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Last week, I did a news story on on-line dating. I also took the opportunity to use my social media to ask people if they were for or against on-line dating and why? I received a great response that was mostly positive on the topic. Of course there were the horror stories as well. But more and more people are seeing on-line dating as one way to meet people given the technology and busy schedules.

I have three main areas of concern: Safety, dishonesty and the fact that 30% of on-line daters are already married.

So in order to help with these issues, here are a few guidelines I’ve put together to help if you decide to go that route. Feel free to add to these on this blog and tell us your stories of success or failure with this approach to dating

Guidelines for on-line dating:

1)   Use common sense and pay attention to your gut reaction. This is often the Holy Spirit in you, warning you that things may not be right.

2)   If he or she sounds too good to be true, he or she probably is to good to be true and isn’t being truthful on his or her profile.

3)   Listen and watch (by video) for signs of a temper, control, depression, etc. and run for the hills if you sense this person needs therapy first.  You aren’t going to change him or her. Let the person get help.

4)   Use a free email account with first name and something else. This way a person cannot search all your personal details.

5)   Ask for a RECENT picture and encourage the person to send candid shots for more realism. You don’t want major surprises when you meet. Awkward!

6)   If any one asks for money, do not give it. Most likely you are being scammed.

7)   Don’t reveal details of your personal life too soon and be careful what you reveal. I had a client who told a guy she had money before she even met him. She was never sure if he was attracted to her for the money or because he genuinely liked her.

8)   Paid services usually have more safety and screening procedures than free.

9)   If you do have a home phone, don’t give out the number. Use your cell or a prepaid phone.

10) Some people have a great deal of social awkwardness at meeting others. If you meet and it feels awkward, you may want to give it another chance to see if the person settles down and is interesting.

11)  Meet in a public space the first time.

12)  Don’t use a provocative handle to get interest. The interest you get is not the kind of interest you want.

13)  Don’t go into questionable chat rooms.

14)  Use Skype (and other visual media) and Facetime to actually see each other if the relationship progresses. You get more information when you can observe nonverbal behavior.

15)  Think about how your photos may be used. Once you send them to the Cloud or cyberspace, people can use them however they want. And get permission from any person who might be in a photo with you. Better yet, crop that person out of the photo. It violates his or her privacy.

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