I’ve got a little secret – over the past few months, I’ve slowly dipped my toe into the dating pool. The online dating pool, because this introvert likes to not deal with people in real life until she has to. I’ve been on a few dating apps, and I’ve had some okay-ish situations, a really terrible one, and ones that totally sputtered out for no good reason. The truth is though, a girl’s gotta cover her own ass, be smart and stay safe. I want to talk about 7 ways to stay safe with online dating so you can enjoy the dates and live to tell the tale.
1. Make them wait
A lot of guys on these dating apps want to meet right away. It’s been a long time since I was in a relationship, if you could even count it that (which we’re going to cause it’s all I have). I want to have some kind of idea of who it is I’m meeting, so I always tell them I have family in town (Which lately, not even a lie, everyone is in town to visit).
I do it because I need to get a feel for who the guy is on a regular basis (because you never know when you’ll end up with total manwhore) and I hate making plans the weekend of (weekends are scared creating time). So, I usually make them talk to me online for a week before I agree to meet them. After being single for so long, I have this weird need to go slow. In a digital age, that is hard to do.
2. Don’t pick a date spot where you go on a regular basis
I know I’m guilty of this as a lot of the dates I’ve gone on are at my favorite coffee shop. But you don’t want to pick a place where you can be found all the time (which means no dates at the library for me). If the date goes bad, you don’t want them to find you later on. However….
3. Pick a Place You are Familiar With
Maybe you used to go there frequently, or maybe you’ve been a few times with friends. Don’t go someplace brand new for the first day. Previous knowledge can be so helpful, especially if you need to get out of there quickly. Also, another pro tip – I like to make sure we meet during the day, but that might be because I watch too many true crime shows.
While all of these are great tips for staying safe while dating online, there was one really bad situation I got myself into that spurned this whole entire post. So the rest of these tips come straight from one guy. It all came when I made the mistake of giving him my phone number before I met him.
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4. Don’t give him your phone number until you’ve met.
Usually, I don’t give people my phone number. Even in real life. So on a dating app? Why would I? But on the dating app, he seemed totally normal, was cute and read books – nothing set off my radar that was like “Laura, watch out.” Once he got my phone number, the only thing he wanted to talk about was getting me over to his place and sex (he was a little more coy about it, but that was the gist). Call me a prude, but that is not the first thing I want to think about when dating someone. I want to get to know someone first, as a person.
5. Be Comfortable in Who you are
I’ll be the first to admit, the reason I’m not interested in sex right away? I haven’t had it because I’ve been single since high-school (I joke I’m the most dirty-minded virgin there is). But you know what? It’s not really an issue for me 99% of the time, I’m comfortable with the fact. When I was younger, I thought I’d wait until I was married, but now I’m not so set on that rule for myself.
But here’s the thing, whether or not I wait until I’m married, I’m not getting it on any time soon. It’s not happening until I’m ready, and anyone who thinks they’re going to date me is going to have to take it or leave it. So, when this guy was trying to make every move to get me to come over, I dodged them all.
It also helped that as this all happened, I caught a twenty-four-hour stomach bug because of too much cold brew (the cold brew never loves me like I love cold brew). So while this guy was trying so hard to get me to come over, I was at home, in bed, wondering if I could throw up and be put out of my misery. I’ve never been so happy to be sick.
I’m also highly comfortable in being a total bitch when they get gross. With my job in email support, I spend eight hours a day fine-tuning the craft of passive-aggressive responses and I can elaborate on those all day long. So when I decided that this guy and I were looking for two totally different things, and he didn’t take it well, I got to let the inner bitch out.Trying this online dating thing? How to be smart and be safe when meeting guys >> Click To Tweet
6. Listen to your gut
Oh I can’t stress this one enough, as cliche as it is. Once I gave my number to this guy, that’s when the red flags went up. Within an hour, he had mentioned his high libido twice (dude, I don’t care – ) and the next morning he told me I was pretty enough to masturbate to (he used a different term I had to look up on Urban Dictionary, but still).
For a prude that had never met the guy, that made me feel almost nauseous (though it could have been the twenty-four-hour stomach bug). I ignored it, but then later that day, he tried to get me to come to his house for “cuddles and kisses.” Now, being the proud prude that I am, I knew right away what this was and I’m more interested in getting to know a person before I start letting him put his hands all over me.
The more and more this went on, the ickier I began to feel. Not because sex is bad, but because I didn’t know the guy and he was so set on it. It was clear we wanted different things out of this dating app, and by the end of the weekend, it was time to end it.
Now I have plenty of screenshots of how he took this news in a very bad way, and looking back on it, I’m almost afraid of what would have happened had I actually met the guy. I’m not sure I would have been safe, because his reaction over text was that ridiculous.
7. Make Sure Your Friends Know Where You Are
If I ever meet any of these guys in real life, I make sure to tell a handful of friends. I definitely tell Laney, because even if she’s in another state, she’ll still text me and ask how it goes. If things are really bad, I can send an SOS message to her and get her to call me. My friend, Sarah, and I share locations with one another on our iPhones, so if things get really bad, she at least knows where my phone is.
Dating is a weird concept for me, especially in the era of #metoo. You still have to be smart and safe because at the end of the day, if you end up in a bad situation, you have to know how to get out of it. While you might not be able to prevent every situation, hopefully, you can stay safe.