The Internet is a convenient tools for making new connections whether they be “just friends,” dating, love and even marriage. Don’t have a false sense of safety just because you are sitting in the comfort of your home exchanging pleasantries via chat or email!
Just like you would in any public setting (like a nightclub), there are risks involved which you should remain conscious of. Take care to exercise good common sense so that your experience on any dating site is safe and enjoyable. The following are a few guidelines and suggestions to help keep your experience as positive and rewarding as possible.
1. Protect Your Privacy
Be cautious about revealing your name, address, phone number, email address, place of work, website address, etc. We recommend use of a free email service such as Yahoo, Gmail, Ymail, Inbox, or AOL to help protect your anonymity. Do not allow anyone to pressure you into revealing personal contact information before you are ready. If someone seems overly aggressive in asking for identifying information, cut off communication promptly. If you feel uncomfortable about the exchange, please alert your dating site’s Administration team.
2. “People Tell Me I Look Like Denzel Washington!”
Be aware that others may feel extremely comfortable exaggerating their physical attractiveness and downplaying their faults on the Internet. That’s being polite of course… some folks just LIE!
They may make false claims (“I own my own company!”), omit important details (“oh well does it really matter that I’m shorter than you are?”), post outdated photographs, or even photographs of other people as their own. Pay attention to little clues that indicate that a person may be trying to hide something. Watch for inconsistencies in things they write or say which may indicate a trip to Fantasy Land and the fact that they are having trouble keeping their stories straight.
Also be cautious of evasiveness about providing clear answers to direct questions. If you meet offline and find that the information in someone’s profile is blatantly false, please alert Site Administration and let us know.
3. The Offline Meeting
The first time you meet someone in person, it is wise to along a friend that hangs off to the side, or meet and stay in a well-trafficked public place such as Starbucks. Be sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you should be expected to return. Avoid going off to a second location with your date which was not a part of your original plan. If you just HAVE to go because things are going so well, be sure to text or call at least one other person and let them know where you are, who you are leaving with, and where the two of you are going. Have a friend call your cell phone and check on you if you are late reporting in or after the date.
Have someone at the bar, restaurant or wherever you two go take a picture of the two of you together. Then email that photo to your trusted contact/point person. This is very important so that if (God forbid) something should happen to you, someone will know not only where you were but who you were with. Law enforcement and your family will have a clear picture of the man’s face, hair color, body type, etc. which will help narrow the suspect list.
5. Trust Your Gut
If you feel a little uneasy about someone you’ve met offline its best to err on the side of caution and cut the date short. Sure, you may miss out on a fun evening hanging out with a great person, but isn’t it better to miss a few good experiences than to have even just ONE bad one?
The Internet and online dating is relatively new technology that we’re finding can be used for either good or evil. Taking a sensible approach to protecting your safety when online and offline can provide you with a wonderful dating experience, the chance to enrich your life with some really great people, and the opportunity to possibly meet the love of your life! Enjoy!