It seems that you can't open your news feed without seeing a story of someone injured or killed by someone they met on an online dating site. But, internet dating does not have to be dangerous. Many worthwhile and trustworthy people date online. Here are a few important tips to keep yourself safe dating online:
- Trust your instincts. If someone rubs you wrong in the first few messages, do not tell yourself that you are being paranoid.
- Verify, verify, verify. Before you meet, take a look at their social networking profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see if they are who they say they are. Especially cautious daters may even wish to run a background check before getting too involved with a new beau.
- Meet in a public place on the first date. It's safer to be around a lot of other people before you are sure about what this person is like. Plus, you can protect your privacy until you are comfortable with them knowing where you live.
- Check in with a friend. Call or text when you arrive at your destination. And, let your friend know that you will check back in around midnight so that she knows that you are safe.
- Do not drink excessively. A glass or two of wine to take the edge off is fine. Anything more than that, and you are compromising your reflexes and your judgment. And, of course, you should eschew from illegal drugs altogether.
- Don't be afraid to cut a date short. If someone makes you feel unsafe, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending the date early. Often, we wind up in unsafe situations because we are afraid of offending someone or being rude. Stand up for your safety and leave if you feel threatened.
By carefully considering all of the signals and using your judgment on early dates, you can keep yourself safe from online dating perils.