5 Tips for Staying Safe on Dating Apps

First date.
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Dating apps can be an excellent resource to find and meet potential love interests in your area. Not only can the right dating app connect you with new and interesting people whom you wouldn't necessarily meet or run into during your daily life, they can also lead to long-lasting connections and relationships. However, there's a different and more sinister side to dating apps of which you should be aware. Since you are in essence putting your profile in front of many strangers as well as potentially meeting these strangers in person, there are crucial steps you should take in order to stay safe on dating apps. 

1. Don't Put Too Much Personal Information on Your Profile

While your instinct may be to put a lot of information about yourself when creating your profile so that potential dates can know more about you, it's important to err on the side of caution and use a "less is more" approach. Rather than listing where you work, where you've worked in the past, where you went to school, where you grew up, and other sorts of personal details about your life, you should try to focus more on your interests, passions, and pursuits as opposed to listing every single detail. That way, after you match with someone, you can release this type of personal information at your own discretion.

2. Communicate With Your Date Before Meeting 

For many people on dating apps, they'll match with someone, send a one sentence message to meet up, and suddenly they're sitting face to face on a first date. But in order to stay safe on dating apps, make sure you converse a bit more with someone before you agree to meet. And while you certainly don't need to send messages for weeks or talk for hours on the phone before meeting up, it's important to have a clearer sense of whom you're meeting before you're actually with this person. In many cases, those initial back-and-forth messages or a phone conversation can be quite revealing about this person's true intentions as well as if you'd hit it off or not. Don't be afraid to have a dialogue with someone, whether digital or otherwise, before you meet.

3. Make Use of the Internet 

When you're going to meet someone in person from a dating app, you have every right and reason to Google him or her, use social media, and find out more with a simple online search prior to your date. Not only does this help to paint a broader picture of who you're meeting, but you're also verifying information about this person and potentially protecting yourself from meeting someone who is lying to you or has engaged in less-than-ideal activities in the past. When it comes to dating apps and meeting strangers, knowledge is power. 

4. Let Others Know That You're Meeting Someone From a Dating App 

In order to stay safe when meeting a potential match, it's important that a close friend or family member knows where you are, who you're meeting, what you're up to, and most importantly, that you'll check in with him or her when the date's over. Having a designated dating buddy who'll keep tabs on you is key when you're meeting someone from a dating app. By having this friend or family member waiting to hear from you and on-call before, during, and after the date, he or she will know that you got home safely and that all is well—even if the app date turned out to be a bust

5. Meet and Stay in a Public Place 

In order to make your safety a real priority, it's imperative that you meet someone from a dating app in a public space. Whether it's a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant, staying out in public can help prevent you from putting yourself in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation alone with this person, and this is especially true if the date itself includes alcohol. And while it may seem enticing to meet at his or her apartment or have this person pick you up or drive you home, use your best judgment and refrain from putting yourself at risk around someone you just met.