal information right away, like your home phone number or full name. With just a name and phone number, someone can find out a lot about you, like your home address, your income, and your place of employment.
3. Communicate anonymously in the initial stages.
Use a free email account for online dating rather than your regular email address. You can get a free email account through various web services like Yahoo!, Hotmail or Gmail. Use only your first name or an anonymous handle as the name on the account - never use your full name.
4. Use your cell phone to talk.
Again, never provide your home phone number to talk to someone from an online dating site. Cell phone numbers cannot be used to access personal information since they are unlisted and unpublished. You can also use an anonymous phone service or Skype to communicate if you do not wish to use a cell phone.
5. Use a paid online dating service.
There can be a higher potential for dangerous individuals on free dating sites than paid, because the paid sites require the user provide a credit card or other information for identification. For this reason, paid sites are probably safer.
6. Meet in public.
For your first date, arrange to meet in a public place. Be sure to provide your own transportation; never let your date pick you up at your house. Tell a friend where you will be and who you will be with, and check in with your friend after the date so she knows you are okay.
Following these guidelines will help you enjoy a safe, successful online dating experience. Take things slow and never share too much information initially and you should be on your way to a rewarding experience with meeting that special person online.