If you’ve decided to take your quest for a spiritually and emotionally enriching relationship to the World Wide Web, that is great news. The internet provides a place where you can find many Catholic men and women who share the same morals and values as you. Unfortunately, however, there are some signed up to online dating websites who don’t have such pure intentions. To avoid beginning a potentially dangerous cyber relationship with one of these people, take a look at the following safety mistakes many online daters make, and learn what you can do instead to protect yourself:
Mistake #1: Giving out too much info. When creating your online profile and interacting with fellow online singles, it is important that you don’t give out personal information that could be used in malicious ways against you. If you disclose your home address, place of employment, private email address, phone number and even your last name you could be setting yourself up for an unwanted encounter with an internet stranger.
Instead…Keep anything that you wouldn’t want in the wrong hands to yourself until you are absolutely, 100% sure that the person you are communicating with is legit and worthy of your trust. Those interested in you for the right reasons will respect and understand your need for privacy.
Mistake #2: Rushing into a meeting. Listen to your mother’s advice when she told you to take things slow. You may think you know someone after a few emails and phone calls, but because of the anonymity that the internet provides, you never know who you are going to meet when an internet connection turns into a face-to-face encounter.
Instead…The average amount of time singles spend getting to know one another before meeting in person is about three weeks; therefore, you can use that as a good time frame to go by. However, it is fine to wait longer than that if need be. Wait until you feel it is right and then plan a safe first date.
Mistake #3: Neglecting safety for fun on the first dates. If you allow your date to pick you up from home on your first couple of dates, you are putting yourself at an automatic disadvantage. This person now knows where you live and you don’t even know if they gave you their real name. If you let your guard down for a night of fun, you are welcoming trouble and making yourself an easy target for a predator.
Instead…Opt to meet your internet match at a crowded, public place using your own ride. Make sure that you let someone know where you are going, along with the name of your date. Skip the alcohol as it will do nothing but hamper your good-decision making skills and make you less aware of what’s going on around you. Be sure to keep a cell phone handy and an eye on your belongings (especially your drink) at all times.
Mistake #4: Ignoring your gut. If someone you met online is putting off a shady vibe and your gut is telling you that something is off…chances are that something really is off.
Instead…Always listen to your intuitive side—it rarely lies! It is crucial that you never put your physical and emotional well-being on the line just because someone is paying for your dinner. Always have a plan of action and be sure to assert yourself confidently by getting out of a risky situation to a safe place. Don’t be embarrassed of another person’s opinion of your precautionary behavior—your safety is far more important in the long run.