With the advent of the Internet, more and more people tend to depend on the World Wide Web for just about anything, including meeting their One True Love. While online dating can be a snap, it is still best to take precautions before you can trust someone online.
So before you single ladies can put a ring on it (just like what Beyoncé said), here are some guidelines that you might find handy when doing online dating.
Make your Research: Choose the Right Online Dating Site
You may discover during your research that some online dating sites are for free, while others will require you to pay a nominal fee for membership. Take note that there may be a catch for free sites – again, it pays to do your research diligently. On the other hand, it is not an assurance that paid websites will put you at an advantage. Get your money’s worth and confirm that everything you expect in an online dating site will be provided to you before getting a membership.
Do not hesitate to ask your friends or acquaintances for online dating sites that they might recommend. You may also check out some blogs or forums dedicated to helping newbies like yourself to find the best online dating site possible.
Guys like It Mysterious: Stay Anonymous (At First)
Use the online dating site’s secure messaging system for correspondence. Refrain from providing everyone with your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or BBM details outright. While it is cool to have a lot of new friends, your information on these social networking sites might be used against you if you are not too careful. Unless you are completely at ease and have known a person to a certain extent, staying private in the meantime is the right way to go. A person should be interested in you, and not merely in your Facebook account.
While it is advisable to keep your identity anonymous at first, it is not to say that you should provide false information about yourself at all. Never post a random picture on your account and claim it as your own in an attempt to attract more viewers and matches. It is not wise to change some personal details about yourself, such as your height, weight, and skin color to paint a better image of yourself to others. While physical appearance bears a significant weight in drawing attention, not everyone would come looking for America’s Next Top Model online. Most people who do online dating are looking for someone with the same interests more than Miss Universe (though that would be a bonus, undoubtedly). It would be hard for you to meet your true match if you lie about your online profile, making everything in vain.
Meeting for The First Time: How Safe Is Safe?
You have now found your match and have mustered enough courage to meet up with him. Your next order of business: how to have the time of your life without compromising your safety.
Always do your first dates in public. Never agree to meet up at his place (or yours). Refuse his offer to pick you up and bring your own car instead (this will be helpful to make an easy escape if needed). If public transportation is your only option, let a friend know where you are going, and keep your mobile phone on (and charged) at all times.
A restaurant is always a safe, ideal choice for a first date, giving you enough privacy to get to talk and know each other face-to-face, while staying public just in case. Do not leave your food or drink unattended. Never attempt to drink alcohol more than you can handle, or better do not drink at all.
It is always best to be safe than be sorry. You may be very good looking for your Prince Charming online, but if you are not too careful and fail to practice the guidelines set forth above, Prince Charming could turn out to be an ogre after all.