Dating apps like OKCupid and Tinder can be excellent resources for finding potential love interests in your area. Not only can the right dating app link you to new and interesting people you wouldn’t normally meet during your daily life, but they can also help to forge to long-lasting romantic or platonic relationships.
With that said, there is also a darker side to dating apps that you should always be aware of. Your profile and personal information will be available to hundreds of strangers and you may potentially meet these strangers in person too, so there are a few crucial measures you should take to stay safe while perusing your favourite dating apps.
Be Careful with Your Personal Info
You may feel inclined to add loads of personal details to your online dating profile to find the best possible match. This is of course a good idea on paper, but you should be careful not to share details that could jeopardise your safety.
Don’t list where you live, where you have worked, where you attended school and your home town. Try to focus more on your daily activities, interests (like Bingo Cafe for UK players or sports you enjoy), hobbies and the likes. Once you have sussed out potential suitors, you can then offer more personal details at your discretion.
Communicate with a Match Until Meeting
Many people match with a good-looking stranger and immediately want to meet up in person. However, if you want to play it safe, it’s a better idea to speak with a match for quite a while over social media or Whatsapp before taking the plunge and meeting them.
You certainly don’t need to do this for months, but it is crucial to have a sense of the person you will be meeting before the time comes. Just chatting to someone can give you enough insight into their character to know whether you will get along with them or not, or whether they could pose some sort of danger to you.
Do Your Research
No, we don’t mean stalking, but you do have every right to Google a potential match before you meet them! Check out their social media pages to see that they are who they say they are, and if something seems amiss, ask them about it directly.
If their response is sketchy or they try to change the subject, you might be being targeted by a catfisher. There is nothing wrong with checking out a person’s background to potentially shield yourself from someone who is not who they say they are.
Let Others Know About Your Dates
Before you embark on a date or meet-up with someone you haven’t met before, let some friends or family members know where you are going, who you will be meeting, and that you will check in with them when the date is over.
Having someone to keep tabs on you can be essential should something ever go wrong. Plus, it’s comforting to know that someone has your back, no matter what happens.
Meet Up in a Public Place
You may be tempted to let a good-looking match explore your home on a first date, but to be safe, rather meet up somewhere public. Ensure that there will be lots of people around for the entire date so that someone is available to help you if any issues arise, especially if alcohol will be involved. Bars, coffee shops, restaurants and busy parks are all good options.