Whether you're an old pro at the dating game or are newly single and re-entering it again, safety should be of the utmost importance. Here are ten online dating tips to keep you safe when meeting potential dates through online dating sites.
- Stay Anonymous.
The best way to stay safe when meeting new people is to ensure your anonymity. There many services out there that allow Internet savvy individuals to find you via your email, phone, or address. By staying anonymous in the beginning, you will prevent them from doing just this. Keeping your contact information private does not mean that you shouldn't let the other person get to know you. Just be careful and stay wise about your dating safety when meeting someone new. By keeping your contact information private, you are protecting yourself from any untrustworthy individuals as well as giving yourself an out in the event that a potential relationship does not work out. Get 10 tips for keeping your personal information private in our online dating safety section.
- Find a Reliable Service.
Find a reliable online dating service that has your best interests at hand. Some services, such as True.com, perform criminal background checks on all members as well as marital screening. Before members can contact you, the are screened by RapSheets.com, one of the largest databases of criminal records on the Internet. Additionally, the marital status of all members is searched via U.S. public records.
- Meet in a public place.
If you decide to meet someone that you met on the Internet, meet in a public place. This is vital in order to ensure your safety as there are a few people on the Internet that try to deceive others. You may want to try first meeting in the afternoon at a normally busy place, like a coffee shop. You'll be safer and you'll be able to get to know the other person without the pressures of a more 'formal' night-time date.
- Provide your own transportation.
This is important for two reasons. First, by providing your own transportation, you prevent your date from learning where you live until you feel ready for that step. Second, providing your own transportation allows you to leave when you feel ready. When you arrive at your destination, park in a well-lit area. This is especially important for night-time dates.
- Double Date.
You may want to turn your first date into a double date with a close friend. You've probably heard the saying that there is safety in numbers. It's true. If you don't want to double date, be sure that a family member or friend knows who you are meeting, where you are going and when you will be back.
- Carry Your Cell Phone.
Though it's likely a slim chance, a cell phone can save you if you end up in a risky situation. Or, if you're just not into your date, give a friend a call! They can come rescue you or give you a call back pretending that there is an emergency and you are needed.
- Let a Friend Know.
Always keep let someone close to you know of your plans. It's good practice to give a friend a call before and after the date at pre-determined times.
- Meet Somewhere Familiar.
Meet somewhere that you are familiar with and where there are also generally a good number of people. First dates such as a picnic in a secluded park are not a good idea. Keeping yourself surrounded by people keeps you out of harms way. You may also want to arrive first. If you sit facing the entrance, it will allow you to see your date and their reactions first.
- Be Aware.
Stay aware of your surroundings and of the other people that are present at all times. This may go without saying, but stay sober. Drinking impairs your judgement. Never leave your personal belongings or drinks unattended. With the rise in use of date rape drugs, you don't want to risk the chance of having them used on you. If you must use the restroom, order a new drink when you return. At the same time, you never want to leave your personal belongings. Women, take your purse with you everywhere. If the man is a cook, you don't want to risk him getting your address, or other personal information, from your driver's license. If you feel that anything is suspicious or uncomfortable, end the date.
- Stay Safe.
If you feel uncomfortable at any time, end the date. If needed, get the assistance of a waiter, bartender, manager, or any other official nearby. Be aware when you are leaving. Even if the date went well, let your date leave first. This ensures that you are not followed home. If you are followed when going to your car, hail a taxi instead or head back to a public place to call a taxi or a friend. If you are followed on the way home, DO NOT head home. Instead, stay on busy, well-lit roads and call the police.