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Using sound online dating judgment to keep you safe.

 

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  Whether you decide to correspond with other singles online and eventually meet or decide to simply make some new online friends, please remember to use sound judgment and be responsible for your online dating conduct. In both the online and offline dating worlds using your common sense will keep you sane, happy and safe. The below information isn't placed in any particular order and all are important elements of sound online dating judgment so I hope you take the time to read them all.  

 
     
  1. Start slow... It's highly recommended that you start out slow and at your own pace, again whatever feels the most comfortable to you. Be wary of the guy or girl that seems "too good to be true", you know... absolutely perfect in every way. Though there are some people that are near perfect (errrr, usually in their own minds of course), keep your peepers open and your ears tuned in to what is being said. Since you'll likely start communicating via email be alert for anything that's inconsistent such as a profile that says "homeowner" and an email that mentions "my room", or an email that says "slim" but an email that mentions his or her diet. All these "little" things are snapshots of the "real" person you're talking too and since the long term goal of many singles is to meet a real person and not some fake, you'll need to start slow and be alert.  
     
  2. Trust your instincts... You should most definitely trust your instincts, especially if there's anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you feel the need to walk away from the current correspondence taking place then just do it. It's not like that person is the only person that will be interested in you or you in them, especially considering the millions of singles out there, online looking for each other.

So if your gut feeling says that she's still living with Mom and Dad and you feel uncomfortable since she said she has her own place then go with your gut feeling. If he says he's single but tells you not to call his cell and that he can only call you "during lunch" then go with your gut feeling. While the details of safe emailing was covered in the previous "Your Online Dating Profile" section remember to stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for your personal information or attempts in any way to trick you into revealing your personal information. In these cases you have to ask yourself why would he or she need or want this information in the early stages of correspondence. The correct answer is that they do not need your personal information in order to communicate with you via email or chat, so... trust your instincts.

 
   
3. Use caution... Using caution and exercising common sense will ensure you experience the best online dating results. Those people you decide to write to and who will write to you must earn your trust, just as you expect to earn theirs. This happens no different then it does offline through consistent honest behavior, words and actions.

They establish their reputation with you over a period of emails, chats and phone calls and if you ever suspect that the other person is lying to you then there's a very good chance that they are. In these cases you have to decide whether to give them the benefit of the doubt, or "test" the potential lie of theirs, or whether it's in your best interests to reduce any future drama with this person and simply move on to greener pastures. Most times it's best to move on and find a lover or soul mate that is going to be open & honest with you now "and" later on too!

 

4. Request a photo... If their photo is not posted on their dating profile, asking for one (a recent one) is OK and perfectly normal. A recent photo will give you a good idea of that person's appearance, which may prove helpful to you in getting a feel for if their profile matches their photo, if the photo they sent you shows them much older or younger then their online profile, and it can also help you with your gut feeling and instincts about them.

If you can view or you receive photo's of them in different modes or settings such as formal, casual, outside, inside, with family, at work etc. then that'll help you even more in getting to know them. If by chance you hear excuses about why they can't send you a photo such as I don't have any recent digital photos, I don't have a digital camera, my digital camera is broken, my hard drive failed last week, my dog ate them, I have no friend or family to take pictures (and I could go on but I'll stop here ha ha), then you should see a great big unfurling red flag, see the flashing halogen lights, and here the big horn a blowing with the mental message to - run for the hills.

If a person does not have a photo posted on their profile or will not send you a photo then they are hiding something and it's time to cut your potential losses and move on, life is to short for games, and online dating is the place for honesty, not smoke and mirror shenanigans.

 
     
  5. Covert online investigation... No, it isn't as bad as it might sound. It's really just using the right "and free" online tools and web sites that are available out there (did I mention free) to locate information on the person you're corresponding with. Initially this paragraph started out small, however as I continued to add various online information, database, and search resources it began to take over this entire page so... I put together a separate page that is specific to locating readily available information on your potential friend, lover or soul mate. You can review all of these interesting tidbits of information on the "Locate Online Information About People" page.  
     
  6. Talk on the phone... When talking to someone on the phone it can reveal a huge amount of information about them. Through the phone you can learn much about their level of nervousness, communication style, and their social skills. Normally when you talk on the phone you don't even think about it, however when talking with someone from your favorite dating site, I'd recommend you listen up more carefully to what they're saying while consciously matching their words to their profile and earlier conversations (email or phone).

Again, unless you feel comfortable or you're ready to move to the next step there's no reason to reveal your personal information, and remember to use caller ID blocking if you do not want to reveal your phone number or first and last name. While YOU are on the phone with the other person remember to turn down the TV, get the kids active with something in a different room, and put your unruly pet outside. It would be very rude of you to interrupt the other person so you can yell at your kids to be quiet or scream at your dog. You wouldn't want to listen to that kind of stuff, so don't put the person on the other end of the line through it either.

