“California man, Paul Nguyen, found dead in Colombia after going on date with a woman he met on Tinder. Police told his family that he may have been drugged and robbed." - MSN News
Such horrific incidents raise questions about trusting anyone online. But the bigger question is, can we escape the virtual world's reality?
Let's get real: The virtual world has all the elements of the real world, including emotions. Thanks to the way we have allowed this world to enter our lives. We do everything online. You name it, and we have something digital in our lives. So, dating is not an exception.
However, while we date, it is always good to play safe. There have been some terrible dating experiences that have turned people off to the whole process. And that's why I call online dating a complex procedure.
Some dating stories haunt, and the recent killing of a young call center in our National Capital (Delhi, in India) is a classic example for the same. The couple met online on a dating app, and the rest is history.
The big question: is internet dating safe? Well, the web is like a vast pool with endless varieties of fish. But the catch is, some stink.
So, it's better to be safe than sorry. Though, there is no specific rule book for online dating. Still, you should follow these tips to stay safe in this digital world while dating.
1). An incomplete profile is a risk:
Any dating app has several profiles to showcase before its potential counterparts. These online profiles can showcase some vital information about their personalities and lives. It is always good to go with a neatly filled profile with some real-time photos.
Any profile with a swanky holiday picture is too good to believe; try checking a reverse image search. It will help you get the person right. Check the profile carefully and try to browse about the person on other social media platforms.
Also, there are background check websites available. Even some apps, like Tinder, Bumble, etc., give users an option to get verified. Tinder also lets you run criminal background checks. You are smart enough to take it further from there.
2). Refrain from taking online chemistry too seriously:
I know it's tempting if you get cute messages, chats, or anything that comes straight from a rom-com. But more often, fact comes before fiction, as online chemistry is a myth. Trust me, and it does not correlate with our real life. It takes too much effort and time when you meet someone real. The worst part is that these chats enter your life too much before you meet anyone in real life. You have expectations from the person and often shatter them when you meet them, and you would be left with broken heart. The reason is - online chemistry is hypothetical. Never get carried away in your trust zone based on a few online chats and messages.
3). Go for a video call before you meet in person:
A lot of people might call this eerie, but thanks to the pandemic, video conferencing on Zoom, or Google Meet is so common these days. And remember, catfishing is a reality; let's face it. If you are able to ask this in the right way, it will only ensure that things are not turning awkward for you all when you finally meet the person in real life.
4). Keep a check on controlling and demanding behavior:
From the very first day, you can feel this attitude, right. Finding the red flags for some weird and unhealthy behavior in the early stages is possible. For instance, if you find the person demanding, like meeting or hanging out early instead of spending some time together, it's time to sense that red flag. If you find them controlling and too demanding from the very first day, consider it a red flag and start ignoring and finally getting away from the person.
5). Say no to people asking for personal information or asking for financial help:
Regardless of the convincing story you get from the other person on the app, never say yes to revealing your critical personal financial information or other personal identity details. Never commit to giving any financial help, be it local or global. Consider this a red flag the moment you get such requests. Make sure you lodge a formal complaint with authorities. Generally, all dating apps have their grievances department to report such matters. Make sure you complain to those IDs asking for such information.
Love it or hate it, online dating is a complex phenomenon, and like any other tool, it has its own pros and cons, which you need to check before attempting to fall into any relationship. Keep safety first and then fun on the list. You never know if you have some exciting story to share with future generations. Best of Luck!
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