With the increasing popularity of online dating, it’s worth discussing a rather gruesome topic: the presence of sex offenders on these sites and apps. Some of these platforms have stated they plan to make it possible for people to run a background check on their online dates if you have their last names and phone numbers. Basically, sex offenders have little to no barrier to signing up for the free version of these apps and platforms, but if you have a paid-version account, you could run such background checks on potential dates.
A lot of women are understandably frightened to use online dating services specifically because of this news of sex offenders roaming free there, while a lot of you might feel relieved to hear about the background checking option. But, there’s an important lesson here:
You should learn to be careful when you date anyone, no matter if it’s online or in real life.
You cannot rely on anyone else to screen your dates. Even if the two of you have mutual friends, you can’t go forward with the assumption that a man is completely safe. Instead, you should develop some level of ability to listen to your instincts and intuition.
But, how can you actually do that? Here are 7 of my best tips on protecting yourself and being safe while dating online:
#1 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Research Him
You have a variety of free tools to run your own quick background search – Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other such websites. You could be really surprised by what you find on these platforms, and just how much people share about themselves.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to scroll down to his post from 2012 and stalk him to discover every detail, but you could discover some important detail you should know about him before you start dating.
#2 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Video Chat Before You Meet in Person
Since we’re in a global pandemic, this step is a lot easier to achieve under the recommendation of social distancing. Recommend you start meeting through video chat and try to get a better sense of who he is from a distance. If he refuses and seems too eager to meet in person right away, that’s a huge red flag! For one thing, he’s not respecting a boundary you’ve set right at the beginning, which could foreshadow your dynamic later on.
A man who is genuinely interested in meeting you wants you to be comfortable on that live first date, so he will not try to push you to do something you’re not ready for. Want free information on how to put your best foot forward using video chat? Get some here.
#3 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Always Meet in a Public Place
It’s much easier to stay safe when there are people around you when you go on that first date. For example, if you’re at a restaurant and you begin to feel uncomfortable on your date, you can excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, and then ask a restaurant staffer for help.
#4 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Do Not Travel to the Date with Him
Meet him at the restaurant, cafe, or another place you’re going on that date directly at the location. If he offers to pick you up from home, politely tell him you’ll just meet him there. It’s not a good idea to tell the guy where you live before you’ve gotten the chance to know him better.
Plus, just in case he turns out to be a predator, it’s safer not to leave him in control of the transportation.
#5 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Do Not Give Him a Lot of Personal Information
Don’t overshare a lot of personal information with him right away, such as where you work, live, or other information that would make it easy for him to insert himself into your life.
#6 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Give a Friend or Family Member the Details
It’s a good idea to share the details of the date with a friend or relative. Tell them where you’re meeting your date and some information about him. Let them know you’ll check in with them when you get home, so if God forbid something happens, someone can act quickly.
#7 Ways to Protect Yourself When Dating: Listen to Your Gut
Sometimes, the signs might not be there explicitly that this guy is bad news – but maybe you’ll have a feeling that something just isn’t right. That’s your instinct trying to protect you, and it’s important never to ignore it. If you feel like you’re in danger, tell someone and ask for help.
Sometimes, danger might not be present, but uncomfortableness will. He might look a bit older than his profile picture, which means he lied about his age. Then, what else might he be lying about? If the rest of the date feels off, a second date might not be such a good thing.
You need to take precautions to protect yourself when dating. This will keep you safe and teach you more about how to choose good men to date.
Your Next Success Step:
Want to feel more comfortable with this process? Learn how to listen to your intuition about men by taking this free quiz to discover your dating style.