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.