Online Dating: First Date Safety
Online dating relationships have many benefits, one of them being the ability to get to know someone’s values and goals before you take the step of actually meeting. However, whenever you meet someone online, you must take extra precautions for your own safety. It is possible to be caught up in the excitement of budding love and forget about taking measures to protect yourself.
Online Dating: Protecting Yourself
* Avoid giving too much information – Do not give out your street address until you have physically met. Use a P.O. Box for snail mail if you wish to correspond in this manner. Do not give out phone numbers that can be easily traced to your address, either.
* Develop a plan – When and if you do decide to meet in person, arrange to meet in a public place and have an itinerary planned from which you will not deter. Tell your friends or family where you are going and when you will be back. Phone them right after you meet to give a description.
* Heed your instincts – There is a difference between being safe and being paranoid, but first date safety requires extra precaution. If the person you have met makes you uncomfortable for any reason, then call your friends or family and get out as soon as possible. You should feel good about being with the person you have been chatting with for weeks. If they are not at all as they seemed, then you need to cut your losses quickly.
* The more the merrier – Another idea is to meet and talk for a little while before joining a couple of others on a double date. This will take pressure off both of you and should make you feel comfortable.
* Check out their criminal background – Run a criminal background check on your date before you go out with them. While some background checks are perilously close to privacy invasion, knowing someone’s criminal history is your right. If they have a record, ask them about any problems with the law. Obviously, if their run-ins with the law have to do with violence, theft or perversion, stop all contact immediately!
* Do not describe your transportation – Do not give a description of your car. Park a block or two away from your meeting place and try to get there early.
* Get a second opinion – If your date goes well and you would like to pursue a relationship, give your friends and family a chance to meet your new boyfriend/girlfriend in an informal gathering. Listen to what they have to say about him or her but do not be too quick to take their opinions. If they have real concerns, then explore them.
Online dating can be fun. However, do not neglect safety and common sense when you are just getting to know that special someone. The guidelines are not romantic, but dating safety is more important than romance when you first begin a relationship. Once you have established trust, then you can relax and let your relationship grow.