Growing up, I remember people prepping me from a young age about how to stay safe in the real world. Part of being in the real world is dating, and as a confident and curious girl, my mom recognized that sometimes men don’t always have the best intentions and gave me the run-down on how to be safe while in a new man’s company. The problem is, mom grew up in the age of face-to-face dating.
But today, the rules have changed. I honestly wasn’t made aware of these new rules until I began to live on my own and was given tips through friends sharing their experiences. Once, I had a roommate lay out ground rules so that we could live comfortably and safely. That’s when it hit me: How many other women do not know these things?
This is what I have been told over the years to keep myself safe while exploring a new world of dating.
TIP 3: DO NOT DISCLOSE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION BEYOND YOUR FIRST NAME
It’s easy to get caught up in conversation and it seems innocent to tell your newest match what your last name is or that you are a fabulous fashion editor at Ralph Lauren in your nearest downtown area. For someone with good intentions, this is a way of opening up and creating a connection. But for a predator, these are great stalker starting points. Until you meet someone in real life, give them the most vague and basic information about what you do and who you are.
TIP 2: YOUR HOME IS PRIVATE — KEEP IT THAT WAY
Letting someone pick you up for a first date is a personal no-no. HOWEVER, not everyone finds a problem letting someone new pick them up. While this could be fine, it is important to be safe and not let this new right-swipe know exactly where you live. Instead, give them a general meeting spot by describing your area. If you live beside a McDonalds, ask them to meet you across the street from that location. If you have the luxury of having a front and back entrance, use the back door and walk around front. While this may give a stranger a general idea of where you live, it will make it more complicated to pinpoint exactly where you are coming from.
TIP 1: OH, YOU LIVE ALONE? NO, YOU DON’T
NEVER, EVER, EVER, under any circumstances, let a stranger know that you live by yourself. As a young woman — or vulnerable dater — flexing about your living independence puts a huge target on your back. This falls in line with rules three and two. Your living situation and home are your personal information and it’s really easy to forget that when you’re looking into the eyes of a blue-eyed, tall, dark and handsome man. It is also suggested that you mention there is another man in the home, even if there isn’t. This could be a brother, friend or roommate’s boyfriend. Either way, let it be known that there is someone there that could potentially fight back if they have any plans to be aggressive.
This isn’t meant to scare anyone from pursuing love or lust online — just be aware of the unspoken or unknown rules surrounding safe online dating. Your mom won’t know, because your mom didn’t use tinder to meet your dad… Hopefully.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nadia Ross is Sarjesa’s social media volunteer. When she isn’t working on building engagement across Sarjesa’s social media channels, she’s busy working hard for her degree in public relations in Calgary. Nadia is passionate about feminist and environmental issues, and would like to become a bad ass lobbyist for women and the planet one day. Her passion for social justice and the importance of family makes her that much more excited to be part of the growth for Sarjesa. You can find Nadia on Instagram here.