Safety Tips

It is easy to have fun when you play smart and play safe. Here are some tips to get your started.

First Dates Should Be in Public

Never agree to meet at the other person's place, but agree to meet in a public place. A restaurant is a great location, as it gives you both something else to concentrate on from time to time to break up the awkward moments. It also ensures that everyone is on their best behavior, while still allowing you the opportunity to see how they behave in a public situation. You should be an astute observer during that first date, and don't drink too much, if at all. The purpose of a first date is to see if there is a mutual attraction and to learn more about the other person. A first date is a great way to learn about your date in their own words and see how they communicate their intentions non-verbally. By paying attention to how your date interacts on the first date, you will learn a lot more about your match and if they fit. If you need to travel to another location during the date, always take your own car or means of transportation. Let a friend or two know that you'll be out on a date and if possible, have your cell phone with you at all times, on and charged. These are mostly unnecessary precautions, but better safe than sorry.

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Be on the Lookout for Red Flags

Not everyone has the same morals and outlooks on life as you do. And some people can do a pretty good job at hiding their true agenda, even if you've followed all safety precautions to the letter. Dating encourages people to be on their best behavior, so you may not always see the absolute truth behind the person you're dating. Sometimes people can't be on their good behavior for that long before signs begin to appear. You should look for common clues:

  • Avoiding to answer questions directly, especially those about important issues. It's okay to joke about the answer, but eventually they need to answer the question or explain why they feel uncomfortable doing so.
  • Disrespectful or demeaning comments about you or other people. How your date treats others is a telling sign into their future behavior.
  • Inconsistent information about your date, especially anything within their profile. This includes marital status, children, employment, where they are living, and also things such as age, appearance, education, career, etc.
  • Physically inappropriate or unwanted behavior such as touching, kissing, or any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Pushes quickly to meet in person.
  • Avoids phone contact.
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Most online dating sites use a double-blind system to allow members to communicate with each other. This allows members to communicate without knowing each other's identifying personal information, such as email addresses. It is always best to use the dating site's internal secure messaging system, at least until you feel confident that you know the person engough to pursue further. This ensures that if you do run into the seemingly inevitable creep online, you remain anonymous and safe.

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Be Realistic

Your perfect match may indeed be waiting for you online, but you should keep your expectations realistic. It helps prepare yourself if you remember that using an online dating process. Don't expect that everyone who shows interest in you is worth your time and don't get discouraged if your date decides they don't want a second date. It's far too easy to believe they are rejecting you. It probably isn't personal, but it's for the best. So don't take it personally. Remember that you're looking for a good, mutual match.

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Proceed Slowly and Listen to Your Instinct

Take things at your pace. If the other person is a good match for you, then they will understand your pace. You should always talk to the other person by telephone at least once before agreeing to meet. Take note of inconsistencies in their history or any stories they tell you of their life, background, or growing up. Ask informative questions of the other person to ensure they match what and who they say they are in their profile. Ask for a photos (if they didn't provide one in their profile) so that you can be assured of meeting the right person. Don't feel the presured to give out your phone number if you're not comfortable. Instead, ask for theirs and remember to put in the code for blocking caller ID before making the call. There's no need to be paranoid about your privacy. However, it is wise to take simple precautions that will ensure your safety until you are completely comfortable. Remember, you don't have to meet everyone you communicate with online. Some people will obviously not be right for you and it is perfectly acceptable for you to politely say so before ever progressing to the next step. Online dating empowers you to make choices that are right for you. So feel free to make those choices, even if you are typically not used to doing so.

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Use Common Sense

Sometimes we feel like we've made an instant connection with someone we've only just met. That feeling is sometimes a result of the disinhibition that's a part of being anonymous while using the internet today. So take your time and go slowly with new contacts to get to know the person via messaging and emails first. Then proceed to phone calls if you still feel safe, attracted, and curious. Finally, setup a first date when the time is right for you. Be carful not to get caught up in the moment and keep your wits and instincts about you.

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Be Sexually Responsible

Some online dating is going to lead toward a sexual relationship. This is not the time to start being coy. Know your partners' sexual background by asking direct questions about the number of partners he or she has been with, whether protection was always used, how well they knew the people (was it mostly serious relationships or just one night flings?). Whether they have any known sexually transmitted diseases and when was their last medical checkup. It's not easy to talk about these sorts of things, but it's important to do so before your first night in bed. Also, be save than sorry, you should always use a condom.

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