Online Dating: Be Safe, NOT Paranoid

For as long as there’s been online dating, there have been people writing about online dating. It’s one of those topics that keep people talking.

And for whatever reason, there seems to be a recent increase in the number of articles giving security tips for women who use online dating sites. And for the most part, almost all of them go overboard. Seriously overboard.

They write about online dating as if it were a scary and dangerous thing to do, something that requires extreme caution. And that’s just not right. Because online dating, for all of its faults — and as much of a cheerleader as I am for online dating, I’ll admit it has some faults — shouldn’t be more dangerous than meeting a guy in a bar, at a club or even at your local library.

A relationship expert and dating coach Alex Wise from Loveawake dating site helped us and provide some of the more extreme security tips, culled from a collection of recent articles:

  • Don’t consume any alcohol, even with food. Excuse me? I’m a grown woman. I know that if I have exactly one glass of wine I will still be pretty damn sharp. Now, granted, I live in a city, so I don’t have to drive home. Maybe I’d think differently if I had to drive. But I feel comfortable having a drink on dates. I enjoy it.
  • Take lots of pictures of your date with your phone and email them to your friends, so people know where you are and whom you’re with. Umm, I’d leave a date if a guy did that. Can you say creepy?
  • Insist on going dutch. Some men will assume you “owe” them something if they pay for the date. A much smarter strategy is to keep the first date cheap. If it’s a small amount then it really won’t matter who paid.
  • Use an online “date check” service that will provide you with a thorough background check of your date. This is just ridiculous. Would you use this service for a man you met at the library?

I sincerely believe that tips like these do more harm than good. A woman reading about all of the extraordinary measures she should be taking to keep herself safe is being lead to believe that online dating is a dangerous activity. Which it’s not.

There are some simple and smart things that I do believe women should do to keep themselves safe while dating. And I apply these rules to all of the men I meet, not just those I meet via online dating.

  • Create an email account that does not have your complete contact info (first, last name). Use this until you feel comfortable. I usually switch over sometime after the first or second date. Do not give out specific work information or anything too detailed about your address, etc.
  • Meet in a public place. Arrive and leave separately.
  • Google the guy. Make sure everything he’s told you seems accurate. If you really feel the need to do more, I have one thing to say to you: “trust issues.”
  • Don’t get drunk. Seriously, don’t get drunk.
  • Go with your gut. If something seems off, don’t go out with him.

Comment below: What precautions do you take when online dating?

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