Personals Ads and the First Date or Meeting: Take Charge to Reduce Risks When Meeting Online Dates

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Every year thousands of men and women find romance through personal ads and thousands of others either give up or burn out before finding the relationship they are seeking. Certain guidelines for posting an online profile, and the all important first meeting, can boost the likelihood of success and reduce the inherent risk of dating strangers.

Choose the Personals Site Carefully

As with any business segment, there are personals sites that are legitimate and those that are more scam than legit. A good way to find the better ones is to simply ask around. Couples who found one another online are usually glad to recommend the site they used. Ask them if they used other sites prior to finding their special mate and get feedback on the sites that didn’t work for them.

Note every site charges fees and refund policies before signing up. Find out if they automatically renew membership without notification. A 3- or 6-month membership period can go by quickly. Keep control of membership by always clicking “No” to automatic renewal. Read the fine print on the Terms and Conditions Contract.

There are Personals sites for every taste. Someone new to the world of personal ads may be shocked. Some sites, or sections of a site are explicitly sexual, some cater to the gay/lesbian crowd and some to swingers. However, many sites, or sections of sites, offer traditional male to female and female to male ads. Placing a personals ad on the right site, or the correct section of a site, is imperative.

Post an Honest Personals Ad Profile

Post a current photo and don’t shave off years or pounds when writing the profile. It is also self-defeating to lie about income or background. Less obvious untruths lie in the realm of likes, dislikes, interests and lifestyle. List only real interests, likes, dislikes and lifestyle preferences. If a long term relationship develops untruths can come back to haunt the person who lies about even little things. Just don’t do it!

Reducing the Risks When meeting an Online Date

Both men and women incur risks when posting an online profile. But, the rewards of finding a satisfying romantic relationship or a new friend are so great thousands of people every day go out to meet a virtual stranger. Here are some safety tips for both men and women.

  • First and foremost, be selective. Don’t engage in “shotgun” dating! Elect to meet only individuals whose profiles and emails indicate compatibility.
  • Arrange a first meeting for daytime hours in a very public place. Food courts at a local mall are good choices because of the high visibility of the meeting place and the anonymity of both vehicles among hundreds of others in the parking lot.
  • Do not consider the first meeting a date. It is merely a first, brief, meeting with a stranger.
  • Do not share any phone numbers or addresses until after the second or third meeting.
  • Share first names only. Second or third meetings are soon enough to divulge full names.
  • Make the first meeting short; half an hour maximum. This is not where or when life histories are traded. Make another date if both parties wish to further the acquaintance.
  • Plan a second meeting in the same place a few days later. Set the time so phone numbers or personal email addresses need not be exchanged.
  • First “dates” (remember, it is really just a meeting, not a date) should never be allowed to accompany, or escort the other party to her car.

More Personal Ads Risks, Rewards and Tips

Initially, communicate only through the “blind” email channel set up by the site. Preserve personal anonymity. Beware of anyone who pressures for a personal email address, phone number or any other method of contact outside the sites safe email.

Increase the likelihood of success by focusing on people with compatible interests and values.

Terminate a personals ad contact, a meeting or a relationship immediately if danger signs arise.

The use of personals ads make it easy to take charge of one’s dating life Adhering to sensible guidelines when selecting a site, posting a profile and setting the first meeting, helps even the personal ads novice stay in charge.