From your phone to IRL - meeting people online: the guide to safe dating
Did you know that roughly 22 percent of all couples that meet online will get engaged?
It’s true, and to a point, this statistic proves that online dating can work. It also shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear that online dating (including dating apps) have become the go-to way to meet new people.
Of course, meeting people online is not always the safest thing. In most cases, it’s fine. More often than not, the person you’re going to meet is just like you—a normal person scrolling through Tinder while saying to themselves, “I want to meet someone special.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be a safe date. We’ve all heard about dating horror stories involving sexual harassment, threatening language, blackmail, and even stalking. So, how do you meet IRL while staying safe?
Before you meet anyone from a dating app…
It’s important to get a good beat on what to expect from a date and what type of person your potential date is. That’s why it makes sense to talk to them for a couple of days and find out whether you want to meet IRL at all.
During this time, you should be more interested in talking to your date and gauging whether they seem interested in keeping things safe, sane, and consensual. What should you watch for?
Avoid pushy people, people who get aggressive, or people who insult you.
A safe person is not going to try to push your boundaries or get you to “perform on call.” This is the behavior of someone who is either a predator by choice or too emotionally unwell to carry a healthy relationship.
A person who starts insulting you and ranting to you about their lack of dating success doesn’t bode well for their mental stability. In other words, don’t continue conversations with people who are jerks. Block them and move on.
Don’t feel bad about dropping someone the moment that a red flag pops up. It’s not your job to fix ailing loners’ mental health.
PRO TIP - Wait six hours to a day to reply before you decide to ask someone to meet up with you. If the person in question blows up your DMs, they are not the one you want to meet up with.
Read their profiles.
It may seem like simple stuff, but you should always read the person’s profile and look at all the photos before you meet someone online. While the person may sound alright in DMs, what you uncover in the profiles might set off red flags you otherwise wouldn’t see.
It’s easy to look at a sexy photo and feel like you’ll experience love at the first thrust, but the truth is, looks can be deceiving. That Prince(ss) Charming could be a monster in hiding.
Protect your privacy.
No matter how good your judgment is, it’s very easy to put up a front on the internet. When you meet someone special for a little teasing and pleasing, you’re always taking a risk. That person might have gotten good at talking the talk online, but that doesn’t mean they are the same person IRL. Be careful about giving out personal information like your phone number, address, or even last name early on, especially before you’ve met once in person.
Talk about your expectations, ideally via video chat.
Before meeting someone online, you need to make sure that you’re also on the same page in terms of expectations. This includes knowing when you’re going to meet, how you want to spend the day, whether you want to pursue a committed relationship, and talks about sex.
If you find that they are not on the same page, then you might want to break it off before you date them. Besides, it’s a good idea to have a chat with people to make sure you’re not being catfished.
Choose the right platform for what you want.
This is more of an emotional safety issue than a physical one, but it’s worth pointing out. The number one rule of learning how to meet someone special is recognizing that some places are “greener” than others.
You can always try mainstream dating apps like Tinder, but don’t limit yourself to big names if you have a special need. Specialized dating platforms tend to work better for people with niche needs—such as polyamory, LGBTQIA+ relationships, or even vegan dating.
How to meet someone online for the first time
Now that we went into the preliminaries, it’s time to talk about the moment you actually meet that cutie with a booty for the first time. These safety tips will work well in almost any situation.
Choose your meeting venue carefully.
When you meet anyone on the net, you need to assume that you are meeting a stranger online—even if it feels like you knew them for a thousand years. This means that the first date should not take place in your home or their home. You don’t know this person and you can’t rely that they may not try to trap you there.
The best place for a first date, safety-wise, is a public area like a coffee house or bar. This offers a low-investment way to get people interested in you out there without too much risk. On a similar note, it’s best not to go to a second location after the first one.
Take your own car to and from the location, or call an Uber.
This goes hand-in-hand with the venue issue. When you meet someone online for the first (or even second) time, you don’t know them well enough to gauge their safety. They are still a stranger.
Getting into a stranger’s car means you’re putting all your power to leave right in that person’s lap. Most of the time, this is fine. However, that small sliver of time when it’s not can cause serious damage to your health, safety, and wellbeing. It’s best not to risk it.
PRO TIP - If you feel like the person with you is getting pushy during the date, ask a bartender or barista to walk you to your car.
Tell someone whenever you decide on meeting someone new.
The best way to make sure you stay safe is to have a “safety call.” This means you have a friend or family member who gets the details of the person you’re talking to as well as a quick run-by of the time and place of the date.
Then, they make sure they get a call or text from you after a certain time. If they don’t receive a call even after they call, they should send that information to the police. It sounds terrifying, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Talk about consent and sexy things once you’re ready to hook up.
Let’s face it, we all want to meet someone special—but let’s face it, a little heavy petting often ends up making a huge difference. Sex is going to be on the table when you’re doing the online dating thing, so it’s important to keep safe there, too.
In order to do this, you need to make sure that you and your new boo are on the same page before you hit the sheets. This means you’re going to have to talk things out, including these important topics below:
- Consent: Do you use a safe word? Are there things you refuse to do? Where are your “instant breakup” boundaries? Tell them and ask them theirs.
- Interests: Some people like vanilla, others prefer a little extra kink. Either way, it’s good to tell people how you like to be touched for that extra va-va-boom in the bedroom.
- Protection: Unprotected sex might be a thrill, but it’s not a good idea. If you are looking for a quick please n’ tease, it’s best to get on the same page about condom use, birth control, and views on abortion.
The best tip, though, is to have fun, don’t take things too seriously, and have a little edge to your mating game.
What’s the best way to meet someone online, you ask? It can vary from person to person, but the one thing that remains constant is a good attitude. Dating is not supposed to be this grueling endeavor that people make it out to be. It should be fun and empowering for all people involved.
If you’re feeling like you need a pick-me-up before you go on your next date, sometimes it’s best to have a little help. Bido offers a single shot of libido-enhancing ingredients that will boost your date game and make you feel like yourself again.