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interraciallife.com article

Safety Tips for Those New to the Online Dating Scene! www.interraciallife.com

Post date: 2007-02-05

Over the past decade, online dating has become more prevalent. While it used to be thought of as strange and risky, it has recently become a valuable part of the dating scene. Now that it's more common, you may be tempted to think that it's safer. In reality, it's not.

If you choose to take part in online dating, you need to be realistic about the bottom line. While many people have successful relationships that began over the Internet, the fact of the matter is that you are meeting a stranger, and that this person could easily have lied about his- or herself. So take care of yourself and always be cautious.

Maintain Your Privacy
Never reveal any identifying information in your online dating profile, personal ads, or in initial emails to your matches. This information includes your last name, place of employment, phone number or address, the names of your family and friends, and the schools you attended. If you are questioning whether or not to reveal certain information, just don't. A good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, leave it out!

Most online dating services offer private email, chat services, and instant messaging through their sites. Take advantage of these options so that there is no reason to reveal your true email address, which could be linked with personal information about you.

If you want to use a regular email address, a good option is to set up an anonymous account through a company that provides free email such as Hotmail or Yahoo!. Make sure to use false information in your registration so that your anonymous account doesn't prove otherwise!

First Meeting
So you've met someone you really like. You've chatted, exchanged emails, and things feel right. It's time for the first in-person meeting, also known as the riskiest part of online dating. Follow these tips to decrease the chances that something will go wrong.

Transport yourself. Never agree to have your match pick you up. You need to have an escape route should something go wrong.

Always meet in a public place. Coffee shops are ideal as there are many people around, and the atmosphere is conducive to conversation. You can also go to a restaurant, bookstore, or movie theater. Just be sure you won't be alone.

Tell a friend (or two) where you're going and when you expect to return home. Arrange a time when you'll call your friend so that they'll know you returned home safely.

Bring a cell phone with emergency numbers set as speed dials. It may seem paranoid, but if something awful happens, you will be glad that you are quick-dial away from help.

Don't go home with the person. You may hit it off and want some privacy, but this is simply not a good idea on the first date. If it's really meant to be, you two will have many more opportunities.

And lastly, always follow your intuition. At heart, you know if you have a bad feeling about something. Listen to this feeling, and don't worry about offending your match. If they're really a good person, they will understand.
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