Love is just a swipe away! Really. So are the dangers of the cyber world. Online dating is fast catching up in the information age. It gives you a lot of options but at the same time also makes you vulnerable. The episode of ‘Adam and Eve’, has ‘Snake’ too. Beware. There are certain Dos and Don’ts for Online Dating. Can you just simply trust a ‘username’ and meet the person in real? Have you ever heard of due-diligence? It is not just a question of emotion, but your security and trust are way more important than what you may miss in the pinky shine of love and kisses. XOXO…. Follow me!
World of Online Dating – Risks Galore
We can surely debate that love should be a part of the list of basic necessities of life. It does not matter whether you are born in the stone age, medieval age or information age, every human yearns for another human. Love comes in many forms. Here we are discussing it in a very romantic form. The coochie-coo form. Technology has changed our world, so why not, ‘the game of love’ should also come into the technological domain.
Just a decade ago, finding friends and love online was a taboo. Now it is a norm. Lives are busy and Covid-19 has changed a lot of things. Plus, all the lazy bums are suddenly more Romeo and Juliet when it comes to the online world. Photo filters and photo editing apps also deserves some (nearly 80%) credit. But we have to admit, who doesn’t want to look good. Even in olden days, the arrange marriage times, the pictures were a little re-touche! ouch. I won’t say all these phenomena as fake. But now the boogeyman comes out. Sometimes, there is a slight borderline between fake and dangerous.
Can you trust a ‘username’, with a ‘green tick mark’? Is that all, and you’ll lower your guard?
Who are you exactly interacting with on the other side of the screen?
Can there be some scanner, con-artist, stalker or some psycho?
If in real life, you don’t talk to a stranger, doesn’t that rule apply to the online world too? Can you afford to break it? Is the risk worth?
I do agree that there are rosy stories of online relationships and couples, but have you compared these to the percentage of online frauds and internet dates converting into crimes?
If you feel scared, Good! Welcome to the real world. Go online, find love, but stay as much cautious as you would have in the real world.
Online Dating – Err on the Side of Caution
The purpose of this write-up is not to scare you, but to empower you with the truth so that you can responsibly find love, without endangering yourself. The online world offers distance, anonymity and coverage. These are good and these are equally bad. Depends who is on the other side. They help a good person to gather knowledge and expand their reach. But they equally encourage scamsters and criminals to lay intricate traps in which unsuspecting and ‘all-trusting’ people fall.
Do you have all the time in the world to check each and everyone in the 7 Billion+ population of the world to decide who is Mr./Ms Right and who is Mr./Ms. Evil? Can you be the guinea pig and be the experimental rat by doing hit-and-trial on your own life? Finding love is okay, but solely driven by hormones is not okay.
Online Dating – Your Roadmap to Safe Love Hunting
Take it Slow – High-Speed Crashes are Very Often
In the love game, most of the times hormones take the driver seat. You meet a person and he/she is hot and talks smoothly and you jump to the conclusion that they are your love for a lifetime. What? Nowadays, even teenagers are more mature. Seriously. With this level of maturity, one should watch ‘cartoon channel’ and not to use online dating apps. Understand this, love takes time. The adrenaline of a first few meetings (even 5-6) makes you believe in ‘love at first sight’. Even it could be. But if not, then what? Be ready for the heart-burn.
If it is love at first sight, then why do you worry, enjoy the companionship for and let it blossom into an affair.
The strange thing is, most of the times even after being friends for more than a decade, people say, ‘I don’t know much about you from the perspective of lover or life-partner, need some time’…..blah blah. But the same people who met someone online and dated for 5 to 6 meets want to commit in a relationship. Recipe for epic failure.
Just don’t rush. Love blossoms in time. You two take time to know each other and what you want from each other.
Not Much Personal Information – Privacy Issue
We have a lot in common, but I will not divulge my flat/ house number, my street, my favourite restaurant and all the places I frequently visit. I can tell my age and zodiac but not the exact date and year. You must be thinking of it as weird. But no. Do you know with average skills of a hacker, having your name, address and exact date of birth, your bank account can be drained. Okay, believe this, in some state, robbers robbed a house because, from the social media accounts (thanks to regular updates), they knew when the house is empty.
