Online Dating Virgin
10 Tips for Dating Safely on the Internet
Dear April Masini,
It seems like everyone's talking about online dating, and I'm the only one who hasn't tried it! I was watching television the other night, and I saw a news story about a husband and wife who met through an online dating service, and I'd like to try it. But, I'm a little bit afraid. Isn't it dangerous? Do you have any advice on online dating safely?"
Internet Dating Virgin
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Internet Dating Virgin,
Internet dating was once considered a refuge for the socially inept and sadly desperate, advertising and searching for Mr. or Mrs. ”Right” (or Mr. or Mrs. ”Right Now”). But times have changed. Internet dating has fast become a way of life for single adults - and the numbers are staggering! It has also created a massive shift in relationships - speeding them up and intensifying them. And along with offering more and different opportunities than real-time love, it brings a totally different set of problems.
The three A’s: Good News and Bad News:
Good News: It's immediate and it's in 24/7, and while in real-time dating you could never date 30 people in one night -- with online dating you can
Bad News: You may think you're dating someone special, and he or she may be dating 30 people at the same time
Good News: Gone are the days of laying out tons of cash to learn the basics about someone. For less than $25 a month you can meet hundreds (if not thousands) of potential dates. In fact, most sites offer either a trial free membership to test out the service and even, limited free membership ongoing. Check out these two hysterically funny dating sites, Dating Republicans and Dating Democrats.
Bad News: There is none. This is a cost efficient way to meet people, and weed them out without having to meet them and spend money on dates, clothes or just as importantly, wasting time.
Good News: Cyber connecting feels safe because you’re behind a computer screen and it is largely nameless, allowing you to be as open or closed as you like.
Bad News: Some people are dishonest. Cyber connecting feels safe because you’re behind a computer screen and it is largely nameless, allowing you to be as open or closed as you like. Remember, this works both ways.
BOTTOMLINE There’s no longer one type who’s logging on...we all are. But with all of the thousands of people clicking their way to love it’s tougher - and more important than ever to really know how to navigate all the profiles out there...and how to not only make your own profile stand above the rest, but to be selective, smart and safe.
April Masini's Ten Commandments of Dating Safely on the Internet:
1. Thou shall not play games. Searching for a mate or a significant other is serious business. Treat others honestly and fairly. Remember the Golden Rule, ”Treat others as you would like to be treated.” You can be playful, but not harmful. Leading people on or giving them false interest can get you into trouble. Some websites have chat rooms or message boards and you can get a reputation as a tease or dishonest person. If someone doesn’t meet your expectations or it just doesn’t work out, let the situation go and move on. Keep from trying to seek some ”revenge” or ”getting even.”
2. Thou shall be creative, BUT... Everyone wants to look appealing in his or her profile, but don’t over do it. Being too provocative or suggestive can attract the wrong people. Don’t be too revealing. Give your prospective dates something to wonder about. Be friendly and upbeat and show your positive traits, but don’t be overtly sexual, or use double meanings to sell yourself, it could lead to trouble if you meet.
3. Thou shall go slowly. Everyone who is searching, is anxious to find someone, however, keep things in perspective and do not jump at everyone who shows interest. Set standards and try to stay with them. Don’t compromise; there are lots of people out there.
4. Thou shall be informed. Make sure you ask pertinent questions of your prospective date. Don’t be afraid to do a little research to check out the person before you set a meeting. Ask about where they went to school, where they work, and where they lived. Never assume anything; it is even ok to ask how long they have been single or whether or not they've been married and for how long. They may lie, but give them the opportunity to answer the questions truthfully.
5. Thou shall protect yourself. Do not reveal too much information about your personal life in your profile. If you have kids, especially small children, it is wise not to include them in photographs that you post with your profile. Do not reveal your last name until you are sure this is someone you want to get to know. Communicate through the dating service website initially, until you feel comfortable enough to give out your own personal e-mail. Once you have established a mutual ”connection” set up a phone call. Hearing a person's voice and the way they express themselves can be very revealing. Then if that generates interest you can plan the all-important first date. (You can check out my book, Ideas for a Fun Date for some great ideas!)
6. Thou shall be honest above all else. Never over overstate your background or qualifications, it can come back to haunt you. You want to start a new relationship on solid ground. If you don’t want to reveal every detail about yourself at this time, that’s fine, but don’t exaggerate or lie about things. Just as you should be honest, expect the same from your date. Speaking of which, if they are evasive or seem to be holding back on questions you have, don’t be afraid to push a little for more satisfying answers.
7. Thou shall be smart. Remember the conversations that you have shared with your potential date. If there are contradictory stories or if your potential date tells you things that don’t make sense, be prepared to end things.
8. Thou shall not put oneself at risk. When planning the first meeting, choose a public or popular place. Don’t isolate yourself. Provide your own transportation or have a friend take you to the meeting place and pick you up.
Make sure you let someone know about your date and where and when you are meeting.
Make sure you remain in control of your senses. Don’t do anything that could impair your decision making process, like drinking too much.
9. Thou shall trust thy own instincts. Even though you might be nervous about meeting someone for the first time, if you should have serious doubts, be prepared to call the date off or if you are on the date, don’t be afraid to excuse yourself and end the date. Especially, if the facts that he or she is telling you on the date start to not add up, or if your date presents an image that is negative and frightening.
10 . Thou shall not reveal too much. Just as if you were meeting someone for the first time in a bar, at work, at school, or in any social setting, you probably would not reveal everything about yourself all at once. While on the Internet, you have the element of anonymity for as long as you need it. Reveal information as the situation dictates, but take things at a reasonable pace. Do not give out too much personal information (for instance your address) and do not post photos of your children - especially if you are a single mom. It is very easy to get caught up in a fantasy, make sure that you separate wishful dreams from reality.