The majority of what you hear about online dating in the media is negative. So, it’s not really all that surprising that I am constantly getting questions from people asking me whether online dating is safe, if dating apps are full of scammers and bots, or if anyone actually ever meets someone on any of the dating apps. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk to you today about all of these things so that you can decide if online dating is right for you, and if it is, how to make sure you go about it safely and in a way that puts the odds in your favor for success.
Is Online Dating Safe?
Online dating is at least as safe a way to meet someone as any other way, but that doesn’t mean that you should just assume that everything is guaranteed to be perfect. The reality is that there are a lot of great people in the world, but there are also a fair number of jerks and people who make it their business to take advantage of other people. One of the things I love about online dating is that it gives you a chance to have more data about someone than you would have if were just walking up to them in the bookstore or at a party.
- Read through the profiles. If they’ve written nothing in your profile, move on to the next one. I don’t care how attractive they are. At best, they are not willing to put effort into meeting someone online. At worst, they are not who they are portraying themselves to be.
- Only communicate with people who have verified profiles – Many dating apps have the ability for members to verify their identities and photos. Take advantage of this.
- NEVER invite someone to your home for the first date or go to their home – Always make sure you meet people in public areas where you feel safe. It doesn’t matter how nice someone seems in chat and on the phone, you should always make sure that you are set up for a meeting where you feel comfortable and secure.
- Let your friends know where you will be on your date and set check-in times with them via text. If you want to go a little further, you can even set up code words so that there is no doubt the text is coming from you.
- Trust your gut – I can’t count the number of times people have told me they went on dates that they didn’t have a great feeling about because it was the first date opportunity they had in a while. That uneasy feeling in your head is your brain screaming a warning at you. Listen to it!
Are Dating Apps Filled with Scammers and Bots?
The short answer to this one is no. But the real answer is more complicated. Even the best online dating site can’t stop 100% of the bots and scammers. Part of the problem is that they often go unreported by people, but the bigger problem is that they are constantly evolving. The majority of people on dating apps are there to meet someone, but there will always be a combination of bots, scammers, validation seekers, and people using dating platforms to get you to follow them on other platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, or OnlyFans.
Follow these tips below and it will help you steer clear of the troublemakers.
- Keep it local: the majority of scammers are based in other countries. Don’t try to meet anyone who is further away than you’d be willing to travel twice a week.
- Double-check their pics: if their photos are too good to be true, run reverse image searches for them on Google Image Search and Tineye.
- Double-check their text: if their profile sounds like it is too perfect or like it was translated into English, copy a couple of sentences from it into Google. If it is a bot profile, it will probably appear in the search engine on other dating sites.
- Meet them quickly: meet your dates within the first week of communication. If they are scammers they will continually put off your meeting.
- Never send anyone money on the internet.
- If someone tells you they are from the US but are currently stationed overseas or are working out of the country right now, it is a scam.
- Just because someone sends you a picture of a driver’s license or a passport, it doesn’t mean that it belongs to the person who is sending it to you.
Do People Actually Find Love with Online Dating?
The best way for me to start answering this question is to tell you that my wife (whom I met on a dating app) and I just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary last week. She wasn’t the first relationship that I had with someone from a dating app, but she’s the best and she’ll hopefully be the last. Over the years, I’ve had tons of clients find love. Some have gone on to get married, others are in great relationships but aren’t interested in walking down the aisle again.
A recent study from the Pew Institute found that 10% of the couples in the US who are married or living together today, met online. That number is even higher for members of the LGBTQ community who boast 24% of their current marriages and relationships came from online dating. Other recent studies have shown that upwards of 40% of new relationships start online.
The point I’m trying to make is that for all the headlines that pop up about dating scams or dating fatigue, online dating is one of the best ways there is to meet someone outside of being introduced to someone by a friend or family member. When you log into a dating app, you know that everyone there is single and open to meeting someone. You also have photos and a profile to look at before you introduce yourself. You no longer have to worry about walking up to someone in a bar or the grocery store, or about getting reported to HR if you ask someone out at work and they aren’t interested. It’s not perfect, and there are definitely some people who make it harder for the people actually looking for love, but it can be great if you know how to use the dating apps properly and you are presenting yourself well with an excellent profile and accurate and warm photos.
If you’re interested in getting started with online dating or if you’re struggling with getting dates online and need some help turning things around, give me a call at 888-447-7634 or email me here. I’ll do whatever I can to help.