Choose carefully what you want to divulge and at which stage of conversation. If there is a con-man/woman, they’ll smartly adjust their talk and mirror your talk to create more commonality. Try not to be a ‘mark’.
Work on that Profile Pic – The DP
For an online dating website or mobile application, get yourself clicked. Look good and sexy. One suggestion is not to get clicked in your own house or a cafe near your house. This all reveals your location or locality. Get clicked in some tourist place. Put some nice filters, avoid vintage-filters, just don’t try to be one of the characters of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Here is a tip, click a picture either at dusk or dawn. The source of light (aka The Sun), should be lightening your face. Take 3 pictures. One in portrait mode. Second, a selfie. Third, preferably a sitting position. And don’t forget to smile.
The Gossip Works – Share Your Experience
In online dating, you are either using an app to swipe ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ or some website. Whatever platform you choose, in the end, you are interacting with humans. Sorry, alien dating is still under development. Till that time, let us focus here. Whatever experiences you are having in the online-dating world, share it with your friends. You think they’ll laugh, good, smile with them. Share as much as you can or can afford too. As they say, sharing is caring. Get to know the online patterns, trends, other people’s experiences etc.
You don’t need to get hit by a car to learn that crossing road while blindfolding your eyes can be fatal. Learn from other people’s experiences. At the same time contribute your experience too. Who does not love gossip, profit from it? Reduce the heart-burn.
Meet At Least 10 People
Mr./Ms. Lonely trust the 1-2 people they get their hands on. Then they are left with the deepest emotional scars. Ah! I know you’ll hate me after reading this. But in your heart, you are agreeing with it. Am I asking you to date 10 people? No. Then what am I asking? Have 10 friends. Be social. Before committing to anyone, just see that you are not the loneliest human being on the planet full of 7 Billion+ people, who in desperation will commit to just anyone for the sake of being in a relationship. Come on, you are better than that. If not, join the army and die for the country.
Having options in love is disloyalty. I agree. But in online-dating, you are already prospecting. Meet around 10 people even if you still like the first one. Why? Just to confirm that it is not the rush of being in someone’s arm, that you made your decision. I know, finding love is not equal to buying clothes in a garment store. But what were you doing while window shopping on that app? At least, see other products on the shelf. Simple.
Ditch the Fake Pics Profiles
‘The Package’ can be bait. At least be a human and not a deer. You see a pic of a person in front of a ‘supercar’ and you think it is real? Can you tell he/she was not at the parking and clicked a selfie in front of someone else’s car? Ditch the show-offs posting pictures from some exotic hotel room or in front of some supercar. Deep inside if you know its fake, you must be smart enough to not fall for the fake person. Be truthful to yourself. Ah! I agree, everyone looks good if the selfie has a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Online dating has all the potential to be what it is not.
Plus, there are many other tell-signs. Like, a person bragging his/her sweetness. Are you willing to get diabetes? Inexact opposite, a person who is rude and brash claims himself/herself to be an honest person. Lol, your dreams of moonlight romantic talk are already trashed. I pity your judgement. What! We all judge people. At least do that to your benefit. So whom to choose? I think being non-allergic to a normal person is workable. If you are looking for some fashion model, then things are different. Have you seen this movie, ‘Talhotblond‘. Do check that out. (IMDb has given this movie 6.8 ratings)
Public Places are Safe – For a Start
If you are not a ninja or a James Bond or even by the slightest chance missed being Lara Croft, it is preferable to meet in a public place. Online dating is a smart game. Why not, smart machines are involved. Public places are safe. At least, there is less chance of getting mugged, stabbed, rapped etc. Are there not such instances. You met some nice human being on the online dating platform. But let the real world prove it. Just don’t take enough chance. Also, one suggestion is that future 7-10 meeting should be in a public place. Not in aloof areas. If a person has true intentions which are not malefic, public places are fine. Of course, you told me, you are finding love online, not one night stands.
