Safety Dance for Online Dating

After what seems like a gazillion years of dating, the last decade of which was mostly online dating (Match and ultimately eHarmony) I started to realize that no one really talks frankly about safety for dating in this new era.

Let’s face it, the world can be a scary place. And, this is not your mother’s dating environment where you often already knew or were personally introduced to potential dates by someone you trusted. These days we are meeting TOTAL STRANGERS online.

Some of these people will be exactly who they present themselves to be….others will not at all have your best interests at heart.

We are not psychic, so there’s no way to know until we see for ourselves. But, we don’t have to go through life peeking around corners and afraid to trust…all we need is a level head and some basic dating safety guidelines. Here are the guidelines that I developed for myself while navigating the wacky world of online dating.

  1. Make your first few dates in a busy, public place.
  2. Always tell a friend or family member where you are going on your date and who you are going with.
  3. Don’t share a lot of personal information before you meet. Hold back on sharing your last name and where you live until after a date or two. I only give out my cell phone number if asked – no home phone numbers (that can be used to look up your home address online).
  4. Stay sober. For the first few dates it’s always important to try and stay sober…not only so you don’t look like a lush on your date, but also so it’s less easy to take advantage of you. Stay under 2 drinks per date.
  5. Don’t leave your purse unattended. As someone who recently went through identity theft…please just don’t.
  6. Don’t say yes to “hang out” dates until you have a better vibe on the guy. My personal rule was at least three formal public dates before going private (this rule can vary if you are only looking to get laid)
  7. Drive yourself to the first date and don’t get into your date’s car on that date.
  8. Don’t accept or go on dates to secluded locations (i.e. no hikes or things like that until you know the person a little better)

It’s important to know that it’s ok to politely decline – if he’s for real, he’s not going to stop liking you if you say no thanks.

Don’t worry that protecting your personal safety will scare men off. I practiced these guidelines with oodles of dates, and interestingly most guys completely understood a woman being careful. Frankly, it was only the guys with less than honorable intentions who tried to push through the boundaries I set.

So protect your heart AND protect yourself…so you can relax and enjoy many fun dates ahead.

Tell me….what do you think about these guidelines? Do you have other guidelines that we should add to the list? Do you listen to your gut when dating?

Photo credit:Brett Jordan’s Flickr photostream

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Categories: Online Dating

Author:coupletastic

I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better place...one relationship at a time.

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5 Comments on “Safety Dance for Online Dating”

  1. Really!?
    November 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    You’ve got it all right, until you lost me at “stay sober”. Do you not realize how bad some of these dates are? Alcohol is the only numbing agent to get through them. 🙂
    Seriously, this is great advice and I do follow these rules. Ladies…be safe!

  2. November 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Ha…so true!
    I usually cut myself off at 2 drinks…then I had a friend on call to ring my phone at previously set time in case I need an escape route. 😉

    The other option was to set a time limit – especially for first meets. Like, “sure I can meet you for a coffee at 6:00″…then, if you like the guy you can extend if, but if not you can say that you have to go to yoga class or something…

  3. November 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    I have had zerio luck with online dating, but I may have not given it much time. I generally seem to pick the guys who have completely lied about themselves in their profile. I don’t know, how long do you try something until you think it is a hopeless cause>

    • November 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      Well, call me crazy…but I did online dating from 1999 until the end of 2006.

      I tried several different sites, I tried changing up my profile. Had friends take better pictures of me. I also got very active in Meet Up groups (kayaking, hiking, book clubs, skiing). I even started setting up a monthly after work happy hour where I invited all my friends and coworkers and told them to invite all their friends and coworkers(PS this last idea turned out to be a GREAT way to meet people!)…but ultimately, I still met my husband online. I think the point is not to give up, to keep growing your social circle and get out there. No one meets anyone new inside their car or their own home… 🙂

  4. postmod
    February 15, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    General good rules for dating when you don’t know the person. Not just guys you meet online but also that friend of a friend of someone at a party or that guy you met on the bus. Crazies don’t just exist online.

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