Dating online has become so common that it’s easy to forget that it can sometimes be dangerous. That’s because you really can’t learn much about someone from an online profile. Sure, you might be able to read all about their job, hobbies, and favorite books, but in reality it’s really easy to lie online. Plus, how do you know that the person you’re talking to—and potentially going to meet—is trustworthy just because they like to go for walks and listen to the same type of music as you?
Talking to someone online also removes an important safety check for many women: intuition. Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone for the first time and immediately getting a bad vibe? Maybe you couldn’t explain why, but you just felt a bad energy. Or, maybe you met a man and realized that there was something about the tone of his voice that you didn’t like. Did you suspect that he was a liar because you noticed that it took him way too long to answer simple questions about himself? In each case, your intuition may have been telling you that something was off. It’s much harder to get a read on a man using your intuition when all you have is their profile and a few email paragraphs.
That said, dating online can be a great tool. There are a lot of good men on dating sites, and many successful couples meet online these days.
So if you choose to date online, how do you stay safe?
- Don’t put too much personal information in your profile or emails. Remember that when you make a dating site profile, it is essentially public. So, be careful what type of information you put on there. Don’t include any contact information that could be used to track you down. If you say something about your profession, keep it general instead of writing out the name of the office where you work. Otherwise, you never know what kind of guy could show up! These same rules apply to the emails and messages that you send to men online.
- Don’t rush into meeting him in person. Most dating sites offer a messaging feature that helps to protect your privacy, instead of having to give out your personal email address. If you send a few of these messages back and forth with a man and you like him, it’s safer to have a phone conversation with him before meeting up in person.
- Watch out for hackers. Unfortunately, some people use dating sites as a way to send computer viruses or scam women out of money. So keep your guard up, just in case the person you are chatting with is a hacker. Don’t click on any links that he sends you, unless it’s a URL that you recognize and trust. If a man ever brings up money or asks for financial help online—especially if you’ve never met him in person before—stop messaging him immediately!
- Be cautious when you meet a man. Even though it may feel like you know him after a few emails, remember that he still needs to prove to you that he is worthy of your trust. Until he does, don’t give him your home address, and don’t get in a car with him. Always meet him in a public place where there are other people around, like a coffee shop or restaurant. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to trust your intuition and politely excuse yourself! It’s also a good idea to let a friend or family member know when and where you’re going on a first date with a man who you met online. Think of this as the buddy system for adults. You can even have them plan to call you at a set time to check on you so that you have an out if you want to leave.
- Take things slow. Even if you meet a man and the first date goes well, remember that he is still virtually a stranger. So, keep taking things slow. Continue to meet him in public places until you know him better, and don’t rush into bed with him. This will protect your safety, but it will also protect your heart from unnecessary pain and heartache. For tips on what to say to a man who tries to rush things, read my new ebook, What to Say to Men on a Date: Be Your Own Brand of Sexy.
Tune in this Thursday for “Want to Know How to Make Online Dating Easy?” next Tuesday for “5 Secrets You Should Know about Online Dating,” and next Thursday for “What You Need to Know About How Online Dating Sites Can Hurt You.”
Start getting what you want from men. Be your own Brand of Sexy.