Dating is a great way to meet new people and while talking to and interacting with strangers is part of the dating process, taking a cautious approach is encouraged. This doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of everyone you meet, nor is everyone out to get you, but, because you really never know people’s intentions, you have to be careful. I’ve seen a lot of people put themselves unintentionally in harm’s way only to regret it later. I have done the same so I can also speak from experience. While no one has any right to harm you in any way, it’s better to make safe dating practices a part of your dating rituals. You’ll be glad you did!
Safe Dating Practices
1. Stranger Danger is Real
- As children, we always heard “don’t talk to strangers”, that a stranger could mean us harm. The same warnings apply when you’re dating, especially if you’re dating online.
- While talking to strangers is almost mandatory, you do need to be very cautious not to put yourself in harm’s way.
- The person you meet may seem very nice, and maybe they are, but, they are still a stranger. You may think you know them but they are a stranger. Stranger danger still applies.
- Safe Dating Practice: be cautious about all your interactions and remember that these people you’re meeting are strangers. Tell a friend where you are and who you’ll be with when you go on a date.
2. Do Go Public
- When going on a first date or meeting someone for the first time, make sure you go public.
- This means that dates should be in public places. Public dates are recommended for at least 3-4 dates.
- For at least the first date provide your own transportation and make sure to have money to pay or get home.
- Don’t have a home date until you’re ready to be intimate with that person.
- If someone pushes you for a private/home date too soon don’t do it, suggest a public date option, if they don’t want to and insist on a private/home date, that would be a red flag.
- Even if they say they have honorable intentions, they may not. “Come over to watch a movie” or “Let me cook you dinner” usually ends in more intimate activities whether it is meant or not. Some people will even assume that agreeing to a home date means you will be intimate with them, whether that is your intention or not.
- Safe Dating Practice: no private/home dates until you know someone better and have had several public outings.
- Read More: Someone’s House IS NOT a First Date … Date Safe! & Is A Home Date Really a Date?
3. Don’t Get False Sense of Security
- There is a false sense of security, especially when dating online.
- When meeting online, you get to know someone before you really get to know them. You chat for extended periods of time and get to know each other, you discuss life, experiences, and sharing who you are. You feel so much chemistry and like you’ve known each other your whole life. You might even enter a textationship.
- All this makes a person feel more secure. But, what you fail to realize time and again is that the person you are speaking with on the other end of the connection may be completely and utterly LYING.
- People can be anyone they want online. They can tell you whatever you want to hear. They can put on a show. They can be the Romeo to your Juliet all while in the comfort of their own home. Maybe they are telling the truth and maybe they are who they say they are BUT what if they aren’t? What if they are a fraudster waiting for the opportune moment to rob your identity or money? What if they are planning to attack you? What if they are married? That’s the thing you really don’t know. Which is why it’s best to make safe dating choices.
- Don’t spend too much time “online” with someone. Take it offline as soon as possible. A good rule is to give them 2-3 weeks to meet you in person before pulling the plug.
- Safe Dating Practice: don’t believe everything you see or hear online because people show you only the parts they want you to see and they might be portraying a different character altogether.
- Read More: The False Sense of Security That Comes From Dating Online
4. Do Protect Your Identity
- There are many steps you can take to make sure that your identity is protected online. The usual rule of thumb is to not give your passwords out, don’t publicize personally identifying things and be careful with your financial information. But, is that enough when you’re online dating?
- Be careful of what you tell people about your personal life, this includes giving your personal and work address, and details about your finances.
- Caution should be exercised when posting pictures as well – don’t put pictures with your home or workplace in the background (always check what’s in the picture), don’t put pictures of your children and don’t flaunt wealth.
- If someone asks you for money online, with or without a sob story, then end the communication right away. Never NEVER send people money. There are a lot of smooth talkers who want to swindle you from your hard-earned cash. Don’t let them.
- Safe Dating Practice: keep information about your personal life personal and never share where you live or work with a stranger you met online, even if you feel a deep connection and chemistry with them. Wait until you’ve had several face to face, in person, interactions in the bag.
- Read More: Is Your Online Dating Profile Putting You At Risk? & 5 Ways to Know If Someone You Met Online is a Fraud
5. Don’t Share Pictures
- Part of online dating is posting some pictures of yourself online. This is normal and encouraged. You just need to make sure the pictures you post don’t give too much away about your personal identity in the background of the picture.
- If in communicating with someone you met online wants more pictures to see more of you then you should deny their request. If they want to see more of you other than what you posted they can meet you in person and you can tell them that.
- In the same light, if they ask you for naked pictures then always say no. You don’t know where those pictures will end up. Once you hit send then you lose control of those pictures.
- Safe Dating Practice: the pictures you post online should always be under your control so don’t send additional pictures, with or without clothes, to someone you haven’t even met face to face.
- Read More: Online Dating and They Want More Pics? Don’t!
Watch my segment on CTV Ottawa Morning about Online Dating Safety Tips below:
READERS: Do you have safe dating practices? Do you ever take risks that you shouldn’t when meeting people online? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
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Oh dear, I’ve broken a few of these, and so have all my dates. :O
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You’re not the only one! I did too!
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I always let at least two friends know where I am going and also update them as and when we move elsewhere.
I am also open about this with my dates.
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Those are all great practices!
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I love this post!! Through our journey, we have been learning these things but it would have been SO helpful to read this first!
We’re always learning!
I have seen friends of mine think because they have been talking awhile online that they are legit. One of these friends went to his house and he tried to rape her. For me, I am always on alert until we meet and even then am on alert. Last time I did online the guys I met were exactly who they said, but I was lucky. I met them at the mall, we walked around the mall and chatted. This btw turned off many guys but I was great. I did have a creepy situation last time where a guy wanted to meet me on New Years Eve at night at a campground. Yeah, great idea and I turned that down (and blocked the guy).
You can never be too cautious especially in the beginning!
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