People & Relationships

How to Be Smart About Online Dating

More and more these days, people are finding dates and even long-term relationships via online dating sites and apps. When these sites first kicked off, it was something of a joke. Like, you must be too socially awkward to meet people in-person, so you need a computer to help you do it.

But that was years ago. Now, it’s almost the norm. And really, when it comes right down to it, finding relationships online isn’t all that different from finding them in-person.

How To Be Better At Online Dating

Online Dating

If anything, the online dating process can actually help to make things easier and safer. That is, just as long as you approach it smartly and stick to some common-sense rules.

These rules include.

Communicate as Much as Possible Before Meeting In-Person

With this, you want to kind of date a person online before you date them in real life. Just like you might meet someone in a bar or the grocery store, you get to meet people virtually on online dating apps.

To start, see if the person appeals to you visually, and then find out if their interests and passions somewhat match up to yours.

Once you’ve found someone intriguing to you, open the lines of communication gradually. If chats/messaging seems to be going well, then you can advance to voice calling, and then even video chats.

Progressing in this way offers you some safety filters and a way to get to know the other person without any need for a firm commitment. If the person seems strange or dangerous via messaging, you can simply cut it off there. From there, voice calls and video chats really help you to see a person’s real personality.

They may also reveal a bit more about you, but still leave you capable of saying yes or no to meeting in person if you start to get a bad feeling about someone.

Verify Your Match’s Identity

Romance scams, catfishing and other kinds of identity theft schemes have become real problems in the online dating world. Phone calls and video chats can help to cut back on fake personas, but not entirely.

Scammers are smart, after all. That’s why it’s important to do a little extra investigation to make sure that the person you meet online is 1) real, and 2) not out to hurt or scam you.

The internet is a great place to start when it comes to identity verification. The first thing you should do is perform a general web search about your match online.

Doing so could bring up things like other social media profiles, mentions in news articles, and so on. This can confirm that your match does indeed exist. And it could tell you more about their background, stuff they may not have been forthcoming about on their dating profile.

You can also perform a similar search on the person’s profile image. If an image search proves that a profile picture indeed belongs to your match, that’s great. But it can also reveal if an image has been used elsewhere, or is a stock image.

That’s a red flag that the person you’re interested in probably isn’t who they say they are. Or, at least, they probably don’t look the way you think they do.

Finally, there are also online people search and background tools dedicated to providing information for identity verification. With such tools, you can search for your match using their name, city and state to confirm information they’ve told you (like the names of relatives, where they’re working, etc.).

You can also check on any criminal background they may have, and you may even be able to verify the person’s profile images. Knowing this information can make the decision to meet or not much easier.

Make First In-Person Dates Very Public

Assuming you’ve already taken the above advice to heart, you should feel pretty comfortable and safe meeting your match in-person when the time comes. But it can’t hurt to take at least a few precautions on your first “real” date.

When meeting face-to-face for the first time, have the date take place in a restaurant or other establishment that’s very public. Having a first date where there are a lot of people around leaves little to no opportunity for bad behavior. And, at least until you really get to know the person, don’t plan to meet up at each other’s homes.

For those who are used to more traditional means of finding a date, this technological approach may sound a bit clinical. But just because you’re using a dating app to introduce yourself first, that doesn’t mean that getting to know someone isn’t still an exciting, exhilarating process.

Keeping these safety tips shouldn’t take away from the romance, either. Rather, following these tips will just help you navigate the world of online dating safely and, hopefully, successfully.

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About the author

Ashley Judd

My name is Ashley Judd, I’m 27 years old, I’m currently studying MA Accounting and Finance (yes I love numbers) at university in Nottingham. I write down all my thoughts and perceptions and to ramble on about anything and everything.