How to Stay Safe when Meeting Online Matches

Being single in 2024 is not easy, especially when your friends are in long term relationships and your family is constantly asking when you’re going to bring home a partner.

Growing up my parents told me to never meet someone in person that I meet online, but it’s hard avoid when you are wanting to get to know the person you are potentially going to date.

Seeing as it’s hard to avoid ‘the meet up’, there are some rules you should follow in order to keep yourself self:

Always video chat before meeting, this way you can see both their face and hear their real voice.

Send your friend the person’s dating profile. Sometimes, red flags can be easy to miss, so it’s always good to get a second opinion before a meeting.

Search your date online before meeting. Though this used to be considered stalking, it’s now pretty much an essential step into getting to know your date. By doing a simple Google search using their full name, you can find their social media platforms and any news articles about them. This is an easy way to see if you’ve been catfished if nothing comes up on a Google search, they’re probably not telling you their real name. You can also do a Google image search.

Share your location with a friend using your phone and make sure to update them with how the meeting is going. Plus, this way you can have a friend call you with an excuse if you need to get out of the date.

Never get into a car or vehicle with them on the first date. It may seem polite of them to offer to drive you to your date location, but you never know someone’s true intensions. Meet them there and get to know them first.

Meet in a public place. Let’s face it, anyone who has been on a dating app has been asked to come over to a stranger’s house. Though this may be very tempting, it can put you into a very vulnerable situation. Choose a public location like a restaurant, café, or park.

Don’t leave an open drink with them no matter how well you know them. If you need to go to the bathroom during the meeting either finish your drink before leaving or get a new drink when you get back.

Befriend the waitress/bartender. When I’m meeting someone new at a café or restaurant, I try to beat them there and tell one of the wait staff that I’m on a first date. That way, if something is wrong, I have someone who can easily help me get out of that situation. When I first moved to Auckland and went on a date, I had to enlist the help of a café server to sneak me out the back of a waterfront café when my date started to make me feel super uncomfortable, so it’s always good to have someone on your side.

Report any bad behaviour to the app. If a person from a dating app is inappropriate or makes you uncomfortable, always report their profile. Dating apps will block dangerous user accounts and ban them from using the app, which will help keep you and other users safe.

Trust your gut. If a voice in your head is telling you that something is wrong, it probably is.

Though the world of online dating can be scary don’t be afraid to download those apps!

Have fun and enjoy yourself! I have friends who have met their husbands and partners on dating apps, and there are plenty of good fish in the sea as well, so keep an open mind and get yourself out there!

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