The way we date has changed dramatically over the years and meeting people online has become the preferred method for many people.
That is because it is easier to find fellow singles with similar interests, it is more time effective as you can do it from the comfort of your home. A simple swipe of your finger and you are matched up to those that are most ‘suited’ to your preferences and location.
Unfortunately, this can also be a risky practice, as people are not always who they say they are, especially behind a screen. Meeting a stranger can be dangerous and it is important that all people using dating apps take a number of precautions that will help them date online safely including:
Use trustworthy dating apps and websites
There are many options to choose from here, but try and stay with the most reputable ones, as they have mechanisms in place to help make the process less daunting and safer.
Look for dating sites that require payment to use, as this will weed out many of the undesirables. Sites and apps that require photo verification will also help you confirm the identity and eliminate potential risks.
There are some sites with options – like Bumble – that means the woman has to message first. This simple feature is designed to prevent scams or similar threats and is now incorporated into major platforms of all kinds. Reputable sites also require people to identify themselves upfront, so that any threats or untoward behaviour can be reported and traced back to the source.
Do a background check
Everyone leaves digital footprints these days and it is simple to get a basic snapshot of a person through a simple Google search. This is not cyber-stalking or anything like that, it is a way to protect yourself and ensure the person you are potentially going to meet matches up with who they say they are. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can also help you verify their credentials as well, but this obviously only goes so far.
To ensure you are getting the full picture, we recommend speaking to our professionals.
Use alternative methods to speak before physically meeting
It is always advised to at least speak to the person on the phone before meeting, but in the modern age, a video chat should be a prerequisite as well. This lets you safely see and talk with the person first-hand, allowing you to visualise exactly who you are engaging with.
Meet in a well-populated public place
There will be plenty of time for intimate and romantic dates if things work out between you two, so there is no need to dive straight into it.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, and public spaces are a great place for a first date and there is far less risk of something going wrong when you are in a crowd of people. As an extra safeguard, you could also set up a signal with the bartender or wait staff if you feel uncomfortable (a certain unique drink order, for example).
Did you know: Many bars use the term ‘Angel Shot’ as a signal you need assistance. If you are going to use a term like this, make sure you speak to the staff before you meet with your intended date, so everyone is on the same page.
Always let someone else know your plans
Tell a close friend or loved ones exactly where you are going, when you plan to return home and a time when they should take action if they have not heard from you. Stick to those plans as well, letting your contact know if anything changes. This includes a change in location or time – it all counts.
It always pays to have someone watching your back.
Have fun, but not too much fun
It is important to note that any form of assault is never ok, no matter how much you have had to drink. But in saying that, it is always best to try and keep your wits and senses about you when meeting someone for the first time.
Try and limit your alcohol consumption in these cases; a first date should be about getting to know someone anyway and keeping yourself clear-headed will help you make good decisions.
Get in touch with us today to discuss any of the above matters.
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