Many people are thrown off by the idea of online dating because they think that the outlook for online dates is very bleak. You risk a lot by reaching out to a complete stranger who may or may not lie about himself. You also have to invest time and emotions in what may turn out to be an elaborate plot just to take your money.
While people have been known to get lucky, the reality that online dating is fraught with traps for the unwary is one you have to face. Here are some tips on avoiding a bad date from the Internet:
Know who you are dating. Sometimes the other person’s profile has dozens of red flags waiting to be discovered. When he/she messages you, is the grammar and vocabulary fairly consistent with what you see in that person’s profile? Chances are, if there’s a huge gap between how that person talks to you and the way he/she wrote the profile introduction, your date might be pretending to be someone else.
Study the photos.
Be on the lookout for signs that your date is hiding something important from you. Is there a clear picture of what he/she looks like on the profile or is there just a vague suggestion of a form covered by dark glasses? You can always try asking for a better photo. If that person is truly interested in you, then there shouldn’t be any problem with sending you a better picture.
Take time to know each other.
Don’t rush into going on a date. Take your time learning about the other person. You should never agree to meet simply because he/she insists on it. Getting to know the other person lets you have an idea of what to expect when you do meet up.
As the relationship progresses, you will want to exchange phone numbers. Watch out for red flags during this period. Providing your mobile phone number would be prudent at first. However, you will eventually be expected to give your home phone number as well. If the other person says that you can only call them during particular hours in the day, or that they don’t really have a home phone number, be very careful. Many people on online dating websites are already in relationships yet they refuse to declare this. It’s possible that your date already has someone else living with him/her and they don’t want the other person to find out about you.
Meet in a public place.
The charming prince/princess on the phone might turn out to be a frog when you meet on your first date. For that reason, always set the first few dates in a public place. It’s not unheard of for online dates to turn horribly wrong so you should always be careful. Before meeting, inform a friend or a relative where you will be and who you will be with.
Expect the unexpected.
Sometimes people get so wrapped up in their own little fantasies that their expectations become too hard to meet. Keep an open mind when you meet your date and be reasonable. However, if it turns out that your date has lied about practically everything, feel free to end the date and make it clear that you are not interested in pursuing a relationship with him/her.