Online dating is the number one way Americans look for relationships these days, but how do you do it safely? Here are a few simple suggestions for people looking for love in our digital world:
- Do your homework: before you engage with someone on the phone or in person, find out what you can about them, but be discreet about what you learn.
- Do a Google search – but don’t let them know all the details you discovered. You don’t want to come across like a stalker, you just want to learn what you can to determine if this person is someone who is safe to date as well as someone you might want to date.
- Check out their Facebook page – A person’s photos can tell you a great deal about them. Recent photos reveal their “real age.” Their posts tell you a bit about their values and sensibilities and offer insights into their interests.
- Look at their other social media, too – Tweets, Pinterest, Linked In and other social media sites are worth looking into as well.
2. Talk on the phone first: It doesn’t need to be a long conversation, but getting to know someone on the phone first may help you decide if you want to meet in person. Not everyone is good on the phone, but if it’s too painful to have a conversation with them, it’s probably a red flag for any possible future. If it doesn’t look like there’s a reason to go any further, be kind in letting them know that you don’t think you have enough in common.
3. Your first meeting: Take the pressure off and make the first in-person meeting less like a date and more like a meet-and-greet. Have coffee or a quick lunch so that you have a time limit and an easy way to leave if you want to move on. It’s a good idea to meet somewhere in public for your early dates and not to let someone know where you live until you are sure that this is someone you want in your life.
4. If you like someone, give it time: Like Rome, love isn’t always built in a day. Most of us need to take the time to get to know someone, to trust them, and to feel comfortable in a relationship with them. It’s also important to remember that not every relationship will be a great love or will last forever, but appreciate what each relationship teaches you. Each of them can help you understand more about yourself and what you really want in your next relationship.
5. Be a good listener: Most of the time you can learn a lot about someone if you just let them do the talking. Of course, you want to appear interested and to ask good questions. Let them talk about their own lives, lost loves, bad dates, and the reason they’re still single while you sit back and listen.
6. Listen to yourself: Your intuition is that bell that goes off in your head that says something is NOT right her. If your gut says there is something wrong with this person, trust it. It may just be that they’re not right for you, or it may be your intuition sounding the alarm and saving you from future heartbreak or misery.