Dating in general can be not only difficult, but it can also scare the crap out of even the most secure individual. Many people can’t even get past the initial introduction before starting to panic, while others get no more than a warm and fuzzy feeling in the pit of their stomach as date night approaches. Remember the days when you actually had to leave your home to find someone who was willing to go out with you? Well, those days are history, at least for the most part as millions have turned to the Internet and online dating for a more efficient method of finding that special someone. There are some concerns that need to be addressed before you throw your self into the deep end of the online dating pool. Just because you can do it from the comfort and safety of your living room doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use common sense to make certain your search is not only fun, but also safe. It is for this reason I have created a list of the most essential online dating tips.
Online dating tip #1
Do you remember when you and a bunch of friends used to go to your favorite nightspots with high hopes of meeting someone who’s mere glance could turn you into Jell-O? Now picture that in a venue in which your friends aren’t there to pull you out of trouble, it’s all up to you. At the real life night club you wouldn’t just start giving personal information to the first person who shows you some attention so there is absolutely no reason to do it while on a online dating site either. Be smart and take your time, do not divulge personal information such as your phone number, where you live or work; an email address and username is enough until you get a better feel for the other person. In fact I would suggest using “throw away” email addresses and possibly a pay as you go phone that you can buy at Wal-Mart, until things progress to the point at which you are comfortable sharing more and you know more verifiable facts about the other person as well.
Online dating tip #2
Trust but verify. Trust is a wonderful thing to have as long as you are quite certain anyone who tells a lie will immediately catch on fire and turn to dust, since this is very unlikely to occur your next best choice is to do whatever you can to verify what people tell you without being too obvious about it. If your common sense is screaming at you that something is a bit off go with your gut instinct, but if you are just not quite sure then use whatever tools are available to check someone out. Almost every legitimate person leaves some footprint on the Internet and it should only take a few searches to find what you need. This does not mean the person is completely telling you the truth but it at least gives you a place to start and possibly gives a bit more information to base questions on.
Online dating tip #3
Be honest but don’t reveal too much. If you are honest at the beginning you won’t have to remember any little fibs to you told during the initial chatting process. This goes for the picture you post on your profile as well. There is nothing more disheartening for both parties when the person who shows up to meet you looks nothing like the pictures on the profile. There is nothing wrong with asking to see a recent photograph, perhaps holding a note or newspaper with a date. You can always say that you have been burned in the past and just want to feel more secure. Any person who doesn’t want to agree to this usually has something to hide.
Online dating tip #4
Use common sense! This is probably the most important yet under-utilized bit of advice in the guide to online dating. If it quacks like a duck and swims like a duck it usually is a duck! The same goes for online predators and scammers. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. The bottom line is to never give out personal information to anyone on the Internet. This especially goes for banking information, your exact address or your mother’s maiden name. If someone asks you to sign for a package for them, don’t do it, or if they offer to give you a piece of their inheritance because their great uncle who was the previous Crowned Prince of Madagascar died and they need to get the money out of the country, don’t do it! There are thousands of sob stories on the Internet, don’t become one of them.
Online dating tip #5
Again we start with the approach of using common sense. So when you finally decide to meet in person remember that the person you are meeting is actually still a stranger so you need to take certain precautions to be safe. First and foremost, let friends know where you are and whom you are with. Meet only in a very public and well-lit area. Take your own car or have a friend drive you and wait around to take you home. If someone is unwilling to compromise on the location of your date then your common sense should tell you something is not right. You both should feel comfortable with the choices yet still have an exit plan.
Online dating is not rocket science, it is merely an efficient and effective way to meet new people and have a good time. Using common sense and the above mentioned online dating tips should give you the ability to not only keep you safe, but let the other person know that you are the real thing as well. Be safe, and have fun!