The lockdowns and quarantines made necessary by the pandemic has also made seeing other people in romantic situations so much harder. Now that the usual haunts where people find dates such as bars, restaurants, and clubs are either still closed or risky to visit, many people have turned to online dating platforms like OkCupid and Bumble.
According to experts, both these sites experienced enormous user surges during 2020
. OkCupid reported that they had an increase of over 700 percent of dates. Meanwhile, Bumble reported their user’s video called each other 70 percent more during the same year.
If you are just entering the online dating pool this year, it’s understandable to be excited. However, you also need to be careful, especially when dating someone who you have never met in person. Here are ten safety tips you should keep in mind when you are exploring the world of online dating.
The first thing you should do when some online dating platform connects you with someone is to Google them. Unlike curated matchmaking services
, there are relatively few hurdles to catfishing on online dating platforms.
Perform basic checks
Do some basic checks on the person you are communicating with. Do they appear on social media? Are they mentioned in any unsavory news articles? Do the results of your Google search correspond with the information on their profiles? This can tell you if they’ve been honest.
Don’t give just anyone your ‘digits’
Don’t give just anyone your cellphone number over the internet because that means it would be much harder for you to avoid them if it turns out you don’t like them. Instead of giving them your phone number, but you can give them a Google Voice number instead. This can keep your personal phone number safe from people you find suspicious and is easier to remove.
The rule is no different for social media
The same goes for your personal social media platforms. Don’t add anyone right off the bat and instead build up your rapport beforehand to ensure only the right people.
Rushing to meet someone before you’re ready: bad idea
Don’t go rushing to meet someone you were chatting with over the internet. Be sure to build up a lot more rapport and make a connection before seeing someone in person. The best way to do so is by going on digital dates.
Don’t be afraid to turn those cameras on while digital dating
Turn on your cameras and see each other over the screens. Watch movies, play games, or look at livestream fails
on YouTube. This can tell you if they misrepresented their physical appearance over the internet as well as give you the opportunity to talk to them in a more authentic manner. Have several digital dates first before meeting face-to-face.
Keep someone in the loop on your digital dating
Always keep at least one friend in the loop about your promising digital relationships. It’s a common safety procedure after all to have someone who understands and is aware of your situation.
If you have suspicions, hopes, and thoughts on someone you met online, share these feelings with a friend. This friend should also be your contact person when you finally meet your digital date in person. Tell them your arrangements and what time you are supposed to end the date. Establish scheduled contact times to ensure nothing is going wrong. These may seem over the top but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to matters like this.
Communication is essential
If you want a meaningful connection with someone over the internet, continual communication is essential. Talk about your favorite shows, explore your mutual interests and build on these. These types of deep conversations are essential in connecting, not to mention they will allow you to determine if you are genuinely attracted to this person. It can also reveal if they are who they said they are in the earlier stages of your connection.
Exercise basic safety protocols when dating in-person
If you feel like you are finally comfortable enough to meet them in person, there’s no excuse for following basic safety protocols for physical interaction. Even though you may be vaccinated, keep wearing a mask to protect yourself and those around you from the virus.
Meet in a public space
To reduce the risk of untoward incidents occurring, meet at a public place like a park for a picnic or an outdoor restaurant for a meal. Doing so not only follows standard guidelines for staying healthy, but it also ensures you are in a public space where you can find assistance should things not turn out the way you want them to.
Online dating can be very exciting, and you could meet someone interesting through these platforms. However, just like with regular dating, you should always keep a level head and follow standard safety rules to protect yourself. Employing such tactics will ensure that you don’t get hoodwinked or worse by someone you just met online.