From Online to Front and Center
An exciting part of online dating is when you take the online factor out. It is always nice to have companionship even if it is solely emotional. However, most online daters’ goal is to take that on screen romance and turn it into reality. As we have previously discussed in our series, not all responses from online suitors are reliable. Once you have narrowed down the choices, it is up to you to maintain a healthy online relationship. Talking for an hour or two every other day over a long period time can certainly boast one’s confidence and be seen as a true potential suitor.
When you decide to go offline, you still need to stay safe. Despite a year of talking online, you still have never seen this person outside of their online environment and you would be quite surprised of the twists and turns that are potentially out there. Even if you meet someone at a concert or bar, you should still take these safety measures as you never really know who you are meeting.
So how do you make a safe encounter with your online partner? You have to be in control of the environment at all times. Controlling the environment enables you to feel secure and stress free from the situation. You don’t want to be sitting there the whole night, sweating bullets about what is going to happen next and rating your level of comfort. How do you control the environment? Start off with who you are going to be with and how you are going to get there.
You can choose to be in a friend setting where you invite some of your friends to hang out at a bar or to go the movies. This gives you a chance to be yourself with all of your best buds while getting to know your online date. Plus, you can always ask your friends what they thought honestly about your online pal and how they felt with him or her around. This also helps to curb sneaking off or going somewhere alone together because your friends will hold you down to them. Remember, it is one night, so even if your online pal says lets split, you can gently remind him/her that you are there with your friends and that it isn’t right to leave them, you are not that kind of person to ditch friends.
If you choose to be alone, that’s fine. Just be aware that you will not have the support of your friends behind you. This makes us move onto another important point; how do you get to your destination? Always take two cars. There are many reasons for this. First, you don’t know who you are getting in the car with so that’s not safe. Then, you don’t want this person knowing where you live. Your online date could be a great person, but you just don’t have that magical connection at the end of your date night. You don’t want him or her to end up stalking you because you won’t return phone calls.
Always plan ahead. Don’t leave your date up to chance and what may be going on that night. Have definite plans and stick to them. Go to a popular restaurant, bar, bowling alley, anything that has a lot of people surrounding you. Getting lost in a crowd isn’t a bad thing if your date doesn’t end up having date-like potential. You can either not go ahead at all for your date or part ways there if you don’t feel entirely safe with this person.
Remember, if the destination isn’t planned in the date, don’t go. You don’t know where you might end up and don’t go back to his place. You don’t know what is in store for you there. Be safe when you date online because it is better to be over precautious than not at all. Go out a few times like this until you are certain that everything is alright. Good indicators that this person is reliable and trustworthy is when he/she begins to introduce you to friends and family or meeting up with you at his/her workplace. Once you know that there aren’t any secrets lurking around (at least big ones), then it might be time to plan more intimate dates.
Here’s the run down of safely taking your online date offline:
• Create a safe encounter by going out in a crowd.
• Arrive separately at a well visited and fun location.
• Choose a date plan and stick to it. Don’t add on to it as a spur of the moment option.
• Go on a few dates like this before you feel entirely comfortable.
It is important to always trust your gut when it comes to online dating. If anything feels off, then that is the true advice to follow, not what an article says. You might go on 50 dates and still feel uncomfortable. Why? Because this person clearly is not for you, to say the least. Trust your internal instinct and then go have fun!