16 safety rules for online matching and offline dating
Safety first — then comes the pleasure. Here is our safety dating guide — compiled with the help of Staci Swan, a queer feminist activist. As a young woman, she knows what you might feel — and she asks to take that feeling seriously. You’ve seen “Tinder Swindler”? May that never happen to you. If you know the rules, you can play with fire. Online dating should bring more fireman fantasies than burns — we don’t mean to turn down spontaneous adventures and all the shivers down the spine. We wish you a very hot dating experience with no burns.
First look is key. So take a good first look
Your match has a profile. Check it if it looks “funny” — not in a good sense. Your conversation leaves a strange aftertaste of uncertain anxiety? Re-read your chat while it’s there. Here are some tips to consider and double-check if you have any suspicions.
- Their profile photos are "too attractive"
Is that a real person or a stock image? Yes, we all want to match with a good look, but good looks are just good looks. Make sure that you take a closer look at the photos and be realistic about them. Ask for more, if you don’t really believe what you see. Ask for a special thing (like “hey, what about a coffee selfie rn?”). You can even try Google image search and check the reverse image search (well, just in case).
- They are asking for nudes — not in a way it’s comfortable for you
First of all, you don’t have to send nudes if you don’t feel like it. Then again, on Pure app screenshots are not allowed, so your nudes are staying in the app and not going elsewhere. And finally, all photos auto-delete themselves after 24 hours.
- They are sending you nudes without your consent
If you are willing to stay in the chat — point out that you don’t expect nudes right now and that he has to ask before sending that type of content. If you are not willing the stay in the chat — make your way out of it. Don’t try to be polite in a rude conversation that crosses your boundaries.
- They are sending standardized impersonal messages
Well, once again — do you want a standardized impersonal relationship or sex? We guess not. Unless it’s your fantasy, of course, but we wish you a match who will be great in role play, not a role model for such behavior.
- They are being pushy in obtrusive sex requests
Being open and forward about your desires is a total bonus. But there comes a point when it’s too much. Make an exit if they don't stop after you've asked them to.
- They don’t answer your questions
We believe your questions are genuine and deserve answers. The next question should be “Why aren't’ you answering my questions?”. See what they answer and make an informed decision.
- They want to lure you into other online dating apps or messengers
Enough said — you met online and matched, so what stops you from being where you are or taking it offline? Going elsewhere online will make you less protected — and if you already have a connection, why would that be necessary? Just don’t.
- They suddenly ask you for money
Money is not a part of online dating. That’s not the deal. We know that there are difficult times and tough situations in life but stable and psychologically healthy people don’t go to a stranger in a dating app to ask for critical help. There are real friends and families for that. Don’t transfer money to a person you don’t know much about. That’s a huge red flag.
- Your match avoids any meetings and you want to meet
If your deal is not sexting till the buttons fall off and the battery dies — meeting in person is a logical evolution. You want to meet, they don’t — ok, it’s not your piece of cake then. Neither theirs.
First date is a first ever date with this very person
You matched. Awesome. Now you decided to take it offline — still not quite knowing the person. That’s how dating works, so stay on the safe side.
- Make a video call beforehand
Not sure that a photo tells enough or not feeling confident to recognize the person? Or just actually not feeling that safe? In any case, if you feel insecure with going offline, you should definitely arrange a video call beforehand. There are several ways to avoid having to give out your cell phone number if that’s not what you feel like doing. Suggest a Skype or a Zoom call. When "skyping" you have the advantage that you don't have to give any personal information and you can have an eye contact with the person. And it helps to get at ease on an actual date.
- Tell your friend or somebody you can trust where are you going
Maybe you have already shared it in your chat group and you have been choosing your outfit for weeks — good for you! If that’s not your story, please, just tell one person you trust. You can tell the time, the place, share a photo and even schedule a security call with a safety question. You can have a bit of fun selecting that security check on a date. And you can share your location when — and if — you are going other places.
- Go home alone after the first date
Look. We might seem controversial a bit here. If you feel super confident and safe — there is absolutely nothing wrong with sex on the first date. Nothing wrong in wanting it and nothing wrong with not wanting it. As long as we are talking safety here, we are just reminding you of the safe option — and trust you to trust your gut feelings. Sometimes it tells you that even if you get on really well, you should go home alone. A suggestion to walk you home can be charming — unless it feels like a stranger trying to get your address. In case afterwards this person turns out to be not suitable as a potential long-term partner, you can protect yourself from stalking. If it’s getting late — you can call a friend and walk home chatting to friend and feeling protected in some way.
- Meet in a public place and listen to your sixth sense
That gut feeling, it’s not to be ignored: Your body is talking to you. So to feel super-safe you can arrange the date in a place you come often. Go to a familiar bar or for a walk during daytime. If the person insists on going to some private place and you are not feeling like it, end the date. If you don’t feel safe, contact the waiter, bartender, or someone in the nearest proximity. Different countries have a variation of questions or orders that mean “help”. It can be the question "Is Luisa there?", or you can order an “Angel shot”, which is the code when you feel sexually harassed or threatened and need help. “Angela” ordered “neat” means needing an escort out of the situation, “on ice” calls for taxi, and “with lime” asks for police call. Sometimes there is a special poster in the female toilet with the code words and rules how to get help in a dangerous situation.
- Keep an eye on your drink and know your limits with alcohol and drugs
Yes, having a drink makes it easier to relax on a date. It’s perfectly fine — if you know yourself well enough. Know your limits and be aware of the effects drugs and alcohol have on you. If you find your date is trying to fill you up and urging you to drink more than you're comfortable with, ask what’s going on and tell that you are not ok with it. If you don’t want to have another drink — it’s not a question of being “nice”, it’s your own body and your own comfort.
If you don’t know the place and your date is a usual here — be more alert. You can even only accept closed bottles or drinks from the waiter or bartender. Substances mixed into drinks to facilitate sexual assault are usually colorless, tasteless and odorless. Always keep your charged cell phone and other valuables (wallet, keys, bag, etc.) with you. But if things are really getting shady — better leave.
- Don't give out too much personal information
You will have time to tell your amazing match about everything you want. Your childhood and your phone number, your home address and where you keep your spare key, your best friends names and your stories — it’s all cool and it all matters. You are amazing and that person you fancy deserves to know it all — when you know enough about them. So just a little hold on to the details like your full name, place of residence and place of work, as well as your cell phone number and your business or private email address. The safest way is to use a nickname or a shorten cute version of your name when dating online.
Now that you know sooooooo many things that can keep you safe — make sure that it doesn’t scare you off dating online. Just keep it in mind that worrying is normal. It’s okay to care about your safety, online or offline. Have fun!