Now that online dating has reached some sense of normality, we can confidently say that many of us have tried it in some form. It’s hard to find individuals with similar interests and dating motivations when you’re just out and about. Online dating cuts out so much of the guesswork for you. However, at the same time, online dating has never been more risky. You never know what kind of person you’re truly meeting. What’s more, if you’re dating in order to find a serious partner, there’s even more to the equation than keeping yourself safe. While some dating apps do the work for you and find out what percentage of match and type of connection you might have with someone, others do not. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to ensure your safety while dating and also make sure you’re finding a person who’s true to your wants and needs.
Where Should I Research My Potential Date?
Social Media Profiles:
You don’t have to spend hours on the computer digging up details about every date, but it’s important, for your safety, that you at least know some key information about who you’re meeting. Did they provide accurate information on their dating profile? Are their pictures and descriptions misleading enough to be concerning? I don’t mean to judge anyone for an old profile picture, I’m more focused on whether or not they’re being truthful about things like their job, whether or not they are in a relationship, and if their major morals and interests align with yours.
Do an Image Search:
A quick Facebook search can give you a lot of insight into someone else’s life. The way they portray themselves on social media may not be something you want to associate with in the first place. People can put whatever they want into dating apps, which might not actually be a real world view of what they’ll be like on your date. You can also drag an individual’s profile picture into Google, any websites or profiles that they’ve used the picture on will come up. This will help you see if all of their profile information matches up and if you’re really going to be meeting the person behind the profile photo (you don’t want to get catfished!). A few quick clicks can tell you if it’s even worth your time or not.
Do a Simple Background Check:
It’s a smart idea to go one step further and do a quick background check on your date. It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise, and it will make you feel so much better about a good candidate. There are countless websites that allow you to do a basic search on someone. The process is very easy — as easy as typing in someone’s name. You can easy look for specific information, such as a criminal record and open arrest warrants, which are pertinent to your safety. However, if you feel so inclined, you can also search other public records, like divorce history, bankruptcies, liens, driving records, and birthdates.
Be Careful of What Information You Put Out There
Remember that if you can do these things, anyone else can do them as well. Be sure that you’re not including too personal of information on your dating profile. In addition, check your social media accounts to see exactly who is able to see all of your information. You might want to make some things private. For example, you might not want any strangers to know the exact name and location of your workplace, names of your family members, your phone number, email address etc.
Of course, in most scenarios most people won’t even go looking for personal information, but for the one percent that actually do, it’s best to keep it hidden. Guarding your information could potentially save you from an unnecessary stalker situation. All “stalker situations” are unnecessary and totally not your fault, but you get what I mean. It’s just a safe idea to know what information you’re putting out into the world of dating before you even start swiping right.
Meet in a Public Place
Especially for a first date, it’s always a good idea to meet at a familiar place that’s not secluded. Some places might be romantic and are technically a public place, like a park or beach, but they can be secluded, which won’t help you if this person turns out to be a creep. Make sure that there are people around who can witness your date in its entirety, at least until you’re absolutely certain that you’re comfortable enough to be left alone.
A perfectly chivalrous thing that might not be a great idea, is to let him pick you up on your first date. While it might sound dreamy, you’ll have no control over where the date goes from there. You should be picking a time and place that makes you feel safe. Not only will this guarantee that you’re not kidnapped (no seriously), but if your date just isn’t going very well, you can leave whenever you’re ready.
Tell People Where You Are
Once you’ve done all your research, you’ve picked a place, and you’re ready to meet the potential love of your life, let people know what you’re doing. Even as a last precaution, text a friend or family member about where you’ll be and when. They should know when you’re leaving and when you’re expected to be home again. You might even want to drop them a pin of your location from your smartphone just in case they need the exact address to come pick you up for any reason.
Don’t let me scare you away from online dating. Dating can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience, if you do it the right way. The fact of the matter is, you have to be prepared for the tiniest chance that something negative could happen. In most cases, you won’t have to worry about any of the things listed in this article. However, if you do take the time to do some research and prepare for the worst, you won’t have to waste your time on awkward dates that could have obviously gone totally wrong. Not to mention, you’ll know the fakers from the ones that truly could be a great match for you.