Top five tips for staying safe as a woman while participating in online dating
Courtesy of Jae Park
Millions of women use online dating platforms and apps while participating in today’s dating culture. There are many reasons that someone may be inclined to use an app to meet new people in our post-pandemic world. The convenience of starting conversations from the comfort of your own home, being able to rule out people who have opposite values or morals to yours listed on their profile and the lack of awkwardness that comes with ending a bad or boring conversation are just a few of those reasons.
Although a lot of good or harmless discussion can come from using dating apps, there is always the potential to end up in an unknowingly dangerous situation. Women are far more likely to experience danger, violence or harassment when meeting up with a chosen online match for the first time. These apps do not conduct background checks on users and so, it’s extremely important to know what you can do to stay as safe as possible when navigating the modern dating scene.
Avoid sharing your personal information
It may seem like a basic tip, however, there are many circumstances where people can be extremely persuasive and exploitative when they want to know your personal information.
In terms of your profile, you should leave your address and place of employment out of it altogether. It’s okay to have a vague job title listed (i.e. Admin Assistant, Carpenter, Retail Worker etc.) but you should never have your exact company listed as this can lead to someone showing up at your workplace or harassing you. Instead, keep that information to yourself until you can meet in person and be sure that you can trust that person.
You should also never give someone your bank or credit card information. This includes ignoring all pleas for financial help. Scammers can be really convincing and can sometimes emotionally manipulate you into giving them money or credit card details. It’s important to safeguard this information and never give or accept any money from someone you have met online.
Tell a friend
When meeting up with a date in person, it is important to stay safe by never doing it in secret. Always tell a friend where you are going and if you can, share your phone’s location with that friend so that they know you are safe. It’s also a good idea to periodically check in with your friend if you get the chance. Head to the washroom or outside for air at a more subdued point in the date to send your friend a quick text about how things are going. This is also a good way to let a friend know if you need help or an excuse to leave if things are going poorly or you feel unsafe.
Courtesy of Daniel Andraski
Have your own transportation
Never rely on someone you have never met in person for transportation. You should always have your own way to and from the date location whether that means having your own car, using a carshare service like Uber, taking a taxi or taking public transportation. It is important to note that with the use of a rideshare app, you should have a fully charged phone and a reliable data plan. If you are planning on taking public transportation, look up the cost before the date and make sure you have the correct amount of money in change on you.
Relying on the other person for transportation or offering them a ride can create the opportunity for a more dangerous or uncomfortable situation. Always meet in a public place on your own terms.
Have trust in yourself and your intuition
When scrolling through an app you should be cautious of the profiles you are intersecting with. If something seems off or fake there is a high chance that it is. Use your intuition and do not interact with any profiles that rub you the wrong way. For example, if a profile only has one photo and weak prompts, it probably means that person is not the most safe or they may even be fake.
The same goes for when you do swipe right on or like someone and you move to conversation. If something is said that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not feel like you have to continue messaging this person. You are more than allowed to block, report, unmatch and move on. When leading up to a date, if you feel uneasy or your gut is telling you not to go, listen to and trust yourself. Your safety and comfort are far more important than any date experience and if the person you are talking to is a good person, they will understand that.
Courtesy of ron lach
Get help from a stranger
If you feel stuck and unsafe, enlist the help of a stranger. Tell the waiter, bartender, barista or call the police if you need to. You should not stay on a date that is making you uncomfortable or leaving you feeling unsafe. Telling a stranger in the date’s location of your concerns will ultimately help you get out of the situation safely. They may be able to help you get a ride home, distract your date so that you can leave safely or help you make a call to a friend or family member.
When participating in online dating, it is important to be open-minded and ready to experience meeting new people, however, your safety should be the number one priority. Never compromise feeling safe for meeting an app match. Dating should be a fun experience, not a scary one!