A boring evening and an internet connection is a very dangerous combination for all the twenty- something single women out there who are looking for companionship, from any source. But as much as the online world has its perks, it also has its fair share of perils writes Sumitra Sundaram
SEARCH. CLICK. DATE
Meeting and building a quick rapport is very easy online but women all too often let their guard down, lose their common sense and abandon their self protection to a complete stranger. With too many online dating sites and services mushrooming on the internet, it is very hard to keep track of the ones that are honest and well-intentioned. As with everything else, there are certain rules to online dating and with proper internet dating precautions in place, chances of putting yourself in a risky situation are reduced.
First things first, reveal as little about you as you can. The lesser they know about you, the less exposure to risk you have. If you share your full name, phone number, address, workplace and other details, anyone with access to the dating site could track you down. Set up a separate email account just for online dating and when choosing the email address, avoid using your full name or other information that gives away your identity.
QUALITY OF SITE
With hundreds of online dating sites on the internet, analysing the quality of the site you use is of utmost importance. In general, a site that requires payment offers more security features than the free ones. The reason is that paying sites require a credit card so it is more difficult for someone to sign up anonymously. That said, however, keep in mind that not all credit card holders are trustworthy so you should definitely not forego your safety precautions.
Online communication makes it very difficult to figure out the intentions of the other person since there is virtually no physical contact in the beginning. But if you are a little alert, there are certain red flags that may raise your suspicion. Always keep track of who controls the conversation. Check whether they avoid direct questions but keep probing you to reveal information and look out for people whose stories don’t add up.
Dos and Don’ts on the meeting
- The first meeting should definitely take place in a public space. Never meet a man at his home or have him pick you up from your house. It is not a good idea to let him know of your address on the very first date (he might turn out to be a stalker).
- Tell a friend or family member about your date. Give them details on where and when you are meeting, his name, contact number and any other information you have about him.
- During the date, keep messaging the family/ friend about your whereabouts. If not for anything else, in case the meeting is not going well enough, you can have the person call you in the middle and pull you out of the date on an emergency.
- Drive yourself to and from the date. It is always better to have your own wheels as it gives you a sense of control over the situation. In case the date is not going as you planned, it is very handy to make a quick get-out. The worst thing is to be reliant on someone else to drive you back because it gives your date control on how long you spend together and that can turn sour.
- Stay away from alcohol. Alcohol impairs your judgement skills so it is always best to stays sober before and during your date. And let’s face it. If the date was bad, there is nothing like coming home to a glass of wine to wash away the memory!