Dating in the 21st century has become easier but also more difficult. With online dating and hook up sites, the dating world has become so much larger than ever before. You can even be instantly connected to someone on the other side of the world. We are meeting people we never would have met if it wasn’t for online dating.
Instead of dating people we know or our friends know, we are dating strangers. While meeting someone new and unknown is fun, safety becomes even more vital.
So in order to be able to write this, I signed up for a dating site and paid for a 1 month membership. I made a handful of friends on there and I met a few potential dating interests in person and have had very different outcomes with each one.
Honesty In The Online Dating World:
The main problem with online dating is that you don’t know if the person you are talking to is actually the real person behind the keyboard. This is what is known as Catfishing. Catfishing has become such a huge phenomenon that there is a show on MTV that is dedicated solely to busting Catfishers.
Online, a person doesn’t have to tell you anything factual about themselves. There is no safeguard against this so you have to trust your gut. If you feel like that amazing guy (lets call him Steve) isn’t telling you everything, he probably isn’t. Steve could be married with 5 kids. Steve’s name could be Chester. Steve could be your cousin just messing with you.
If something doesn’t feel right, ask questions. If he evades the question, stop dealing with him immediately. If he answers the same question with a different answer than the last time you talked about it, stop talking to him. If he makes you feel weird about anything at all, stop talking to him.
Some dating apps have verification steps to confirm a person is who they say they are. The more steps a person took to confirm their identity the better. Certain sites have people whose sole job is to confirm their members are who they say they are.
Your Personal Information:
Limit how much you tell someone about yourself. Don’t tell them your address or where you work. Only your first name is necessary until you have decided to meet in person and then decide how much you want to share after that.
Do not share overly detailed facts or stories about your life, or your past. It is easier than ever now to find someone online with a handful of facts and a first name. I used to do that for a living, trust me on it.
Meeting In Person:
So, you have been talking to Steve for awhile now and you are feeling very comfortable with him, there are no red flags, no bad feelings in your gut, and you think it is time to meet in person. You have to be so careful!
- Ask for Steve’s last name before you agree to meet him.
- Meet in a very public place. Make sure there are other people around.
- Drive yourself to your date, he still doesn’t need to know where you live.
- Tell a friend every detail of your plans and stick to that. Tell them where you are going, give them Steve’s information (last name and phone number), what you are planning on doing, etc. If something changes with your plans, text that same friend immediately.
- I recommend not drinking on the first date, but if you decide to, have a friend lined up to be your sober driver. Maybe have that friend be nearby too in case you get sloppy drunk.
- Do not let Steve drive you home or anywhere for that matter until you really know him.
- Watch your drinks, ladies. It’s very easy to slip something into someone’s drink without them knowing. If you have to use the restroom, ask for a fresh drink when you return to the table. If you start feeling strange at all, stop drinking your beverage and contact your waiter/bartender right away. They will take care of you.
- Do not go home with him or take him home. If you felt that connection and you just really need to sleep with him, drive yourself and don’t forget to tell your friend where you’re going. If something doesn’t feel right on the way to his house, turn around and go home.
My Experience With Online Dating:
So I met a few guys on one site that I hit it off with and decided to meet up for dinner dates.
- Date 1: Mr. Nice Guy who is Secretly a BDSM Sub. After talking for a few days, I decided to go to dinner with this guy. He was nice enough, lied about his height but everything else he told me seemed to be on point.
Lovely date. Chatted, ate some pizza. Cue the emergency have to leave early excuse, he had to go pick up his daughter. I was okay with that. I went home, continued talking to him that night, the next day he tells me he wants me to be his dominatrix. Um… I haven’t seen him since.
- Date 2: I WAS CATFISHED! This guy’s picture must have been 10 years old. He shows up in grubby torn up clothes, proceeds to tell me he doesn’t really have a job, lives with his mom and drives a scooter, so everything he told me before we met was a bold outright lie. I didn’t want to dash out and be super rude so I decided to finish the date, maybe his personality will outshine his flaws.
Had a pizza dinner, and chatted. Went to play some pool with him. Turns out his personality does not outshine his flaws at all, he annoyed me. So the cute guys at the table next to us start flirting with me (I flirt back because, they were cute, I am single and I am on a catfish date and super annoyed at that point). Catfish starts acting like we are a couple to get them to stop, touching me and acting familiar. That was the end of that date. Don’t touch me if I obviously don’t want to be touched.
- Date 3: Mr. Male Version of Me, but BEST DATE EVER. We met at a restaurant to have a soda and talk, and figure out if we wanted to go do something. This guy is socially awkward just like me so the date started terribly, with both of us nervously fidgeting. But once we got to talking, we really hit it off. So we decided to go do something.
I broke a bunch of my rules on this date, we went for a drive to go watch the meteor shower, I rode with him because it was hot and my car doesn’t have air conditioning, but I did check in with my friend every 10 minutes. He regaled me with his online dating horror stories as we drove around for awhile before finding a spot to park and watch the shower.
His stories about crazy girls he has met beat any story I could ever tell you. The one that sticks out is the girl who showed up to their first date with her infant and told him her lease was up soon so she would be moving in. He has other experiences like that one, including a girl who he helped move to her new place for their first meeting who then called and told him she was pregnant and he was the father even though they never slept together.
The date was great. It ended just as awkwardly as it started but after driving halfway home, we decided we wanted to meet back up for a proper goodnight kiss. I really liked this one. Long story short, this guy and I hit it off and are still talking and trying to see each other when we have the time.
Remember, not every online dating story has a happy ending. Sometimes girls who have met people online have been raped, robbed, even murdered. Use extreme caution when meeting a stranger for the first time. You don’t really know them. Men, the same goes for you.
Always be in contact with a friend, be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on. Be safe! And find your happy ending!