With the tremendous advancement in technology, it’s no surprise that online dating is now a popular means for people to make romantic and sexual connections. Online dating is a system where people can make personal connections for romantic desires over the internet through dating apps and websites.
Dating online is tricky, but now with the pandemic, not only is it popular but might be the safest way to meet new people and make connections. It might seem scary for first time, and that’s why we’re here today with a few things you should know.
9 Things to know before online dating
You probably thought this was for physical dates alone. Well, the first impression will always matter whether it’s going to be a physical meeting or a video chat. First impression matters almost everywhere in life because as human beings, we can’t help but judge people based on what we see.
Most online dating sites and apps focus a lot on appearance and someone will probably message you or be willing to start conversation based on what your profile picture looks like. Knowing this, set a beautiful profile picture as you would show up dressed nicely to a first date. Use a picture that best represents you the way you want to be perceived.
Just like you would dress up nicely for a first date, use a picture that you feel represents you at your best.
2. BE YOURSELF
I know I said make a good first impression in the previous point, but, that should not come at the expense of being your true authentic self.
From your pictures, your listed interests to the conversations you have, make sure that they too, are a representation of you. Start off the relationship you make with a version of you you can keep up with.
Don’t feel like you have to change yourself to make connections, those who care for you will connect with the real you.
3. BE TRANSPARENT
State your intentions from the onset. Make it clear what it is exactly you’re looking for. Is it a long-term relationship, or something casual?
Because online dating happens over the internet, a lot of things can be lost in text since you can’t see the other person’s expressions or hear their tone. This can cause communication problems and misunderstandings.
Therefore, being as clear as possible about your expectations and intentions saves you and the other person a lot of time and possibly unnecessary heart break.
4. HAVE AN OPEN MIND
Many dating apps use algorithms based on information that you give them to match you to potential connections. The suggestions given or the people they may match you with may not be your usual type.
The apps are built to widen your dating pool and give you a number of options. So, as you begin online dating keep an open mind, know what you want but be willing to give different people a chance, you will be surprised who you connect with.
5. BE WARE OF SCAMMERS
Like so many other platforms on the internet, dating apps and websites are full of people who are just there to manipulate you and steal from you.
As much as you should be open and willing to trust, be alert and vigilant knowing that scammers lurk everywhere on these apps. Don’t ignore anything that makes you feel suspicious. Usually, these scammers have similar behaviors or tactics.
They are so quick to declare love after such a suspiciously short time; they try to lure you away from the dating app or website too quick. For example; they will ask for more personal means of communication such as email or phone number when you even barely know them.
And from there, of course, they will try to ask you for money for “emergencies” and ask you to do favors on their behalf. It’s extremely easy to conceal your true identity on the internet and this emboldens scammers the more.
It makes it hard to attach a name and face to the crimes they commit so you have to be extremely careful.
6. SEXUAL HARRASSMENT ONLINE
It’s like there is nowhere you can go and escape sexual harassment! Yes, it also happens in the online dating world. It’s a much more common experience for women than men.
There are many sexual predators online and this is something to be aware of as you get comfortable with online dating. There will be that person who doesn’t take no for an answer and continues to contact you even after you said you weren’t interested.
Some send explicit and sexual pictures you didn’t ask for, others threaten you to send nude pictures, some threaten to leak your nude photos and others go as far as threatening to harm you physically.
Some things you can do to protect yourself from online harassment include; blocking and reporting such accounts as soon as possible and collecting evidence of harassment such as screenshots and call logs, in case the police needs them.
Try to limit conversation to the dating app or site to limit how much access these people have to you.
7. DO YOUR RESEARCH
We all have that one friend who can find someone online using just a favorite color and the first letter of a name. Well, it’s time to call that inspector friend once again.
You can also use Google. Punch in the little details of this person you met online. Check out their social media, reverse search their images and makes sure they are using their actual pictures and not catfishing you.
I don’t mean go on full stalker mode, but it’s good to know a little more than what they show on their dating profile. This will help you find information that may help you decide on whether or not to pursue the relationship deeper. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
8. BE SAFE WHEN MEETING IN PERSON
Eventually, after the relationship has grown, you will want to meet up in person. Now, it may have gone pretty well online but some people are great liars and I’d advise that you do everything you can to be as safe as possible.
Don’t give away detailed personal information such as your address. If you can video chat with the person before meeting them, please do so. Share your date location with as many trusted people as possible and try to meet during the day in a public and open space.
There is never such a thing as being too safe when it comes to your life.
9. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT
The last, but most important tip, trust your instinct. Don’t ignore the red flags all in the name of finding love or a hookup.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Listen to your intuition and analyze why you feel the way you do about a certain person or a certain interaction.
Online dating has a lot to offer; great connections and beautiful experiences. I hope with these tips you will put your best foot forward and give online dating a try. You never know who you will connect with or what you will learn, but, remember to be safe!