Question (from Linda):

I’m afraid to sign up with an Online dating site. I read articles about identity theft, rape, murder victims, and more. Online dating scares me but I know it’s the thing-to-do nowadays. Please help me understand the value of Online dating. Thanks.

Answer:

Dear Linda:

I understand your fears and concerns. When online dating first started, I too had all the fears you mentioned. However, as time has gone on, we have learned about many safeguards that can and should be used. Today, online dating is a most common way of dating. If you think about it, is it any less safe than meeting up with someone at a party or at a singles bar and then dating that person? In some ways it is far safer. You have an opportunity to do much more “interviewing” than in the more traditional ways. Here are some of the usual tips to ensure your safety.

Here are some of the usual tips to ensure your safety.

  • When you are matched with someone or you find someone who seems like an interesting person, find out more from each other by emails and through the chat room.
  • Try to find mutual friends, or some way to verify that what the person is saying about him or herself is true. Google him or her. Does Google come up with verifications of what that person has been saying about him/herself?
  • Exchange photos. See photos with family and with friends. See how you judge this person’s activities, friends and family.
  • Next talk by phone. Do you enjoy the conversations. Are you still interested in meeting this person.
  • Meet at a public place such as a coffee shop. Have your own transportation.
    If you don’t have any mutual friends or sense of history about this person do get a background check.
  • Pay attention to your intuition. Anywhere along the way, if you hear or feel something that just doesn’t sound right, don’t go any further. Often that intuition only speaks once. If you ignore it and look to the positive things that you want to believe, you may sadly realize later that your intuition was correct.

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t lend this person money. It’s a red flag if the person even asks to borrow money.
  • Don’t meet at your home.
  • Don’t have the person pick you up in their car. Hope this helps. Hope you get more and more comfortable and successful with the online dating process while keeping all the safety tips in mind.

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