Taking Online to the Phone
So, with all of these necessary safety precautions, how do you ever advance to taking it offline with online dating? If everyone online is by definition a stranger, how do you actually get to know someone you met on the internet?
Gradually and with due consideration to your safety every step of the way.
Remember, until you've actually meet in person and have spent some time together, you are dealing with a complete stranger. It is very important to keep this in perspective and not allow yourself to develop inflated expectations. You don't know who you are dealing with yet or whether they are actually sincere. Do not under any circumstances allow yourself to divulge any personal information until you are at least safely past the first or second meeting. Take it slow and be cautious.
First, protect your identity
In your email exchanges, ask many questions and read carefully the answers. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look for inconsistencies in the answers you are provided. Trust your instincts and severe all contact with anyone who is evasive or makes you feel uncomfortable. Eventually, after a few promising exchanges with someone, you may choose to divulge your first name but under no circumstances do you provide your full name, address or place of employment. In fact, diligently protect all your personal and unique information at all times.
Ask for their telephone number and do not give out your own
It's important to be very careful with your home telephone number until you are confidant that you are dealing with a trustworthy person. By the way, giving out your work number is not a viable option either. In fact, you should never supply your work number to anyone you are dating unless you are in an established relationship.
You are dealing with a complete stranger
Don't allow your telephone number to be revealed on his caller ID. Use a pay phone instead.
When you dial his number, be sure and activate the Caller ID blocking feature first. You want to avoid having your name and telephone number revealed on his caller id. Better still, call him from a pay phone initially. Beware if your online companion suggests that you call collect or has provided you with a toll free number to dial. What seems considerate may actually be a suspicious attempt to acquire your telephone number as it will appear on the next phone bill. Use that pay phone or consider foregoing the call altogether! You don't want to spend months screening phone calls or dealing with unwanted messages. Protect your privacy carefully until you are certain.
Meeting safely for the first time
Always arrange a first date away from home, in a public place where there are many other people. Never provide anyone with your home address until you are completely confident. Provide your own transportation to and from the date. If your date offers to pick you up, thank them but politely decline. If they persist, stop talking to them altogether. Trust your instincts! Trustworthy people will have no problem with your efforts to protect yourself.
Tell a trusted friend where you are and who you are with
Meet in public and know where the exits are and when to use them
If the photo turns out to be merely dated, hopelessly hopelessly dated, you should still be wary. At a minimum it begs the question, what else has this person misrepresented?
When the second date should be a no go
Do not pass go, do not let them collect $200, or any other amount for that matter.
Requests for financial assistance should always raise alarm bells with respect to dating. It is just not appropriate to attempt to borrow money on a first date. Virtual strangers who make requests for money are usually scam artists and it should send you running in the opposite direction immediately.
If they ask you to borrow money, direct them to the nearest bank and find the nearest exit.
Don't be fooled on the second or third date either. Why exactly would your date need to borrow money from you? Don't they have friends or family that care about them? No? Well, beware because that already seems odd. There is an implication of desperation that is more than merely financial. Sure, maybe there is a plausible explanation - in an alternate universe!
Responsible adults solve their own problems
Inappropriate requests are never appropriate
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