Use VOIP and Not Your Mobile Number
You have a mobile number linked to your bank account. It is with parents, the company you work in, your friends, credit card company etc. If you are not some scamster, then I suppose you do not have too many sim-cards too. Good. Nice to meet a normal person. I Love You too. Use VOIP numbers. They can be your Skype, Telegram, Google Number etc. Easy convenient and you can easily drop a stalker by changing your profile. Many times, some jilted lovers (villian guys) write girl’s phone number on some public places for no good reason. These kind of ugly situations can be handled even before they arise. Imagine if it had been your regular mobile number!
Be Cautious, Not Suspicious
There is a fine line between genius and crazy, courageous and oblivious etc. Similarly, there exist a fine line between caution and suspicion. In online dating, there are dangers galore. Suspicion is on the other person. While caution is with oneself. Be careful and observe what you do, reveal and implicitly tell. Be aware of yourself. Suspicion can be raised when the other person reveals something in his/her talk regarding their behavior or history. Suspicion can be triggered by something you notice. Value your own judgement and intent. In a rush to be rational, don’t be an ostrich.
No Games – I Have My Own Ego
Online world should be a little different than the real world. At least in the way the love games are played. Here I mean the ‘game of chase’. You both came to online dating due to lack of time and options. Isn’t it. Now if he or she is not responding to your messages or ignoring it, then it is the right time for you to call in your grand ego. People should know that ego has its uses when used in a proper way. Sometimes it is good. Stop if the other person is playing a mind game. After all, why you want to fall for the manipulator. If it is your deliberate choice, it’s okay, I have nothing against the manipulators and attention seekers. They are also my earthly brothers and sisters. Jokes apart, do break the chase game. End this game, before it begins.
You are navigating the online dating world. So I, with all the intelligence bestowed upon me by the grace of God, came to the conclusion that you have an internet connection and a device too, maybe a PC, laptop, smartphone or a tablet. So, why not just Google Search the other person name and try to find out what you can by a little effort, before going out to meet him or her. Talk on the phone for a few times and see the change in talking patterns in accordance to day, evening and late-night calls. Jumping to sexual jokes, suggestive talks and puns can reveal a lot about what disaster is going to come. Remember, the best strategy to counter a disaster is, to run away from it.
Try to put all the things in perspective. Be observant and interactive. See what has been told to you and what all is available to analyse. Use the brain and fit the puzzle. If it looks okay, then go meet at public place, if something is suspicious, swipe to the next person and continue with your window shopping.
Non Negotiables Remain Non Negotiables
Love is good. But the stage of dating should not be confused with love. When love starts? How do you know that love is there? When do you know that the phase of dating is over? Rather, what is dating? Isn’t dating is a kind of love on probation. Till the employee is not permanent, there are certain things which no one commits. Have some non-negotiables according to your comfort level. They should not be compromised. If anyone forces or tries to convince you, then it is the red zone. Beware of what you are being led into.
Everyone has some personal boundaries, some has with kiss, some with sex, some with drugs etc. Whatever you decide, have that standard set and follow it. Better to be bitter than to repent. If the other person cares for your feelings, they’ll also care for your boundaries. Let this litmus test stand out.
Can You Identify a Pattern? – PUAs
PUAs – Pick Up Artists. If you haven’t heard about them, then you are a deer roaming near a hungry lion’s den. They are people skilled in making other people agree to their manipulations, rather love manipulations. They are backed by psychological studies and talking patterns to lure a person to fall in love with them or to trigger emotions of love, happiness, jealousy, sexual arousal etc. They have these, ‘techniques’ or ‘games’ with which they claim to take her to bed right on the first meet. They are wise enough to prospect a target and then approach. Have you ever heard about Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), should read a little about it. Everybody plays a little love game but their game is non-committal sex and not even a simple friendship.
Security is Your Responsibility
Try to be sober and not much intoxicated. Carry a pepper spray. You don’t know, who have you summoned from the world of online dating. I do wish you don’t need to use all these. But just in case. It’s your security and you should be careful. Let your friends know, who you are meeting, when and where. Don’t pass out or take drinks unless you know and trust that person fully. Remember trust builds slowly. Only fools are all-trusting and ready to trust. Don’t be a fool. Love yourself first.