Anyone who has heard of the internet, whether or not they have used an internet dating service, is well aware of some of the dangers that dating on the World Wide Web can bring. The fact is, if Internet dating can truly be a more rewarding experience than “real world” dating, you may even be more insulated from a negative Internet experience than you would be in a face-to-face situation.
The internet offers several screening experiences that are simply not possible when meeting face-to-face, and taking these opportunities to your advantage can lead to a very successful online dating experience.
To stay safe on the online dating site, start your experience with each potential date with caution. I recommend a gradual elevation process. Begin your search using a screen name that others will refer to when they want to contact you. Moving on to the first name isn’t too big of a step, but giving your last name certainly is – don’t do it until you’ve spent a reasonable amount of time talking to the other person and have an idea of what kind of person they are. Set up a separate email account to communicate with possible dates and never provide personal information in the first communications. If you feel like the other person is pressuring you to get this information, be prepared to stop communicating (if they are already pressuring you into something like this, you are likely to face additional pressure if you establish a relationship anyway).
Pay close attention to what the other person is saying and be sure to record any comments that you make that are suspicious or contradictory as you speak. Don’t be in a rush to do anything, you don’t have to meet until you’re both comfortable. While chatting, both of you will need to establish a direct and direct relationship with each other, in order to establish the trust necessary for a face-to-face meeting (this is one of the unique aspects of internet dating, the foundation of trust is there before you really know yourself, so if everything seems to be working, you are several steps ahead of where you would have been if you had initially met).
Some solid evidence is always good to establish some trust and deepen the relationship. Request a photo and prepare to reciprocate. It can be overwhelming to send that photo, but if the goal is to meet sooner or later, sooner or later they will see each other anyway.
Finally, when the time comes for the meeting, make sure it is in a highly visible area, with many other people around. Don’t be too reserved on a first date, a dinner at a restaurant, a movie at a theater, something with a lot of people around while you really get to know that person.