Online dating can be scary for any generation. With 2020 forcing everything to be online, there’s still plenty of us learning to adjust. One of the biggest adjustments needed? Learning to find a potential lover via dating apps. While most of the industry is overly cautious to ensure their online dating platform is free of unwanted threats, it is important to do everything in your power to stay safe while online dating.
From understanding what a fake account looks like to staying safe while on your first date, we are going to everything you need in here to make a safe and enjoyable experience while online dating in 2021.
Fake vs Fraud
When quickly going through each profile that is placed in front of you, you are subconsciously making judgments and establishing first impressions. Every one of us that has ever used a dating app have come across the account with one, maybe two pictures. Their bio is barely filled out, and there’s not too much to know about them. The pictures are usually lower quality than any other profile, and they usually are very similar photos. Does this mean they are a fake account? Not exactly.
There are a number of people who want their online profiles to be as are as possible. They understand this is a tradeoff with not as many people matching with them, but they care more about privacy than a date in most cases. If you are interested in this person or find them attractive, go ahead and give them a like or a swipe in the right direction. The following conversation will be the deal breaker.
Ask them about themselves, but keep it relatively shallow. Build some trust with this person before you get into specifics to ensure they are a real person. After the trust is built, you can ask them about their lack of personality on their profile. You can even ask them for a picture specifically so you can ensure they are real. You could ask them to take a selfie with a jar of peanut butter, or hold a spoon while in a mirror. Simple photos like this can show you not only they are real, but they are interested in furthering conversations with you, and hopefully leading to a date in the future.
Obviously these are all steps to make sure they are a real person. Its hard to trust someone behind a screen. If you have a feeling that you might be getting cat-fished, listen to your gut. Whether they are asking for money or something else by the end, over 21,000 people were cat fished in the year of 2020. And that number only includes people who lost “something of value”, usually indicating they lost cash.
Avoid Rushed First-Time Interactions
Many times people on dating apps will use their bio almost like a status on the old Facebook. And example could be “Looking for someone to be my date to my sisters wedding tonight!” Although this seems like a great idea, it isn’t the safest way to find a first date with potential partner.
It is okay to match with someone of interest, message them, and never see them in person at least for a week. If you’re messaging quickly and often, its fun to meet up sooner if its progressing that way. With that being said, its important to know the person pretty well online before you schedule anything just yet. Whatever your way of getting to know people are, use them while connecting with this person. If you don’t love massaging on the app, start texting or messaging them on your guys’ preferred messaging platform.
Regardless of age, many people love using Snapchat. It’s an easy way to get more selfies and verify they are who they said they were, all while having the chance to talk more and more. Whatever your way of making sure they’re real, use it a few times before scheduling anything in-person.
Meet in Public
This simple piece of advice could be the most important and possibly life-saving advice in the online dating world. More often than not, bad things are going to happen on the first encounter, not the second or third. This happens for a few reasons. For the first and possibly second time meeting up with someone, do your best to do it in a public setting. If then you feel comfortable with them, you can invite them over to your place or go over to theirs. But until then, you should be meeting in a place where nothing too invasive or unpredictable could happen. Whether this place is a park, a restaurant, or even someplace on the street while you two go shopping together.
If the person is seriously interested in getting to know you and seeing you in person, they will be more than open to seeing you in a public space, especially if you emphasize to them that it is what you’re comfortable doing.
Trust Your Gut
With millions and millions of people using online dating as their primary way to fish through the dating pool, it’s hard to tell who is authentic and who isn’t. Obviously apps should be verifying each user, but not each user feels comfortable with that or trusts the apps enough. With that being said, when you match with someone, they should have no problem helping you feel comfortable talking with them.
Trust your gut when knowing whether to meet up with someone or not. If they seem off, not answering direct questions, or being bossy initially, it may not be a great fit. Unfortunately, matching with people on dating apps is all first impressions. After you match, its imperative to text/chat with the person to see if you guys initially get along. When its all said and done, you won’t be feeling skeptical when trying to start a conversation with someone that could be your partner for a long time coming. Stay safe, have fun, and be smart.