“Go to the law library! I’m sure you’ll find some dates there.” Mom’s dating advice.
“There’s always the frozen food section at the grocery store.” Dad’s dating advice.
Where does one find romance? Although it might be safer to look under rocks for potential mates, some of us don’t have that kind of time or energy. These days, online dating is a viable option for finding dates. Online dating may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but some people have had great success using various websites and apps to find romance, and dare I say it, love. There are many things to think about when finding dates online.
- Is dating online safe? It can be if you’re careful about what kind of information you share. You want to make sure you represent exactly who you are without giving out too much personal information. When setting up an online dating profile, it’s important to share an authentic representation of you, both visually and philosophically. You want a current picture of yourself, but maybe not the picture of you in your work uniform that clearly says where you work. In your profile, you will want to tell people as much information as they need to know without revealing personal, identifying information. So tell people that you have a day job, or that you’re a telemarketer, or that you work in sales, but not that you work at ABC Coffeeshop on Main Street. If you’re going to give strangers that kind of access, you might as well give them your work schedule and social security number, too.
- Consider using pictures you’ve never used anywhere else online. It’s very easy to do a reverse image search and find out where your profile pictures have been used online. If you’re trying to keep your personal information private, using facebook pictures are not a safe bet. Take a new picture!
- Some people prefer to chat over text rather than online dating sites. The power to give out your phone number is completely up to you. Once someone has your phone number, it’s not difficult to find out your name and where you live. It’s much safer to make plans on a dating app rather than giving out your phone number.
- Should I meet someone in person? Yes! That’s the point. Nervousness is okay, but ever meet up with someone if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Always meet in a public place that’s well-traveled and well-lit. First meetings can be nerve-wracking, so it would be best meeting in a place you know well, like your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. It doesn’t have to be at night, either. The potential in a morning or early afternoon date is high. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on that first date if it’s in the morning.
- It’s a great idea to let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting. Telling a roommate, friend, mother, neighbor, or co-worker works. Someone needs to know you’re meeting with a stranger and that they should be alarmed if you don’t check in with them. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of your date and send it to a friend. There is no level of caution that’s too over the top if it makes you feel safe. If your date has any problems with your caution, they don’t deserve a date with you. Period.
One important thing to remember is to take all of the online activity you may experience with a grain of salt. You might find someone you think is perfect for you, message them, and get rejected. This might happen over and over. It may take a long time to find someone that you’re interested in that’s also interested in you, so do exactly that. Take your time. Use online dating as a tool to meet new people, not to meet the love of your life. That’s great dating advice both online and off, but here are more practical online dating tips.