In this world of smartphones and social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with someone for a date.
The problem is, meeting online and taking cues from a dating profile is risky. Even if the person is not a total creep, there are some things to be on the lookout for before agreeing to meet up.
Only female friends. This could be a red flag. It’s perfectly normal to have a few females in his inner circle, but if every one of the shots has him with his arm around another babe, you may wonder what his intentions on the site are in the first place.
If you’re looking for something long-term, you don’t want to fall for someone who’s only looking to hook up. If you’re getting a bad vibe, steer clear.
All selfies. It’s easier to tell what someone actually looks like if there are a variety of photos from all different angles. If the entire profile consists of only selfies, you’ll have to guess what the rest of him looks like in person, as well as question why he’s obsessed with this pose.
Any sober pics. If he is drinking in every shot, you might want to think twice. While it’s good to have a few social snaps out with friends, too much alcohol can be a cause for concern. If his profile includes only keg stands and beer bongs, click “next.”
Questionable past-times. While it’s nice to date someone who has a good sense of humor, it’s quite another if they’re a troublemaker – like, big time.
If there are any pics of blatant crimes or comments about spending a night in jail, this is likely not something you want to get in the middle of – after all, a criminal record can be life-changing.
Bad-mouthing. If the entire profile consists of this person bashing their ex, or exes, a certain group, every institution, or society at large, this is a bad attitude that you’re not going to want to deal with.
Hater or extremist. For obvious reasons, if this person’s profile depicts a propensity for putting others down or even engaging in extremist activity, this should be a no-go. Next!
Narcissistic. If there are a thousand pics and a blurb about how perfect this person is, you might want to call their bluff and swipe left. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in a relationship with a narcissist who will likely be abusive on every level and unfaithful to boot.
What’s more, sometimes individuals with this personality disorder project a false façade that is entirely different from reality. So, you may never actually know the person you’re connecting with even after you meet.
No information. The opposite can be just as dangerous. If there are absolutely no photos, or just one and it’s kind of blurry and far away, and nothing written, be careful.
The one image could have been catfished, the profile could have been created by someone who wants this person to date but has no investment in the endeavor, or this is just someone totally dry. No information, no good.
Professional pics. Rest assured, if this person is really a professional model, he will know that he also needs to post a polaroid or two showing he’s legit. If all of the photos are professional, it’s difficult to determine what this person looks like without photo-editing.
You need to also be concerned with the legitimacy of the pics included or that this person may be way too into projecting perfection to be in a healthy partnership.
Online dating has become the norm in this digital world, but just because “everyone’s doing it,” doesn’t make it any less risky.
In fact, it’s easier than ever to pretend to be someone else and that’s just downright scary. Always have a safety plan in place and involve your trusted network, letting them know where you are and who you’re with. Then, take your time and first connect with this person online only. Build a rapport and watch out for profile red flags.
Of course, you can never fully know for sure until you two get close, but there are a few precautions that will minimize the potential for danger.