Online dating websites offer a fun and secure environment to meet other quality singles. It’s also a great place to build loving and trusting friendships that can lead to lasting, offline relationships. Whether you decide to correspond online or meet members offline, please use sound judgment and be responsible for your conduct. In both the virtual and real worlds, common sense is your best safety tool. 1. Start slow Watch out for someone who seems too good to be true. Begin by communicating solely via the dating website's Messenger or email, then look for odd behavior or inconsistencies. The person at the other end may not be who or what he or she says. Don't give out your phone number straight away, and create an email address for dating, don't use your private email address first, and don't give out your social media address in the very beginning. Trust your instincts. If anything makes you uncomfortable, walk away for your own safety and protection. 2. Guard your anonymity. When you create a profile: Never include your last name, email address, home address, phone number, place of work, or any other identifying information in your member profile or initial messages. When corresponding with another Match.com member, turn off your email signature file. Stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal information or attempts in any way to trick you into revealing it. These are suggested until you meet the person in person a few times. Keeping your identity as a secret for too long would backfire you though. 3. Exercise caution and common sense Careful, thoughtful decisions generally yield better dating results. Guard against trusting the untrustworthy; suitors must earn your trust gradually, through consistently honorable, forthright behavior. Take all the time you need to test for a trustworthy person and pay careful attention along the way. If you suspect someone is lying, he or she probably is, so act accordingly. Be responsible for romance, and don’t fall in love at the click of a mouse. Don’t become prematurely intimate with someone, even if that intimacy only occurs online. If you mutually decide to cross the point of no return, be smart and protect yourself. Learn about sexually transmitted diseases and preserving your health. 4.
Request a photo
This applies when there is no useful picture on the profile at all, or the picture is too good to be true. You can also use picture reverse tools to check if the picture on the profile is stolen or not. A photo will give you a good idea of the person's appearance, which may prove helpful in achieving a gut feeling. In fact, it’s best to view several images of someone in various settings: casual, formal, indoor, and outdoors. If all you hear are excuses about why you can't see a photo, consider that he or she has something to hide. The same rules apply to you as well. You should provide enough pictures to make the person comfortable.
Chat on the phone
A phone call can reveal much about a person’s communication and social skills.
Consider your security and do not reveal your personal phone number to a stranger.
Try a cell phone number instead or use local telephone blocking techniques to prevent your phone number from appearing in Caller ID. Only furnish your phone number when you feel completely comfortable. You can also buy a cheap phone with a prepaid phone number.
Meet when YOU are ready
The beauty of meeting and relating online is that you can collect information gradually, later choosing whether to pursue the relationship in the offline world. You never are obligated to meet anyone, regardless of your level of online intimacy. And even if you decide to arrange a meeting,
you always have the right to change your mind. It’s possible that your decision to keep the relationship at the anonymous level is based on a hunch that you can’t logically explain. Trust yourself. Go with your instincts.
Watch for red flags
Pay attention to displays of anger, intense frustration or attempts to pressure or control you. Acting in a passive-aggressive manner, making demeaning or disrespectful comments or any physically inappropriate behavior are all red flags.
You should be concerned if your date exhibits any of the following behavior without
providing an acceptable explanation:
Provides inconsistent information about age, interests, appearance, marital
status, profession, employment, etc.
Refuses to speak to you on the phone after establishing ongoing, online intimacy.
Fails to provide direct answers to direct questions.
Appears significantly different in person from his or her online persona.
Never introduces you to friends, professional associates or family members (this is only true when the relationship has been going on for a few months)
Meet in a safe place
When you choose to meet offline, always tell a friend where you are going and when you will return. Leave your date’s name and telephone number with your friend.
Never arrange for your date to pick you up at home. Provide your own transportation,
meet in a public place at a time with many people around, and when the date is over,
leave on your own as well. A familiar restaurant or coffee shop, at a time when a lot of other people will be present, is often a fine choice. If you decide to move to another location, take your own car. When the timing is appropriate, thank your date for getting together and say goodbye.
Take extra caution outside your area
If you are flying in from another city, arrange for your own car and hotel room. Do not disclose the name of your hotel and never allow your date to make the arrangements for you. Rent a car at the airport and drive directly to your hotel. Call your date from the hotel or meet at the location you have already agreed to. If the location seems inappropriate or unsafe, go back to your hotel. Try to contact your date at that location or leave a message on a home machine. Always make sure a friend or family member knows your plans and has your contact information. And carry a cell phone at all times. This might sound a bit too cautious, but there are some crazy people out there. It also shows what is appropriate in the very beginning. Unfortunately, we do not learn about these at school.
Get yourself out of a jam
Never do anything you feel unsure about. If you are in any way afraid of your date (or you do see many red flags), use your best judgment to diffuse the situation and get out of there. Excuse yourself long enough to call a friend for advice, or Google the behavior you are unsure about.
it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes you will be the weird one from the other person's perspective.
While liars, cheaters, and imposters certainly ply their craft on the Web, you’ll also find them
in nightclubs and offline dating services, cocktail parties or even sitting across from you at your local café. Regardless of where you meet someone, dating is never a risk-free activity, but a little caution will reduce your risk in matters of the heart.
The more you know yourself, your attachment style, the more self-aware you are the more success you can expect from your relationship.
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