Fun and Safe: Dating Apps

Posted by Beth Darling on Jul 7th 2023

Fun and Safe: Dating Apps

Dear Beth,

Two years ago I got divorced after a nine-year marriage to my college sweetheart. I'm ready to date again. I am interested in trying an online dating app, but my friends think it's too dangerous. I know you've used them. Do you recommend them? Do you have any advice?


Trina P.

Dear Trina,

It's not easy to dive back into the dating scene, but trust me, it can be an enjoyable adventure! Online dating apps have been a fantastic and convenient way for me to meet new people and explore potential relationships. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your energy while navigating the world of online dating:

1. Choose reputable platforms that are marketing to people you’d like to meet. (Ie: a site for farmers probably isn’t a good choice for a city person.) Ask around to see what others in your city are using because what’s popular in LA won’t necessarily  be popular where you are.

2. Stick to well-known and reputable dating apps that prioritize user safety and have strong security measures in place. Do your research, read reviews, and make sure you understand their privacy policies.

3. Guard your personal information: Don't be too quick to share details like your last name, phone number, address, workplace, or other identifying information. Save that for when you've built trust with someone.

4. Pay attention to profile details: When browsing through profiles, pay attention to the photos. Are they realistic or too good to be true?Do they appear to match their stated age or do you think the photos are from years ago? Does the person look friendly and approachable?  Have they put effort into sharing a variety of settings to give you a sense of how they live? Have they spent time writing their profile or does it look thrown together?

5. Engage in meaningful conversations even by text.Especially in your opening message!  Don’t ask about the weather! Instead you might ask them to tell you about one of their best days and what made it so good.

6. When you match with someone, observe how they respond to your messages. Do they ask specific questions about you or only talk about themselves? Genuine interest and consistency in their responses are positive signs. Beware of anyone who tries to rush or pressure you into meeting or sharing personal information before you're comfortable.

7. Trust your instincts: Your intuition is a powerful tool. If something feels off or uncomfortable about a person or situation, take appropriate action. Feel free to leave, block, or report someone if your instincts strongly urge you to do so.

8. Schedule in-person meetings. Some people seem content with endless messaging without any intention of meeting in person. Research suggests that scheduling a date within the first few days of matching increases the likelihood of it actually happening. Of course, geographical constraints may play a role here.

9. Choose safe meeting locations. When it's time to meet someone in person, opt for public places for the first few dates. Inform a trusted friend or family member about your plans and consider sharing your date's profile information and location details.

10. Set personal boundaries. Establish clear boundaries for yourself and communicate them with your matches. If you're concerned about their expectations, limit the first date to an hour to ensure your intention to leave alone is clear. Don't agree to meet somewhere that doesn't feel safe, and if you arrive and feel uncomfortable, trust yourself and leave. Be assertive in saying no if someone crosses your boundaries or makes you uncomfortable. Remember, saying "no" is a skill that becomes easier with practice.

I think it's important to remember that the majority of people online are genuine.  In fact, they’re probably just like you: searching for love and scared of being disappointed or hurt.  When you approach online dating with kindness, curiosity and generosity (of spirit), you’ll be very likely to attract others with the same qualities.

By following these suggestions and trusting your intuition, I think you’ll find online dating to be a safe and enjoyable experience.

Wishing you the best of luck in finding a wonderful and lasting love connection!