Taking that first plunge into Internet dating can be scary because it is still unknown to some. However, Internet dating is safe if you are able to place certain limitations and take extra precautions. By following a few safety guidelines, you can become a successful online dater in no time.
When you are first approached by someone online, do what you would do if you had met them offline, by having an actual conversation. Ask open-ended questions that aren't too personal, but informative enough to get a sense of who they are and what they are expecting. For example, if you are looking for someone you can develop a relationship with in the long-term, you will want to steer clear of someone who is only looking to date casually without any commitment.
Once you have the basics down and decide you want to meet, it is wise to take a few precautions because there is still be an element of the unknown. Is this person who they say they are? will they look like their picture? Will we recognize each other?
Therefore, when agreeing to meet someone use the following guidelines.
Meet in a familiar public place
When you meet someone for the first time, always meet somewhere public that is familiar to you. Being in a familiar location will help put your mind at ease and give you a sense of protection. This way, if the person turns out to be deceptive, or you aren't interested, you have an easy out.
Don't give out too much personal information such as where you live or work
As of right now, this person is a stranger so you don't want to disclose too much information that could allow them to track you down if you aren't interested. Give them some basics and leave it at that for now.
Pay attention to your gut
Most of us are guilty of jumping into things without thinking them through or listening to our gut instincts. Sometimes we disregard red flags hoping it is just our mind being paranoid. While this may be the case occasionally, most of the time if we have a gut feeling about something or someone, we are usually correct. Therefore, don't ignore red flags or any gut instincts you may have about someone. If you are questioning something, ask additional questions and discuss it with them until you are certain one way or another.
Don't go home with them
I know it may be hard to resist going home with someone you are physically attracted to, but going home with a stranger is never a good idea in any circumstance. It can be hard to identify someone's true intentions through an online conversation, or during a first meeting, so it is always best to take things slow before taking that final plunge.
Internet dating may seem strange or unsafe to some, but if you follow the same rules of traditional dating, you will find that Internet dating is safe, as well as an easy way to weed out people you are not interested in and focus on those you are. The starting phases may be a little different, but the end results can be the same. It doesn't really matter where or how you fell in love with someone, the important thing is that you did.