Fine tune your "Crazy Radar" and avoid wasting time on impostors with this online dating checklist.
It's safe to say that, for the most part, everyone has the same general fear when it comes to online dating. The biggest concern is usually if the person on the other side of the Internet will match their profile. Thankfully in this day and age, technology has made it a little bit easier for you to help ensure you are meeting is actually the person in the picture.
I have been online dating for about six years now. Before that, I was meeting people online from sites like MySpace. I am now in my mid-twenties and I feel I have enough experience to compile a checklist of things anyone must do before meeting someone off a site. Of course, sometimes exceptions do apply but for the most part, this list is my standard go-to routine. Remember, regardless of the checklist, always trust your instincts and be safe and conscious of the fact there is some truth in the advice we were given as kids - "stranger danger."
Online Dating Checklist
- Picture That. Before responding to a message, check their pictures. Make sure they have more than one. If they have a few, be sure they are not just different poses taken from their desk or their bathroom mirror. You want someone who gets out of the house and if their three pictures are all in the same room...probably a bad sign. I personally think it is a plus if they have other people in pictures with them as well. But, many sites ban this. So, in order to ensure they are social and have real friends, there are other methods to verify their social network which I will discuss later
- Pick-a-Part-a-Profile. In order to determine if this person is a good match, you need to read their profile in detail. Do not base someone solely off their picture. You would be shocked to know how just how intimate some people will get about their private lives. You may see something that is a red flag or a piece of information that might warn you to stay away. I have read some interesting things on profiles from people strictly looking for a 3rd party, people openly admitting they are married, people admitting to drug use, and so on and so forth. Like I said, its your personal preference. I am not judging by any means but read it to be see that this person is what you are looking for in a relationship.
- Get the Message. I would not respond to a man who's message is "Hey Sexy" or "You have the most amazing profile I have ever seen". Let's be real. They are sending these messages to every woman they pass through that tickles their fancy with hopes of getting a woman to fall for it. You want someone who took interest in a detail in your profile and took the time to write a thoughtful message. I have responded to generic messages before and the guy tends to be just that - generic. Also, do not hesitate messaging a man. I can personally say the three long term relationships I have been in started from a dating site and I was the one who initiated it by messaging first.
- The Facebook Phenom. After you have talked to a person consistently on the site or via text. I personally do not think there is anything wrong with exchanging numbers early on. Phone calls and texts make it easier to get to know the person whom you are speaking with. But if you are talking to multiple people, which most people do when online dating, make their name in your phone something that will remind you of who they are. It's easy to lose track when you have no true face with the name, yet. You should check to see if he has a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking profile. Most people have some sort of online presence, regardless of their their age. By checking these sites, it will allow you to see if he has pictures with other people, if he has pictures with friends or family, his hobbies and interests. If someone tells you they do not have a Facebook or any other profile page, it always sets off a red flag in my mind. This does not mean you shouldn't meet them, but you should be a bit more cautious.
- Power of the (cell) Phone. At some point, you should talk to him on the phone. Does his voice sound like a man? Is he speaking in full sentences or muttering words here and there, or (BIG RED FLAG) - always tired and doesn't have much to say? And if they are texting you while they are at the gym, park or watching the game, tell them to take a picture and send it. If their camera is broken - someone in the group has one. Resistance is futile. If they are resistance to sharing photos or talking on the phone, something is just not right.
- Face to Face Time. Let's recap. You have ensured they have numerous photos, their profile meets your fancy, you have spoken at length, they have a Facebook or have proven enough to you that they have friends and they are who they say they are and most importantly, your instincts tell you its okay to meet this person. Make sure you meet someone in public for your first meeting. Tell a friend where you are going and the time you are going to be there. I suggest having a safe word that you can text to a friend about 15 minutes into the date to signal know you are okay. Ladies, do not let the guy pick you up on your first date and do not drink so much that he has to drive you home. It is also okay to let your date know you are telling someone where you are. If this seems to be a problem for him, that's another red flag. Most people will understand you are being safe and want to ensure your safety.
Although I advice using this this checklist to reduce your chaces of meeting an imposter online, always trust your instincts. It it smells (cat)fishy, it probably is.
Contributed by Kristin Waters, Online Dating Expert. Kristin is just a woman in her mid twenties who has been on way too many first dates to count. She has experienced it all from good to bad and now just wants to guide others to happiness. Learn more about her online dating experiences and adventures at http://tipsforonlinedatingfromapro.blogspot.com/2013_02_01_archive.html