Online Dating Safety

The most common barrier to online dating is undoubtedly a concern for personal safety. If you are considering signing up at an online dating site but are worried about your safety, you really shouldn't let this stand in your way. It is completely normal to be apprehensive about starting your online dating venture, but as long as you use caution and trust your instincts you should have no reason to fear for your safety. In fact, many of the best online dating websites even provide their own advice on how to stay safe.

The world is filled with couples who have found love at dating websites, and the vast majority of members at these sites have a positive online dating experience. Nevertheless, anytime you get together with someone you met online it is a good idea to follow the proper precautions. Stick to reputable dating sites and follow the online dating safety recommendations we have outlined below; many of these tips apply to both online and offline dating.

Guard Your Personal Information

Dating websites allow their members to remain anonymous, and you should take full advantage of this. Avoid using personal information when creating your username or writing your online dating profile. Never give out your personal email address, phone number, or home address to someone you have just met online. You should never feel pressured to share more than you wish; guard all personal information until you are ready.

Take Your Time

Dating websites let you get to know someone online before meeting them in person. You should take your time with this process and never rush to meet up for the first date. Get a feel for who the person is and ask any questions necessary to ensure you are completely comfortable. It may be a good idea to request a recent photograph of the person to help verify the legitimacy of the member. Remember, you are in control of your online dating experience and should never meet in person until you are ready.

Meet in Public

When meeting for the first time make sure you meet in public during a busy time of day. Examples of good places to meet are a familiar restaurant or coffee shop, or even a local bookstore. Never meet someone in a remote location. Along the same lines, you should stay in a public place for the entire date. Do not bring someone you met online home with you on the first date, and do not go to their house or apartment. If you are being pressured, end the date and leave immediately.

Drive Yourself

You should drive yourself to and from your first date, whether that means using your own vehicle or taking a cab. Never let someone you meet at an online dating site pick you up at home and be sure to always leave the date on your own; do not split a cab or accept a ride. It is important to be in control of your own transportation.

Tell a Friend

Be sure to tell a friend or family member your plans for meeting someone in person. Include a detailed description of when and where you are going. It is also a good idea to bring a cell phone and update your friend or family member regularly throughout the date. Tell them when you arrive and stay in contact. If you do not own a cell phone, borrow one; do not rely on a public phone.

Trust Your Instincts

Above all, trust your instincts. Do not do anything if you are at all uncomfortable. If you feel unsure about something during your online dating experience, there is a probably a good reason. Never hesitate to cut off communication with someone on a dating website. If you eventually meet in person, don't be afraid to excuse yourself from a date, to ask someone for help, or to simply sneak out and drive away. If you feel that you are in danger, call the police immediately. You should never feel embarrassed or worry about what someone will think; it is better to be safe than sorry.

Long Distance Dates

Online dating has removed the location barriers for many people, and long distance dating is becoming more and more common. Long distance dates present special safety issues that should be taken into account. If you travel for your first date, only use a taxi or rental car for transportation to and from the airport. Stay in a hotel that you keep confidential from the person you are meeting. Furthermore, update you family and friends with exactly when and where you are going, and when you will return.

Final Thoughts

Online dating can be a safe and rewarding experience if you stick with reputable dating websites and apply the advice given in this article. The vast majority of people using online dating sites never have a problem with safety, but you should always exercise caution and use sound judgment. No matter where you meet someone, protect yourself and be careful throughout your entire dating experience.