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Things To Look Out For When Dating Online

The internet has provided us with a lot of great amenities to fulfill our needs, from online stores to archives of information available at the click of our mouse.

Now, it has even given us a new platform to meet our soulmates via online dating websites and smartphone apps.

Online dating involves meeting strangers over a website or app, usually chatting and making conversation via the platform and, in a successful scenario, meeting up in person for a date. While there have been success stories resulting from dating apps, there has been an equal amount of horror stories and bad experiences.

When thinking about it more, the concept of meeting a total stranger alone for a date can be intimidating or frightening for many. What if they are violent, abusive or in the worse case, psychopathic? Even if it does not go to those extremes, they could be pretending to be someone they are not (catfishing). They could also be misrepresenting themselves.

But, do not get too pessimistic yet. Although there are a lot of bad people on these platforms, there are some good apples out there who are just trying to find love, and who you might actually connect with well. It just might be a good idea to run a background check on your date first.

Here are some things to look out and keep in mind when online dating so you do not waste your time on bad dates

Do a background check on your date

This might sound a little extreme for most, but it is a quick and easy way to let you know of any major red flags right away. You can immediately see if they have a criminal history, which for some is an immediate no. This way, you do not have to spend time going out with them and getting to know them only to find out that they were hiding their record from you.

These background checks are relatively untraceable and they will never know that you did one on them. It may seem a little cold to do these background checks on your dates but in the long run, it is a practical decision to save you (and your date’s) precious time.

Carefully examine their photos – are they catfishing?

Catfishing is a very popular practice nowadays. For whatever reason, dating app users will use other people’s photos (usually attractive people) as their own and get lots of matches and messages. Although it is relatively impossible to tell if the photo is actually of them, there are some ways you can spot catfishers.

If the photo is of someone you know, whether that be an acquaintance, celebrity or otherwise well-known person, then that is the most surefire way of knowing that the user is catfishing. You should screenshot their profile and send it to the appropriate person right away.

If the user has their first and last name, do a quick Google search of them. If they have social media accounts, their images should pop up on Google. If the social media profiles match the name, location and description of the user but they are a completely different person in the photos, they are probably catfishing.

The easiest way to tell if they are catfishing is to ask them to send photos of themselves or even video calls. If they are catfishing, they will not be able to provide you with this.

If they are constantly refusing to meet up in person or pushing back your date without a good reason, you are also probably dealing with a catfisher.

Doing a background check on your date and assessing whether or not they are catfishing are just two ways to protect yourself and your time when online dating. But at the end of the day, it is really all about being street smart and using common sense when meeting with people you talk to online. Be safe everyone!

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Ava Moore
BA, MA Psychology (and Conflict Resolution), University of Cambridge (2007). With a decade of trial and error in psychology and 33 years of navigating my own complex (that's one word for it!) relationships with family, friends, co-workers and men, I hope I have some useful knowledge and skills to share with my readers about making sense of relationships and trying to become a better person every day.

I'm the Chief Editor here at Independent Femme and would love to hear from you.

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