The world of online dating can be a scary place. Opening yourself up to anyone you enter into a relationship with is hard enough, but the situation is made even harder when the relationship is developed through a computer screen. There is only so much you can learn about someone online, and making the bold decision to meet the person face to face brings with it its own risks. Making the decision to venture into the world of online dating is not an easy one, but it has both its risks and rewards. Here are some of the lessons to be learned by anyone who is thinking of trying to meet someone online.
Always Be Skeptical
As the television shows “Catfish,” and to an even more extreme degree, “To Catch a Predator” have taught us, people online are not always what they appear to be. The biggest mistake you can make when trying online dating is to be to trusting of anyone. People lie, especially online, and when I say people lie, I’m not talking about little white lies such as adding an extra inch or two to your height in your dating profile. I am talking about lies about who the person really is. The Internet allows people to say, do, or be anyone they want, so it is vital to be cautious of everyone you meet online and to approach each situation with skepticism and eyes wide open.
Take Things Slow
The worst thing you can do when trying online dating is to rush into any relationship. Because you were not afforded the opportunity to meet this person in a conventional environment such as a club or at a gathering or event, you are not fortunate enough to know someone who can vouch for this person. Often items when you meet someone, you may both mutually know someone who is able to give you some insight into the type of person you may be getting involved with. However, when you meet someone online, all you have to go on is what this person tells you. Therefore, take your time and get to know this person. No detail is to minute for you to find out. Learn as much as you can about this person before making a decision as to whether or not you want to form a relationship.
Meet Each Other’s Friends
Friends and family can sometimes be the best people to help you determine whether the person you meet online is a good judge of character. Also, meeting this person’s friends will allow you to determine what type of you are getting involved with. They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but the phrase “guilty by association holds true.” If the person you meet online surrounds him or herself with questionable characters, let it be a warning to you. On the other hand, if the person you are involved with is surrounded by people you also enjoy being around, it could be a good sign.
Talk About Everything
Part of the development of any relationship is the process of truly getting to know each other, and the only way to do that is to talk. The more you talk to each other, the more you will learn. Also, pay close attention to the way the person speaks. If he or she is vague, it should raise a red flag that he or she may be hiding something. The person you meet online should be willing to be an open book. If you sense that the person is uncomfortable talking about him or herself or his or her life, let it be a warning to you that this person may not be who he or she claims to be.
Meet for the First Time in a Public Place
It is a sad reality that there are a lot of dangerous people in the world. Therefore, when you finally feel comfortable enough to meet the person face to face, the first several meetings should be in a public place. As a matter of safety, arrive and leave the establishment on your own. If the person offers to pick you up or drive you home, politely decline. By meeting in a public place, you are also helping yourself by making things less awkward and uncomfortable if the meeting does not go well.