I was recently approached by AMy Reynolds to do a guest post on Dating101Sydney with regards to tips to online dating. Now this isn’t something I’ve ever dabbled in, not for any particular reason mind! However the lovely Unlucky101 has documented her confessions of an e-bacheloress here, here and here.
So sit tight buckle up and find out all you need to know before sipping your toes into the seas of unchartered territory (by me anyway!)
If you’re tired of your friends trying to set you up, your mother’s relentless questioning as to when you’re going to give her grandchildren, and one bad date away from a mental breakdown…maybe it’s time to give online dating a try. With the flexibility and ease that the internet provides, we can use it to shop for everything from a fabulous pair of boots to a brand new TV. Why not use it to shop for a guy?
As there are many positives to searching for love in cyberspace, there are some serious concerns in regards to your safety. So before you head online to find your perfect match, here are a few tips that could save you from instead finding a crazed lunatic (yes it happens!):
Tip#1: Keep personal info to yourself. When setting up your online dating profile and first communicating with prospective guys, never give out your last name, address, place of employment, phone number, personal email, or any other information that you wouldn’t want a stranger to have. Should someone make you feel at all pressured to give out any of this info, cease contact right there—if he’s truly interested in you for the right reasons will understand and respect your need for protection.
Tip #2: Go slow. You might think you’re really “clicking” with someone after a few clicks of the mouse, but the truth of the matter is that you never know who you might encounter when seemingly innocent banter across online dating sites flourishes into face-to-face meeting. Be sure to take your time getting to know the guy over web and phone conversations before actually going out on a date. Seen as an age-old rule in the dating world, not rushing into things is an important step to building a meaningful, healthy relationship with someone who could potentially be “the one.”
Tip #3: Don’t fall for a romance scam. Recently, many online daters have found themselves victim to the twisted ways of romance scammers. These people are con artists signed up to dating websites who prey on the bank accounts of the innocent by seeking out their vulnerabilities. Watch out for these tell-tale warning signs of someone with the wrong interests:
- Profile pictures that resemble a model straight out of a magazine
- Confusing names or conflicting information is given
- Love is confessed at warp-speeds
- Flowers and other gifts are sent right away
- Poor grammar/language that doesn’t align with their alleged education level/career/life status
- Asks for money to help with some dire situation
Tip #4: Be on the lookout for married “singles.” It’s sad to say, but there are guys out there who are signed up to online dating sites claiming a relationship status of “single,” when in reality they are lying, married cheaters. Before you find yourself involved in a love affair that would put even the juiciest soap opera to shame, watch for these red flags that will warn you if the guy you’re chatting up online has seemed to forget about his wife in the next room:
- Doesn’t have a profile picture
- Erratic/irregular responses, emails and phone calls OR calling on a very strict schedule
- Asks for your phone number but is unwilling to give you his
Tip #5: Do a little research. If you’ve been communicating with a guy who you feel is legit enough to meet in person, it doesn’t hurt to do a little online background check. Now this doesn’t mean you need to turn into a secret agent. It just means a Google search along with a quick sweep of social networking sites could provide you with some crucial information that he might have forgotten to disclose on his online dating profile.
Tip #6: Safety first on your first date. If an online romance has escalated to the point where meeting in person is the next step, there are some important things you need to know before having your guy take you out and sweep you off your feet like a scene straight out of your favorite chick flick:
- Do not have your date pick you up from home or work. Use your own transportation to meet in a crowded, public place.
- Make sure that you let someone know where you are going and with whom you are going. Keep your cell phone handy and remember to phone this person when you arrive home safely.
- Always have a plan of action—be observant and remain aware of your surroundings at all times. You might think that you need a little cocktail to calm your nerves, but it’s in your best interest to say no to alcoholic drinks for the first few dates.
- Keep an eye on your stuff—never leave a drink, wallet, purse or cell phone unattended.
Tip#7: This is your game, girl. No matter what step you’re at in the online dating process, be sure to always keep things on your terms. Don’t let someone talk to into doing something that makes you uncomfortable and always listen to your gut—if you feel like something is wrong, there is a good chance that it is. It is better to trust your intuitive side than to trust someone you don’t know who could possibly subject you to harm. Don’t be ashamed of your precautionary behavior—remember, your safety is the most important thing!
Amy Reynolds is an author from Free Adult Dating Sites who writes on the topics of dating as it relates to the online world.