Social networks and chat rooms are a sticking trend in our culture, and online dating is increasing. In fact many youths are going out and putting themselves in potential harms way everyday. I can tell you now that there are no sure fire ways to be completely safe when meeting a stranger unless you make the decision to buy a background check and perhaps meet them at a police station. What I can give you are a few tips and strategies that I have used in my personal experience with meeting people from the internet.
- Get to know the person you’re contacting
The first if not most important is take your time; get to know the person you’re contacting. Talk on the phone, share emails, webcam or instant message each other. There should be no rush, or pressure to meet in person right away. If there is, it could be your first tip off that the persons intentions aren’t pure. A person who wants to get to know you, can do so without having to see you in person right away. If anything they should feel the same way as you.
- Watch what the person says
Before deciding to meet someone, you should pay careful attention to what they share with you. If a person’s lying about who they are their stories are bound to change. If you notice any pushiness, anger-issues, overt aggressiveness, or otherwise disturbing behavior. I’d advise you not to go forth and to stop all contact, block them as fast as you can.
- Don’t share private information
They really don’t need to know your address or what company you work for. Honestly, they really don’t even need to know your full name until you decide you’re ready to finally meet each other. Try not to give out anything that’s not necessary, they should want to know your interests, your passions, your likes and dislikes; not your logistics.
- Public location as your meeting point
Try to arrange a meeting in an open, public location that you know like the back of your hand. This will provide you with routes of escape if it calls for it, and familiar faces around you in case you need assistance. Sometimes, this option isn’t available, but it is ideal. I say not optional because frequently people are traveling to meet someone who is out of state, or even out of country. To which I advise you to the next tip.
- Bring a cell phone, a friend, and mace if you can
ALWAYS bring a cell phone. You need to keep someone informed, because there’s always a possibility that the person at last minute may decide they want to meet in a different location. I’d strongly suggest bringing a friend along with you also, not only to make you feel more at ease but to provide you with a bit more safety. Especially if you’re going to be the one leaving your home state.
- You can never be too prepared
Do all that’s within your power to keep yourself safe, it’s easy to be misguided about an individual you haven’t met. So though they may seem sweet, and nice, they can be someone else entirely. Trust your intuition; butterflies and general first date jitters are normal, but if you feel like something’s off, it probably is.
Hopefully this article has given you a little insight and some ideas as to how to keep yourself safe when thinking about meeting someone off the internet. These are only the staples, as there are many other methods of keeping yourself safe. I encourage you to do your research before making any decision, it could save your life.