 
     
 
7. Meet when YOU are comfortable and ready... The really great part of online dating is that you can get to know a person gradually over a period of time. You know... finding out whether what he or she says in their profile matches what they seem to actually be about.

You can gather information about them and check your gut feeling to see if you two are a good match and potential future soul mates. It also gives you the opportunity to walk away if you don't feel right about it without even having to write a dear John or dear Jane letter.

 

 
     
  8. Watch out for those online dating red flags... Hmmmm, this could be my favorite section. Be particular wary of those people in the world that wake up angry at the world, you know, it takes something small to set these people off in to a rage, they become rude, or they're totally disrespectful. You might also experience inappropriate discussion at inappropriate times, you know... sex talk. If you were dating, living together, married (in a relationship) sure, talk about the 117 known sexual positions, however if you're not intimate or you simply do not feel comfortable talking about anything related to sex, then don't. If he or she pushes the subject that's a big red flag. If the other person gives you information that is inconsistent with their profile, past emails or phone calls such as their age, marital status, profession, employment, appearance, interests or anything else you might ask them about it.

It is possible there's a logical explanation "yes, my profile says I'm studying to become a Geologists, however I've now graduated and work for the Florida Park Service". If you happen to ask them about an inconsistency and they either stutter, stammer or just go silent... run for the hills! If a person tells you that they'd rather not speak on the phone but would prefer to "go ahead and meet" you best see some red. They could be married and just looking for a fling or quick romp in the hay, they do not have a phone, or they do not want you to be able to call them back.

If the person you're corresponding with gives generic answers to direct questions, get ready to call it quits early to save yourself time and aggravation. If for instance you were to ask someone what they did for a living, where they live, and what they're looking for in a partner and they come back with: "I work like everyone else, nothing special", "I live where the sun wakes me every morning with its wonderful warmth", and "I'm looking for someone of the opposite sex that's breathing", then they are either hiding who they really are, or they're simply a total buffoon... block their future emails and get back to finding your Mr. or Ms. Right.

Lastly the first date test is the one that really matters. If they are significantly different in person  then what you've learned about them over time whether appearance, personality or anything else, reconsider a second date. If the chemistry is perfect between you two and you're hitting it off perfectly, then go with your gut instincts.

 
     
  9. Meet your date in a safe place... When you get to that point in your online dating relationship when you both decide to meet, be sure to let a friend or two know where you're going to meet you date, the time you'll meet and when you expect to return and give them your dates name, address and phone number (you did collect this information didn't you?).

Your first meeting without any doubt must be in a public place such as a well know restaurant, coffee shop or other public place whether other people will be present too. If you two meet and then decide to go someplace else, take your own transportation and don't automatically go in your dates vehicle. Don't feel pressured or feel you're being rude declining their offer to "take you there". If they've got any amount of dating savvy, they'll understand completely and will respond to you taking your own car with an  "OK", simple.

Meeting at someone's house, their friends house, or having them come to where you live is a big mistake at the early stages of dating. Yes, there's a chance everything will be OK, there's also a chance that it was (was) the biggest mistake of a decision you ever made. Be smart, meet in a public place, you'll thank me later on this one, trust me. After the date, thank the other person for the date and drive yourself home.

 
     
 
10. Out of town caution for your safety... If you're meeting your date out of town such as you flying or driving to a different city you want to make your own hotel reservation and you do not want to tell your date where you're staying. If your date offers to make the reservation for you, pick you up at the airport a drive you to your hotel, or even pick you up at your hotel to "give you the grand city tour" - politely decline the offer. After getting settled in call your date from your cell phone or pay phone and let them know you've arrived and set up a place to meet if you haven't already.  

 
 

If you arrive at the location where you are to meet and it appears unsafe or you do not feel comfortable, then do not stop and instead call your date and recommend a different place to meet. As always, let your friends or family know what city you're going to, who you're meeting and when you expect to return. When meeting someone out of town you want to take your cell phone with you at all times and if you do not own one then getting one of those "pre-paid" cell phones from your local department store is a very wise investment.

 
     
  11. Get yourself out of trouble... As mentioned many times already on this site, if you feel uncomfortable about anything or if you're gut feeling tells you that something (anything) is not a good idea then trust yourself and trust what you're feeling and call it quits.

If you're in the middle of a date and the person you're with starts sending a bunch of red flags your way, becomes angry, rude, obnoxious or is embarrassing you the solution is simple. Tell the other person you need to make a quick call, get something out of your call, use the restroom or whatever it takes to remove yourself from a bad situation and then walk away. Go out the front door, go out the back door, it doesn't really matter just go.

Never feel embarrassed or concerned about your behavior, your personal safety is much more important then what the other person might think or feel. If you're in a situation where you feel you might be in danger and you cannot get away easily, call the police. It's much better to be safe in this case then to be sorry.    

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