In the age of the Internet, undertakings once reserved for the real world have moved online. Daily communication, shopping, banking, and social interaction are just some of the activities that have transitioned from being done in person to being done from the comfort of a computer or mobile device.
Among the many things that have gone digital, online dating is particularly prominent – in fact, Match.com (currently the most popular dating site) has more than 23 million users, equivalent to approximately half of the single adult population in the United States. But with online dating becoming commonplace, some of the risks that go along with meeting potential partners found online seem to concern daters less and less. Taking the online dating plunge can be rewarding, but being cautious about your safety can go a long way toward avoiding bad situations.
Meet In Public
One of the most common-sense pieces of advice anyone can give about online dating is to always have your first meeting in a public place. It may be tempting to invite someone over for Netflix and dinner, but a casual dinner at a restaurant or cup of coffee at a local café gives you an opportunity to get a better gauge of someone’s personality and behavior without compromising the sanctity of your personal space.
Don’t Pick Them Up At 8
It can seem like the chivalrous thing, offering to pick up your date for your first meeting. But having access to your own means of transportation can be an important safety net in case things don’t go as expected. Transporting yourself to and from your meeting, and letting a trusted friend or family member know where you’re going are both great precautions to take in order to keep yourself safe and sound.
Going out for drinks is fairly common, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying happy hour or wing night at the local bar. In fact, this type of casual atmosphere can give you a great opportunity to get to know your date better face-to-face than you may have online. But when it comes to smart behavior, not getting overly intoxicated will allow you to better enjoy your date and make smarter decisions when it comes to next steps. Plus, if things start to feel awkward or uncomfortable, your judgment won’t be clouded and you’ll be able to devise a sound exit strategy.
Keep Your Personal Information Safe
Above all else, it can be especially important not to overshare when it comes to your personal information. If you’re meeting in public, for example, there’s no reason for your date to have your home address. Additionally, talking about how much money you make or the nice things you own might seem like a good way to impress someone, but in reality, it’s a good way to make yourself a target for ill-intentioned individuals.