To start with, there are different platforms for online dating services. The most basic is a general online dating service where you can view everyone who has posted a profile. Samples of this type of general dating sites include FriendFinder, and Match.com. Then there are relationship-based services that find you a match based on criteria for compatibility. This type of service is generally for those who take dating and finding a mate more seriously such as sites like eHarmony. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Friendster are also venues for online dating, although the emphasis is not so much for online dating as it is on networking. Nevertheless, some users do find relationships through these sites, usually through a mutual friendship. There are also services who match up people with similar interests. Niche dating services aim to take advantage of common interests and commonalities such as love for horses, or a certain age group.
If you do decide to take the plunge to online dating, then it is only prudent to exercise caution. After all, the internet is populated by people of dubious backgrounds and motivations. Until you know a person really well, it is best to remember that when dealing with strangers, too much caution is better than none. Here are some pointers for online dating safety.
- Don’t give out personal information until you are absolutely sure that the person can be trusted. Information as simple as your full name and home phone number can lead a person to retrieve your complete address. From there, it is a short journey towards learning where you work, how much you earn, even how much your home is worth.
- Trust your instincts. If something tells you not to go through with something, or you somehow feel as if you can’t let your guard down with a certain person, don’t just disregard it. Intuition can be a powerful tool, as there are some cues that your subconscious may be picking up on without you being fully aware of it.
- Use a dedicated email address just for online dating. Remember that your email address reflects your full name. Sign up for a free email address to keep this information private.
- Use a cell phone or anonymous phone service for dating-related calls. The same principle applies to keeping your home phone number private, at least until you really get to know a person better.
- Never let your guard down. Though some online dating services may claim to run background checks on everybody, this is not always possible. It is rather easy for a determined criminal to go through this background checks by using simple evasive strategies. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.
Online dating can pave the way for meeting the right partner. Still, it is in your best interest to think critically before rushing into anything. There are thousands of successful online relationships that have ended in long-term commitments such as marriage. You have to admit though, that even more have ended in crime or disaster.
Joana Chrystal Ventura-Moises is our resident expert on frameless shower doors. She writes regular posts for websites such as this and Plumbing Point.
Online Dating 101 by Steve