People looking to go out on dates have a lot more options to find a match as compared to the past. Fifty years ago, your best chance of finding a partner was through networking at small events or getting introduced to a friend of a friend. Now, singles can simply make an online account on a dating website or app and start swiping. The internet has opened up many dating opportunities, but it is important to remember that your safety should always come first.
Why Use Online Dating?
There is no doubt that online dating is very common, and millions of people around the world are using these resources at any given time. It is interesting to step back and consider why online dating became popular for so many people.
For one thing, online dating broadens the scope of available people to chat with. You simply have to input your search criteria, including age and location, and the app will generate potential matches for you. This drastically increases your options, as you may never have run into any of these people otherwise. Online dating also allows you to court somebody who is living across the world from you. Many long-distance relationships began with both partners matching on a dating app.
Digital dating can also save time in the long run. If you start chatting with someone, you might realize within the first few messages that the two of you are not going to get along. You can easily end the conversation and let them know that you are not interested. This is in comparison to being out on a traditional date and realizing that you do not like the person at the beginning of the night. You might be stuck there for the whole night out of politeness, which will waste both of your time.
Finally, using a dating app is more affordable than going out with someone in person. Many dating apps are free to use unless you want additional features. This is much cheaper than going out on a date with people multiple days in a row and having to pay for dinner, drinks, movie tickets, event fees, etc.
How to Stay Safe – Do a Background Check
The majority of people looking for love online are straight-up and honest about their identity and their intentions. Unfortunately, there is always the rare case where someone is lying through their online persona.
Once you decide that you like someone enough to meet them in person, you should do your due diligence to make sure that you have all the information about them. You can do this by running a free background check on them to try and uncover their criminal, employment, and educational records. The criminal record is the most important part, as you can use it to see if they were ever charged with sexual misconduct, assault, or theft. This will give you a good idea about whether or not it is safe for you to meet them.
Check Social Media Accounts
Taking a peek at someone’s social media pages is a great way to find out information about your Tinder match. They may have withheld some things from you while chatting, which can be a red flag. By scrolling through their posts, pictures, tweets, and videos, you can find out what they do for fun, their views on certain topics, and how they treat other people. You may also find out whether they are currently in a relationship or if they have children.
Finding something out on social media may not necessarily be a deal-breaker. Depending on what it is, you may decide to ask them about it. If you are reasonably satisfied by their explanation, try putting it in the past and moving on from the omission. Let them know that you are expecting open communication in the future.
Insist on a Video Chat
If you are only communicating through text messages and phone calls, there is no way for you to see the person before you meet them. By having a video call with the person, you are verifying that their dating profile was legitimate and they are not claiming a fake identity.
Video calling will also reduce the chance that you get catfished by your Tinder match or fooled by them using an old photo of themselves.
Arrange Your Own Transportation to a Public Meeting
For the first couple of dates, never meet the person at their home or a private place. Only agree to the meeting if it is in a public place such as a coffee shop or restaurant. As well, try to arrange the timing so it is not too late in the evening, and there are still many people out. If something goes wrong, there will be witnesses around who can help you.
In addition to this, do not let the person pick you up at your home. Instead, drive yourself or arrange a ride to the meeting place. You should also not let your date drop you off at the end of the night. Do not tell them where you live until you feel 100% confident that they have good intentions.
Limit Alcohol Intake
People who go out on a first date will sometimes feel nervous and drink a lot of alcohol to calm themselves down. This is a bad idea because you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the other person, who could potentially harm you. You should stay sober so that you are in control of your thoughts and decisions throughout the date. As well, never leave a glass uncovered when you are not watching it. This is a prime opportunity for someone to drug your drink.
Let Someone Know Your Whereabouts
One of the best safety precautions that you should put in place before you go out with a new partner is letting someone that you trust know where you will be. Give them all the details that you know about your date, and give them a general time to expect you to be home. If you are not home by then, give them a call or text so that they know you are okay.
If you want, you could even arrange for your friend or family member to be in the café or restaurant while you are on your date. They might stay for the whole evening, or they may see that everything is going well and head home.
Put GPS on Your Phone
Having a monitoring system on your phone is a smart move in terms of planning for your safety. Share the data with a trusted confidant so they can keep an eye on you throughout the date. This is a less obtrusive way of ensuring your safety, as you do not need to check in with your contact since they already know where you are.
Many GPS tracking apps have built-in SOS features. If you press this button, it will give your friend a notification of your location and a request for help. They can then alert the authorities and direct them to your current or last known location.
Matching on Tinder can be exciting and could potentially lead to a relationship between the two of you. Remember to keep your safety precautions in place, and then go out and have some fun!
This content is sponsored by Rani Arsanios.
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