Online Dating: Smart and Safe Use Tips

online dating relationshiplong-distance relationship

I’m sure that you have noticed the same thing I have in regards to time.  There seems to be less and less of it.  Work, household chores, family obligations, and taking care of yourself are just the start of our time eaters.  Add to that social media, movies, television, and every  other imaginable distraction and there’s about  . . . three minutes left to think about new relationships.

Over the last couple decades, more and more of us have turned to a dating website for help.  Even to the point of top rated dating sites that allow you to speed through dozens of potential dates in a matter of minutes.  No doubt, if you’re determined to find a new mate, you can now locate lots of potentials targets with almost no effort.

But of course with all that ease comes some risk.  Is the person really who they say they are?  What’s their background like?  Is that even their picture, and if it is, was it taken recently or ten years ago?  While dating apps and websites do pose risks, there are some simple tips you can use to make their use smart and safe.

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In case you didn’t know it, searching on Google isn’t just for words and phrases.  You can search for images.  There are two ways this is important to you.  One is about your potential date.  The other is about you.

When you see your potential date’s photo, download it and then go to the image search function on Google.  That will tell you if the image has appeared anywhere else on the web.   Which is a good start to finding out about what else he or she may have been into recently.

But that should have just set off an alarm!  Because just as you can search for someone else, they can also search for you.  So don’t put an image you’ve used anywhere else on the dating site.  If you do, you’ll be giving complete strangers access to a ton of back doors to your life.  Instead, take a pic of yourself that will never be used anywhere except on that particular dating site.

Don’t Be Too Discrete

Back in the day, there was a negative connotation to online dating.  While that’s not the case today, you still may have the inclination to keep it quiet for the first date or two, just to see how it works out.  Big mistake!

Whether it’s your best friend or in a post to your social media, you need to have people you know aware that you’re venturing on the blindest of blind dates.   Don’t let your ego get in the way of your safety!

What’s Public and What’s Private

What’s public is the place of the first meeting.   And the more public it is, the better.  Not just out in the open, but some place with lots of people around.  If they want a more “romantic” location, don’t do it.  There’s no reason to be anything but social this early in the dating game.

What’s private is all the details of your life.  Don’t give your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social media site information until you’re sure this is a person you at least want as a friend.  Doing otherwise may result in your gaining a secret admirer that you really don’t want.

Stay Alert

This may all sound a little too cloak and daggerish to you.  But we’re talking about YOUR safety.  So especially during the first meeting or two, pay attention.  Observe and listen.   Inconsistencies are red flags.  Body language sometimes speaks louder than words, so know the basics of what it means.

The bottom line:  don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable.  Statements like “don’t worry” from your date mean just the opposite – – start worrying!  There are millions of great relationships that started on dating websites.  And there’s no reason you can’t have similar success.  Just stay smart, and stay safe!

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Image credits:

Main   Shadow.  Happy.  

Linda Allen

I'm a serial entrepreneur, with a resume that makes me look like a Jane of all trades. Pretty sure we are all reluctant Messiahs, travelling through life planting seeds where ever we can. Hopefully, most of mine have been good ones! MA from Miami University (Ohio, not Florida), BA from Cal State.

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