9 Simple Rules to Follow to Keep Online Dating Safe and Fun
It can be difficult and frightening when we find ourselves alone and are searching for that certain special someone. All of us, at times, may want to short-circuit the process. Yet we should always be cautious, most especially as communication technology can put the process of finding a partner on hyperdrive. It’s tempting to spend hours communicating with someone you’ve never met who may tell you all the things you want to hear. It’s tempting to look at a photograph and let ourselves fall in love with the image before us.
However, trusting someone with your heart if you’ve never spent time with them in person can be dangerous. It’s important to remember that what truly draws two people together has more to do with chemistry than common interests, and our chemistry is connected to our biology rather than our intellect.
Before the communication revolution, we met one another more organically, and we had access to character references through common community. We also had good old fashioned “gut feelings” that come from biological instincts. These things would help us assess whether or not a person could be trusted; whether it was friends you had in common, or a community where you might be aware of a person’s “reputation.” While I’m not advocating listening to gossip, I would suggest that a person’s reputation within a given community can give you a “heads up” as to how that person is perceived by others.
It’s amazing how deeply attached (and hurt by) we can become to people we’ve never met before, because all of us are looking for meaningful connections. Even a person who may deliberately deceive you is only revealing that they ache to connect, but don’t truly know how to do it in an honest way.
From my experience doing readings for people, I created a list of things to try and be aware of when meeting potential partners on the Internet. It’s important to remember when you meet people on the Internet that they are strangers and there’s no way to know if what they tell you about themselves is the truth. Nor can we ever know what their motivations may be. The most important thing is to never take it personally.
1. Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you from a geographic location that doesn’t make sense. For the most part, people who are looking for real relationships look for people within a reasonable distance to where they live.
2. Remain cautious when people contact you who say they are from a foreign country.
3. Be suspicious of anyone who wants to keep corresponding but doesn’t want to meet you after two to three weeks of initial contact. People who are looking for real relationships want to meet you sooner, rather than later.
4. Be skeptical of people who make unrealistic proclamations before you’ve ever met. Things like, “I think I’m in love with you,” “I want to marry you,” “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever known,” “You’re the only person who truly understands me.” We all want to hear these things, and you will. However, a person can only know those things when they’ve truly spent time with you.
5. If you do decide to meet someone in person, always meet in a crowded public place.
6. If you do decide to meet someone in person and find them attractive, but they never call you again, don’t take it personally. Don’t assume there was something that you were lacking. Remember, you don’t know them, and you don’t know what they were looking for.
7. If you do decide to meet someone, don’t go directly home or directly back to work after your date. Take a detour, preferably one that takes you to a different neighborhood. No matter how the date went.
8. When corresponding on the Internet, talking on the telephone, texting and even when you first meet someone in person, approach them with the same amount of caution you would if it was a person you just met standing in line waiting to order a cup of coffee at a café. Remember that for the most part, most of us are good people, but you wouldn’t expect to know much about them from a conversation in a line.
9. Finally, remain open and hopeful that you will find someone to love who will love you back.
Finding that special someone takes time, and chemistry is rare. That’s part of why it’s so precious and important to us. Look at each Internet date like one little walk around the block. Many of those walks may be uneventful. You never really know how many times you’re going to take that walk; but one day you’ll be on your walk and look up, and there he or she will be—and then you won’t care how long it took.
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