The first of a superb set of online dating tips from best selling author Dr Joel Block Ph.D., relationship expert for CanDoBetter:-
Staying Safe Online
You may have had the experience of not listening to that little voice in your head called instinct. Not following your instincts, usually leads to regret. So, although dating is reasonably safe, your first line of defense is being aware of how you feel and listening to any gut feelings that may be warning you off.
If you feel uneasy, suspicious, or alarmed at any time, take action. While the likelihood is that your date is safe, especially if you have had opportunity to talk with and perhaps even meet briefly before your date, sometimes that internal caution flag goes up, and it is wise to have an exit plan.
1. Meet when you’re emotionally comfortable. Don’t be pressured into meeting your date until you’ve had some e-mail and phone exchanges that are reassuring. Pressure to rush the process is a red flag.
2. Meet in a public place. A mini-date in a public place not only increases the safety factor but avoids the possibility of suffering through a full date if it’s a poor match. Leave-taking is less likely to be accompanied by a scene. Insistence for a meet in a secluded, location is a red flag.
3. Meet in familiar territory. Going into an area you aren’t familiar with can be problematic. For one thing, getting lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood is unsettling. For another, if you need to leave in a hurry, it is comforting to know where you’re going! Pressure to meet where you don’t want to is a red flag.
4. Travel independently. Make your own way to the meet. Traveling independently is a must. After all, despite your predate exchanges, it makes sense to be independent at this stage. What’s more, not only can you leave when you’re ready but you won’t be revealing where you live. Insistence on picking you up is a red flag.
5. Make your whereabouts known. Tell someone you trust about your plans. Make sure he or she knows how to contact you, and where you’ll be. Keep your cell phone turned on. Some people make arrangements for a friend to call in the middle of the date as a safety check. Pressure to ignore your phone is a red flag.
6. Easy on the Pinot Noir. If you are used to having drinks at home, bear in mind it is not wise on a preliminary date. Drinking is tempting because it is relaxing, especially if you are a bit jittery. However, because you may be driving and you are meeting with someone you don’t know well, err on the side of caution—don’t overdo it. It is not safe to lose your ability to make safe and sensible decisions. Repeated suggestions to have another is a red flag.
7. Keep your privacy. Don’t provide home or work contact information. You don’t want your date to show up when you aren’t prepared for him or her; keep physical addresses to yourself. Pressure to release this information is a red flag.
8. Have an exit strategy. For safety reasons and to gracefully exit an incompatible match, have a rehearsed basis for leaving early. For example, you may announce early in your meeting that you may have to leave early to help out a sick friend or that a problem came up at work and you may be needed. Then have a friend call you at a prescribed time; during the call you can make a decision about whether to stay on or make an early departure. Pressure to stay and forego your commitments is a red flag.
Read more of Dr Block’ s advice or check out his website for some more Dating Tips:
Part 1 – Staying Safe online
Part 2- Choosing a good profile picture
Part 3 – Write a Compelling Profile
Part 4- The First e-MAIL
Can Do Better – Dr Block’s site.