Online dating has never been as popular as it is now. Where once there may have been a stigma, no longer do online daters have to worry about ridicule. Research indicates that roughly 1 in 3 married couples met each other online and nearly 50% of people have used an online dating site.
Despite its popularity, online dating can still go terribly wrong. From bad dates to misleading profiles to—unfortunately—safety concerns. The most common lies people encounter in online dating are; lies about profile photos, lies about height and weight, lies about income and lies about relationship status. But alas, in today’s instant gratification, fast paced society, online dating continues to be a convenient medium for people to search for true love.
Since the benefits (love!) outweigh some of the possible drawbacks, there needs to be a way to protect yourself online. Here are five tips to help you do just that.
Honesty is the best policy
The first thing you do when you sign up for any dating site is fill out your profile. As soon as you start, the second thing you might consider is embellishing some details or even outright fibbing. While it may seem like a good move in the short-term, there’s little long-term value to hiding the truth (or exaggerating the truth). Lie about your picture? It likely won’t make it past the first date. Lie about your job or income? It might not affect date number one, but if you do find love it will turn into a difficult conversation down the road. Have the confidence to be yourself and you’ll help steer clear of emotional disaster.
Honesty might be the best policy, but you don’t have share everything up front. You can be honest without oversharing. Sharing personal details too soon could scare away potential suitors. Let your dates get to know you over time, just like with traditional dating. Apart from scaring away dates, the main reason you don’t want to overshare is for your personal safety. Your dates don’t need to know where you live. They also don’t need to know details that could lead to identity theft like your mother’s maiden name. Be open and honest, but safe and cautious with what you share.
Technology is your friend
Controlling your own information is easy. You decided to be honest, but how can you be sure your date is playing by the same rules? One way to do it is by simply choosing the right dating apps. With safety and transparency becoming top priorities to online daters, apps like bTru have surfaced to help daters stay safe and happy. Using the app, daters are able to see real-time photos of their date, run background checks and even make calls without sharing their personal contact information. Everyone wants to be sure that the person they’re talking to online is really the person they say they are.
Research, research, research!
Would you go on a job interview without doing a little background research about the job beforehand? Why should meeting someone online be any different? Google searching, social media and tech apps are all your friend when it comes to verifying some basic info about your date before you meet in person. At minimum, you want to make sure your date really looks like the photos they’ve sent, ensure they’re not married and do some digging they’re not on America’s Most Wanted top 10 list. Don’t feel bad about Google stalking, it’s better than ending up with an actual stalker of your own.
Have realistic expectations
Although not as important as your physical safety, a big part of online dating is your emotional safety. You want to be happy. That’s one of the reasons you’ve started to look for love online. It’s already been noted that you’ll be honest in your online dating, but your date might not follow those same rules. Read dating profiles with a grain of salt. Your date says they own their own business—it just happens to be in their parents’ basement. Try not to put your date on a pedestal before a meeting. There will be letdowns, but with the right expectations you can move on from them without it ruining your evening. Of course this doesn’t mean you should settle. It simply means that nobody is perfect. Knowing those flaws will surface will allow you to relax and just enjoy getting to know a new person.