Gay online dating safety tips
Especially with romance and dating, nothing is more fatal than an unfortunate pairing of souls whose ultimate objectives are on diverging paths. Unsurprisingly, it took my early 20s to figure myself out, when I hopelessly fell in love with someone and could do nothing about it. I was trapped in the proverbial closet and I found the courage to be myself for the first time only when I spread my wings and went to study in America.
My greatest challenge was yet to come though. Once I sort of got comfortable in my own skin, my approach to dating was based on an inherent desire for love and companionship rather than just mere sex and fun. Meeting guys with the same agenda soon became a nightmare and eventually, a borderline lost cause. The first guy I ever dated — met on a fairly popular site — turned into a two-month-long story until he ghosted me.
Being my first experience ever, the effect was shattering on my self-esteem, as he just used me to rebound after a long-time relationship gone wrong. The following two years, my last ones in America, only featured some online flirting.
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We awkwardly bumped into each other a month later, outside the tube station. He then texted me that night how we just wanted different things and that I was amazing and deserved better, apologising for not having the guts to tell me face to face. An elderly Michigan man was murdered by a trio of thugs as a result of a Grindr hookup gone terribly wrong. I am personally aware of two cases where people have been the victims of violent crime and in one case, extortion as a result of trying to hook up.
And so what follows is a list of 10 tips that I hope you will find useful in keeping you safe. Before continuing, I know there will be some who will suggest that the best way to prevent a bad hook-up is to avoid hooking up at all. My response to this is simple — people are still going to hook up! Better to offer some practical, realistic suggestions as opposed to the Nancy Reagan approach just say no advice.
At its core, we are talking about risk reduction here. And the tips being offered in what follows could very well apply to straight individuals.
Crime is an equal opportunity destroyer folks. Please keep in mind this list is by no means exhaustive. Also, remember these tips are not foolproof. Again, we are talking harm reduction here. You can get a fairly inexpensive cell phone at most drugstores. These phones will allow you to download your favorite hookup aps and will make real calls.http://phon-er.com/js/wipe-clean/best-call-recorder-app-for.php
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You can also send and receive txt and SMS type information aka pics. The reason you should consider using a trick phone will become clear in the next few tips. At least for the initial meeting, it is strongly encouraged that you meet at a public place. Do not invite the person to your home and do not give out your home address. Remember, the moment you give a stranger specifics about where you live, they now have identifying information that can potentially be used to bully, harass and threaten you.
1. Get a trick phone
No matter how hot he is or how horny you are, please do not give this information out for your own sake. On the other side of the coin, think very carefully about meeting at his place. Remember that if you meet in a public place, you have far greater control over the situation. Once you are in his home, you lose much of that power.
When you start talking with someone online, be it on the computer or a phone app, you should think very carefully about what you provide. I am suggesting this because you have no idea who you are talking to on the other end of that electronic device. If a person has your real name, they have something personal about you that can later be used in a way that con artists and other criminals know how to use.
If you do not want to use a fake name, just give out your first name and nothing else. If you send a stranger an X picture that includes your face, you have just given that person the ability to potentially extort from you. Do a quick search of the Internet and see how many times this has happened to people. If you must send out pictures of yourself and want to include your face, consider upper torso shots only. In other words, do not send anything you would not want your boss, your grandmother or your co-workers to see. I recognize here that people are likely saying to themselves.
That is the problem folks, you have no idea who you are dealing with on the other end of that computer or phone. They can send you a dozen photos of themselves but that does not mean that is who they say they are and that does not mean the pictures you are seeing are of them. Why would you give a stranger something explosive to use against you? A buddy system is a 25 cent term for letting a close friend know trust that you are going out on a hook up. Tell your buddy the time, place and location of your destination and make sure you check in with them. Consider creating a code-word that you can use with your buddy that you can quickly say or text to let them know you are in trouble.
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Also, after the hook up, make sure you contact your buddy and let them know you are on your way home, regardless of how the hook up went. One other tip that some people suggest is to text your buddy a photo of the person you are going to be hooking up with. For what it is worth, there will at least be an image that can be used by police if something bad happens even if the image is fake, it has likely been used before by the person.
This is an obvious one but needs to be listed. If you are drinking out at a bar, do not jump on one of your phone apps looking for a hook up. Your judgment is likely going to be impaired and if you are drunk or even a little tipsy, you are a major target for the freaks, psychos and criminals who are looking for their next victim. How good is that hook up going to be anyway when you are drunk?
When you are texting with your potential hook up, be aware of his intent. Is he asking you if you party? That is a warning sign he may be looking for drugs. Is he saying he only sleeps on the bottom bunk — ask yourself: Has he been using something that prevents him from doing anything else? He is looking to dominate?
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If so, is this something you really want to do with a total stranger? One way to screen for problems is to take the time to talk to the person on the phone.
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This means old fashioned voice communication. If so, simply tell them it is not a good match and politely end the call. Now you know why I suggested using a trick phone. Last point here — if they refuse to talk on the phone, consider this a major warning sign of trouble and discontinue communication!
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. If you feel something just seems weird or are concerned in anyway about your personal safety, call off the hook up. You are not obligated to follow through. This point is very simple — listen carefully to your inner voice. As mentioned earlier, the 10 online hook up safety tips offered here are not exhaustive. My hope is to spark conversation and awareness around this issue with the hope of promoting personal safety. Speaking of personal safety, if you are ever in a situation where you are being attacked, please consider reading my personal self-defense tips.
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