Friday, May 27, 2011

Safety Tips for Online Dating

Finding a date in today's age can only take few seconds at a matter of a click. Compared to two decades ago, dating websites and dating services have increased exponentially to bring men and women together from all over the world.  Some of the websites are very specific in nature serving heterosexuals, homosexuals, people with specific hobbies, ethnicity and religion, business professionals, and the list continues. It is impossible to come across such sites and not be force fed that our lover and possibly soul mate is waiting to hear from us. It is an effective way of meeting people who are always preoccupied with work that they do not have time to invest in meeting people on regular basis. Below are few safety tips for online dating intended for both genders:

1. Be creative and HONEST when writing your dating profile. If possible use a recent picture of yourself that portrays your personality. For those who are shy, it is understandable why they may want to fore go posting a picture, though I would highly recommend a picture. A picture communicates to viewers that you are a real person who is approachable and is making an active effort to meeting like minded people. Usually profiles without a picture are overlooked regardless of the content because people need a visual stimuli to lure their interest onto YOU. A picture is worth a thousand words so post a picture that is classy and a natural shot. Also keep your profile short and sweet, no one is intending to read your life story. Leave such details to share over a possible date.

2. Just as dating on the streets, use COMMON SENSE when communicating with your potential partners. Do not disclose too much personal information on your profile, it is okay to share your first name if you choose but do leave a bit of mystery to your identity. Identity theft is one of the top five crimes in this country. So it is foolish to display where you work, your specific home address and material that will trace back to YOU other than your screen name. It does not take a rocket scientist to connect the dots and start using your personal information against you. Profiles with pictures receive much incoming mail, therefore use discretion when responding to these messages. You are not expected to respond to any if you choose not to, do not feel bad if certain messages are not answered. Also if there are any individuals disrespecting and harassing you online, you should be able to block them on the website. Only share your phone number when you feel comfortable and do keep in mind it is not unusual for some profiles to be fake. Yes, there are people out there who do not have much to do-sad but true.

3. This message is intended more so for the ladies: keep a buddy system. When you are ready to go out on a date, let a friend or contact know that you'll be out meeting someone. You do not have to share the details but most importantly you are letting another person know you are out and about busy meeting someone.  If it is a close friend, you can let them know where you are expecting to go.  Therefore as a safety mechanism, your buddy will be aware of your whereabouts and know that your date is going smoothly without any problems. Due to the advent of technology, it is common for people to chat more so than talk on the phone. Make sure you have spoken at least once with the individual you are planning to meet. It is comforting to know the person that you are communicating with has a voice other than a virtual presence.

4. Have an exit strategy. If a date is going not as expected and your partner appears to be belligerent or starts acting disrespectful, have a back up plan ready. YOU choose to stay or go in this situation. It is best to have the first date in a public location for safety purposes, in case anything happens you will be a familiar face that someone can recall. Also if you are granted an option to pick a place, take advantage of this as you decide which environment makes you feel comfortable and represents you the best.

5. Lastly if you choose to get intimate with any of your partners, remember to practice safe sex because you'll never know where they were the night before (or after). Contracting STDs from a random or an online date doesn't sound too hot to me (grinning).

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