Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re not in a relationship you may be on dating websites like Tinder, Match or Plenty of Fish. Activity around this time of year is most likely on the rise as single guys and girls are looking for their Valentine. Finding love, unfortunately, isn’t always pink hearts and roses. One in four women will be the victim of some sort of domestic violence with women ages 20-24 at greatest risk. Also, sexual assault statistics say that one in five women will be the victim of a sexual assault.
So, whether you’re dating or not, it’s always important to keep your safety a priority both online and offline.
Here are 6 ways to stay safe while online dating.
Look for warning signs in their profile.
Does he sound too good to be true? Maybe he is. Not everyone is completely honest behind the guise of an online profile. This doesn’t infer that he will necessarily be dangerous, but dishonesty certainly doesn’t start you off on the right foot.
Just as you would vet a potential employee, you should also be searching online for any criminal records, disgruntled blog posts, and other red flags. Check out all of his online profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) and make sure his stories all match up.
Too sexy too soon?
There’s nothing more of a turn off than a guy who starts the sexy talks and texts way too soon for you. Do not ignore this sign and think that in person he’s going to be a different guy. If he’s already talking about sex, he’s already planning on how he’s going to make it happen. If he’s already disrespecting your boundaries offline, it’s only going to be worse in person and can lead you to a situation where you may have to physically get yourself away.
Arm yourself with protection.
No, I’m not talking about condoms here. Any time you are heading out for a night out, on a date or with your friends, you should have at least one safety item on you to keep you on your toes. I suggest carrying either a Sabre pepper spray or personal alarm for protection against either a potential attacker en route or your date, or your blind date who winds up being way too aggressive and won’t take no for an answer.
You choose the date locations.
Set up an afternoon (daylight) date first, if possible. If it is a nighttime date, head to a place where you know the bartender, server or doormen and let them know you are on a date with a stranger.
Never let him know where you live on the first few dates.
Have a plan on how you’re getting home from your date, without him. Take a cab, an uber, the subway or drive yourself. Do not let him pick you up or drive you home for the first few dates.
That’s all for now. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and stay safe!
Want to hear more? Watch Jennifer's #SelfieSafety video covering the same topic: