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Tips for online dating

Posted 1/24/2012   Updated 1/24/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Tech. Sgt. James Fountain
17th Training Wing Safety


1/24/2012 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas--  -- You have watched the commercials on television, heard the slogans and seen the statistics. One online dating site declares that one in five relationships begin online. Whether or not this is true, almost every single person knows of someone who uses, has used or has been successful using an online dating service. As the world becomes more and more technologically advanced, social networking becomes more popular and utilized. It seems as if almost everyone today uses Facebook, Twitter, or some other form of social networking.
No one says social networking is a bad thing (in fact, it can be useful and fun), but people tend to forget the possible dangers of using it. When it comes to online dating, it is important to be cautious and safe with your actions.
Here are some tips to help you remain safe:

1. Stay anonymous for awhile

2. Be realistic

3. Use common sense

4. Proceed slowly and listen to your instincts

5. First dates should be public

6. Be on lookout for red flags

7. Be sexually responsible

Stay anonymous. Most online dating services provide secure messaging through their site, so to remain smart and safe, remain anonymous online until you get to know the other person better.

Be realistic. You are not going to find Mr. Perfect or Mrs. Right the first time around. Take your time, do not set high expectations and eventually you will find a good, mutual match.
Use common sense. Don't get wrapped up with someone you just met online or get disenchanted with an "instant connection." Do not try to be someone you are not or try to reinvent yourself online.

Proceed slowly and listen to your instincts. Take things at your pace. Also, remember that if something makes you uneasy or uncomfortable, you have the power to call it quits at any point in time.

Use common sense. Don't get wrapped up with someone you just met online or get disenchanted with an "instant connection." Do not try to be someone you are not or try to reinvent yourself online.

First dates should be public.
It is smart and safe to meet in a public place, such as a restaurant for dinner. Be observant and pay attention to all verbal and non-verbal signs.

Take your own transportation to and from the date. Tell a friend of your plans in case of an emergency and be sure to have your cell phone on you, charged and ready to go.
Be on the lookout for red flags. You cannot always trust someone you barely know, so be on the lookout for signs that suggest different outlooks on life from yours or immoral actions. Here are a few red flags:

· Avoids answering directly to questions, especially those about issues that are important to you. It is okay if people joke about their answer, but eventually they need to get around to answering the question or explain why they feel uncomfortable doing so.

· Demeaning or disrespectful comments about you or other people. How your match treats others can be a telling sign into their future behaviors.

· Inconsistent information about any basics, especially anything within their profile. This especially includes marital status, children, employment, where they are living, but also things such as age, appearance, education, career or the like.

· Your match is nothing like the way he describes himself in his online profile.

· Physically inappropriate or unwanted behavior (e.g., touching, kissing).

· Pushes quickly to meet in person.

· Avoids phone contact.

Be sexually responsible. It should not be a surprise but some relationships could lead to a sexual relationship. Ask your partner about their sexual background and always use protection.

So before you create a profile on an online dating service, keep these safety tips in mind. It is important to remain smart about your actions to find someone to fall in love with.



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