RICHARDSON – If you are wondering why you’re still single, you’re not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows more than half of adults in the United States are single.
As online dating increases in popularity, skepticism over the accuracy of profiles and the safety of online dating increase as well. Most online dates go fairly well, whether they result in a second date or not. But it is no secret that the news tends to hone in on dating horror stories, especially since technology’s role in online dating has become more prominent. Dave DuMais, Flutterate founder and online dating expert, offers tips to perfect online dating safety skills in order to search for your perfect mate.
Leave out contact information: It should be a no-brainer to not include any contact information within your online dating profile, but it is critical to leave all information off of all social media channels. This includes your phone number, address, and email.
Arrive in an Uber or a taxi: Your date should not have an opportunity to see your license plate. The Singles Resources page on the Flutterate site explains how this information can be used to obtain your full name, home address, and if you live alone. If there is a chance your date will see your car, you might want to consider some other way to get to your initial meeting place.
Have an out: If you are not comfortable telling someone you just met that they are not what you were expecting or that you think this date is going to be a waste of time for both of you, you need to plan an easy escape. Traditionally, this has been having a friend call with some imaginary emergency. We recommend not insulting anyone’s intelligence with an elaborate lie, but keeping this as simple as possible. Have a friend call until you answer the phone. Then promptly excuse yourself from the table with something like “I’m sorry, but I have to take care of something right now.” If you ordered a drink, offer to pay for it. If you’re escaping because you don’t feel safe around this person, you do not want them to feel like you owe them anything.
Always trust your intuition: We’ve all been told to trust our “gut feelings” for one reason or another, but online dating is definitely a reason to trust your instincts. If a person seems too good to be true, he or she most likely is; if something feels off, such as language or a person’s sense of urgency, do not risk it.
Google is your friend: Always use Google as a tool.If you know the person’s full name or place of employment, verify it with Google. The search engine allows you to reverse image search allowing you to see similar images, sites that include the image, and other sizes of the image. Use this prior to meeting an online date in public.
Go beyond mentioning it to a friend: If you are meeting someone you have connected with online for a date, always make sure to give a friend the information. Go beyond the basic information such as meeting place and time, but also include their phone number, a link to their online profile as well as a screenshot, and personal details you may have learned about your date. Always set a check-in point and make sure to make contact with your friend at that time.
Don’t make excuses: If your online date is worth the time, he or she will understand that you are watching over your safety. If your date gets mad for wanting to meet in a public space, during daylight or for not giving out your contact information, he or she is not the perfect mate. No matter how attractive or interesting someone may be, do not make excuses for that person.
Flutterate, a free Google Chrome extension, was designed by a group of single co-workers in order to improve the negative aspects of online dating. Flutterate is designed to provide safer and more convenient method to online dating while increasing accountability of the online dating pool. This tool allows users to rate profiles to ensure correctness and credibility, similar to Yelp or Angie’s List.