There are often articles in the news about people being duped by internet scammers, so some level of wariness when it comes to your online interactions is always a good idea - safety first, safety second! as the saying goes. However, as with all areas of life, if you take care of yourself and are aware of any potential problems, everything will run smoothly. Here are a few tips that will help you have a fun, enjoyable and, above all, safe dating experience.
Don't share too much online
Of course you'll have to do a bit of initial messaging, but we recommend keeping it to the messaging system within MSF and swap numbers when you've actually met. Don't respond to requests for sexy pics or information about where you work or live; if someone is genuinely interested in a relationship, all of that stuff can wait.
Don't be afraid to say no
Even if you've shared lots of messages with someone, you have no obligation to meet them IRL if you don't want to: you're allowed to change your mind at any point. Don't worry about offending someone and don't allow yourself to feel uncomfortable simply to save their feelings.
Arrange to meet in a public place
This is online dating safety 101, but it's always worth repeating. It's easy to build up a quick rapport online and feel like you've got the measure of someone, but there is no escaping the fact that they are a stranger. Meet in a public place where you can easily leave should you wish to.
Tell someone where you're going
Another basic, but also easy to forget. Tell a friend where and when you're meeting, basic details about your date (name, phone number) and what time you expect to be home. Check in with your mate during the date (not too much, obvs, no one wants a date who is glued to their phone the whole time) and send them a text asking them to call if you need a reason to escape.
If you need to drive somewhere, drive yourself
If you have to drive to the place you're meeting your date, don't allow them to come and pick you up. Having your own transport puts you in control of when you leave, plus it's just basic common sense not to get into a car with a stranger. It also gives you a handy reason to...
We know that a little bit of dutch courage goes a long way if you're nervous about your date, but we're putting the emphasis here heavily on the little (and none at all if you're driving!). Alcohol creates bad judgement, which could lead to anything from making a tit of yourself by talking endlessly about your ex to going home with someone who you don't know. If you accidentally get drunk, excuse yourself and call a cab.
If you're getting bad vibes, act on them
Bad vibes can be hard to pin down, but if you're feeling uncomfortable in any way, don't be afraid to leave the date. Make this easy for yourself by arranging to meet for a coffee or a drink - something that could reasonably be over inside an hour - rather than agreeing to a three course meal followed by dancing. Your safety comes first, so don't worry about potentially offending someone if you feel the need to get away.
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