The Consciously Secure Life: 9 Tips for Dating Safely Online for Socially Conscious Fashionistas
Part of being a Socially Conscious Fashionista is knowing how to create a Consciously Secure Life. Not secure in the way that we protect ourselves from fears or negativity of what could happen, and not take risks. It is about understanding how to live a life of ferocious freedom. That no matter what obstacles you may have, face them consciously and with the highest sense of self-security and personal power.
It's not easy dating in today's world. With the proliferation of dating coaches, online dating sites, and matchmakers it's hard to understand why anyone is single unless it's by choice.
With the increased opportunities for dating in our socially-tech savvy world, there has also been increased opportunities for personal harm. I shudder every time I hear of an assault, or death, that was a result of a couple dating online.
My own experience of online dating has about a 33% success rate, if I had to give it a numerical quantity. The first time I tried dating online, I had no luck. Not one date. I couldn't find anyone I was interested in, or that communicated with me in a way that I felt comfortable going out on an actual date. I tried again about six years later and had success right away. I met a wonderful, handsome, electrical engineer and we dated for eighteen months. Though it didn't work out in the end, I would list it as a successful online dating connection. After we separated, about 6 months later I tried again. Unfortunately, it was reminiscent of my first experience except I did go out with three men: I went on two first dates, and went out with one person twice. So, I view my success rate at about 33%, having one successful connection out of the three separate attempts.
Except for one date, I felt safe on all my outings. The one I didn’t feel safe with, I simply opted out of seeing him again. It wasn't anything specific, just a gut feeling that I had. He also didn't smile much and had trouble carrying a conversation. As a security business and lifestyle expert for successful women, I have heard lots of scary stories of dating online. When I am networking or speaking somewhere, I have that one woman that waits until everyone else has asked their questions and have left. She then shares a personal experience of someone taking an inappropriate photo, or taking her to a restaurant without a lot of people. This eventually leads to a question of what are some identifying factors that she could have noticed that would indicate she should not have gone out on the date.
In listening to many stories, and in pulling from own personal experience of online dating, here are nine tips for people dating in today's world. Many men have been victims of scary dating stories, so these tips certainly apply to them as well.
Every person, no matter the gender, has a right to feel, safe, sexy, and confident on dates. Additionally, so many people have been through trauma, that no matter the gender, we should all make a dedicated effort to create a safe space for others. This includes you too!
Here are nine tips for dating safely online:
1. If online dating, pay attention to the profile: Is there a picture? Is the profile completely filled out? Pay attention to the language the person uses: is it appropriate grammar? Are they rude? You may not care about it, or think it's funny, but this is about the way they present themselves to the world. If you wouldn't apply for a job that way, then they probably shouldn't be a consideration in the taking up of your personal time. Be aware of the impression your profile gives off to others. Could you be attracting the wrong people? Also, don't publish your phone number or email address in your profile.
2. Where did you go on the first date? Was it a back-alley pizza place or was it in a public place where you felt safe? What did you do after? I am all about low maintenance first dates, but you should feel safe at every moment. Is the person just talking about them-self or trying to get to know you? Is the person making you travel far (in terms of distance) or are they meeting you halfway? Does the person offer to walk you to your car of subway stop? All of these things provide an indication to whether they are taking your personal safety and comfort level into account.
3. Don't underestimate your intuition. We trust it when we are driving, or it if we think left the iron on after leaving for work; it's also a great indicator of safety in almost any situation. If your intuition grabs your attention, pay attention! Even if it's not rational, pay attention. It could be about where to go for an after dinner drink or how much personal information to share about yourself. Either way, pay attention.
4. First date: When going out alone with someone, always tell a friend or a family member and leave their name and number with your designated “person,” especially when dating someone new! Also, have a fully charged cell phone before leaving.
5. Don't leave food or drinks unattended if possible! This can be a tough one, but you never know if that person, or someone else, will try to slip you something.
6. Don't give a lot of personal information. Even by the end of your first date, the person does not have to know your last name. Share personal information sparingly when just getting to know someone.
7. Got a safety app? Just in case you are out and things start to get hairy, have an app already downloaded, pre-programmed and ready to use like the app Circle of 6. You can add up to 6 people that you can contact for help. Additionally, there are a list of resources you can go to for help. Though this was made for college students it can be useful for people of all ages.
8. Is the person respectful of your privacy? Don't let anyone add photos or personal information to social media without your consent. (As you can imagine this is a BIG concern when dating in today's world). Set boundaries up front about privacy; however, if it happens, you can always contact your local police department to learn your legal rights under that geographical jurisdiction.
9. Do you need an NDA? For my more visible Socially Conscious Fashionistas, offering NDAs to those you are ready to be emotionally or physically intimate with is perfectly okay. It is something celebrities are privately known for doing with the individuals they date. Now this option is not for everyone, but if you have a highly visible profile on social media or through your career, which is making it harder to date and find authentic partners, feel confident taking this as a next step and talk with a lawyer about what type of NDA would be best for you.
Having fun, dating, and living The Consciously Secure Life is for all of us! Life is an adventure and meant to be lived!
Jessica Robinson is CEO of PurePoint International and writes frequently on safety and security lifestyle topics related to holistic security, personal safety, and gender and race.