Brittany DeSousa gives us the lowdown on staying safe and avoiding awkward situations.
With our world becoming increasingly digital, it’s no surprise that people have turned to dating apps instead of relying on that first eye contact and those sheepish, flirty smiles. However, with the amount of people on these apps, you can understandably feel overwhelmed. Most people give little or no information about themselves so it’s easy to start judging people based only on their physical appearance. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to sift through these people, all whilst staying safe at the same time.
“Mom always said that there were weird people on the internet, but I didn’t believe her until I got my first few messages from guys on Tinder. ‘Hey babe wanna butter my squash?'”
Horror Stories and how to Avoid them:
Mom always said that there were weird people on the internet, but I didn’t believe her until I got my first few messages from guys on Tinder. “Hey babe wanna butter my squash?” “Hey can I show you my spear?” and “I never loved her. I never will” are only a few of the messages I got in the first few days of being on Tinder. I started being careful with who I swiped right, carefully reading their profile info and looking through all the pictures helped narrow the unwanted messages.
If I had any advice to give anyone joining these apps, it would be to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Whether it be a relationship or just a person to casually hookup with, tailor your profile to reflect it. When you match with someone, be very open about what you want, and if that person is looking for something else then it’s time to move on to the next.
Starting a conversation with a complete stranger, and making a good impression right from the beginning is a daunting task. A simple “hi how are you” works wonders, or if you’ve seen something in their profile that intrigued you, that’s always a good way to start . You can always put things about yourself in your profile, such as what you’re studying at university, what some of your interests are and places you’ve been, or if you’re not from the region you can put where you’re originally from. This invites your matches to ask more about it, and is a great thing to refer to if you’re starting to run out of conversation topics.
How to stay safe during the first date:
Meeting up with someone off the internet, even if you’ve been talking to them for a while, can pose some security risks. Even if they don’t ping on your internal creep radar, it’s always best to be careful. For the first date, meet up in a public area, preferably one that you’ve both been to before so that you are equally comfortable with the setting. Tell a few friends where you’re going to be, who you’re meeting and around what time you’re expecting to be home – if you expect to be home. Try to send your friends that are on standby a quick text at least once during the date to let them know everything is ok. In addition to this, make sure that you charge your phone before the date so that it’s accessible in case of any emergencies.
Now I know that everyone’s had that “don’t give out your personal information to strangers” talk, but I don’t think you realize just how much information is on your Facebook account. Your contacts, your personal information, your previous places of employment are all on there. If you’re not sure whether you can trust the person you’re talking to, giving them your phone number could be a better way to go. However, don’t be afraid to block them if they get creepy, and delete them from all your social media accounts if it doesn’t go well.
If going out for drinks, ask for something that is bottled, or pay close attention to the person making your drink or coffee – 9 times out of 10 you are just being paranoid, but better paranoid than roofied.
“Ask every person you talk to what they are doing on the dating app and what they’re looking for”
Good questions to ask before the first date:
Before meeting up with someone from Tinder, there are some questions that you should consider asking. If they have children in their pictures on their profile, but don’t specify that they aren’t theirs, you might want to ask just to be on the safe side. Another question I’ve found is good to ask every person you talk to is what they are doing on the dating app and what they are looking for. It’s a great way to get straight to the point, and make sure that you’re not wasting your time talking to someone who doesn’t want the same things you do. If you are planning on sleeping with them later on, broaching the subject of STIs can be an uncomfortable one but it is one that needs to be addressed. Maybe not immediately, but it’s worth keeping it in mind if the date goes well and you plan on seeing them again.
These apps are all about connecting with people and having fun, but staying safe whilst doing so is an important thing to keep in mind. If you’re getting a weird vibe off of someone, it’s always okay to simply end it there without going any further, or giving an explanation. I’ve always found that trusting my gut feeling is the way to go in most situations.
Remember, “no“ is a full sentence.