June is Pride month and I thought I would celebrate it by sharing some tips on how to stay safe when online dating as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Although the principles are the same, it is known fact that you are more likely to experience abuse online and whilst online dating can be a positive experience, it’s essential that you keep yourself safe.
You can wave that flag with pride but the second it starts turning red, you need to run a mile!
Now, I don’t want to be all negative nelly or anything, I have worked with many members of the LGBTQ+ community who have a ball online, but a few tips never hurt anyone. So here goes.
Fake profiles – they’re everywhere!
It’s easy to set up a profile and pretend to be someone you’re not and everyone should know how to at least spot the obvious signs.
- Ask for more photos
- Ask them to take an ‘in the moment’ selfie
- Ask for a phone number
- Go a little stalkerish and check out their socials
- Question anything that doesn’t feel right
Meet in a public place
This may seem obvious but believe me, many a singleton has ventured to a ‘romantic spot’ only to find it a little too secluded.
- Arrange a lunch time date to start
- Meet in a restaurant or bar
- Go on a day trip to a zoo or local park
- Don’t arrange to travel together
- Don’t allow them to pick you up
- Always tell a friend where you’re going and ask them to check in (the old, do I need to have a crisis call)
There are a lot to choose from and I know that Grindr may seem the obvious choice for many, but they have been criticised time and time again for their failure to ensure online safety for their users.
Best apps to choose from in 2022
Of course, if you’re just after a hook up then go for it but please follow the tips above when meeting for the first time.
Online dating is a minefield for everyone but there are a few red flags to look out for that not everyone gets.
Quick red flags to run from
- Someone coming on too strong too quickly
- Learn how to identify when this is happening
- Unable to answer simple questions
- They want to keep you a secret
- They won’t provide more photos or information
On the date
Before you head off into the sunset, you should make a few things clear. Make sure you understand what you are both looking for and stay on the same page.
Quick first date tips
- Share your expectations in advance. Know where you both stand
- Limit your alcohol intake. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable
- Make sure you have a friend on hand to rescue you if you need it
- Take protection, don’t rely on them!
- If you feel uncomfortable in any way, make your excuses and leave
Online dating is fun but don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. Choose the dating apps that you gel with and always stay alert to things that don’t feel right.
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