Staying Safe Online: Are you dating who you think you are?

(c) Flickr Creative Commons CarbonNYC

In today’s day and age, do you REALLY know who you’re meeting, or “dating” online? Nev Schulman, from Mtv’s own, “Catfish,” started a trend in 2010, by speaking out about those misrepresenting themselves online. Most recently, Notre Dame football great, Te’o, was involved in a heartbreaking scandal involving an invisible girlfriend. According to ESPN.com,

Is Manti Te’o a world-class liar or the victim of a cruel hoax? A schemer or prey? We all await his version of the truth…”

Schulman knows too well the pain of deeply caring about someone who never existed. When pressed by NYMag, Schulman had this to say, “”It doesn’t really change anything for me that this victim is a high-profile football player. I think it can and obviously does happen to anyone.” The fact is, anyone can pretend to be whatever they’d like through veiled communications on the internet. Your best bet is to use common sense,  question often and never hesitate to ask for a meeting in person, (in a safe location.)

Want  to avoid the trap? Here are 3 ways to stay aware and safe while dating online…

Pick Up The Phone:

After a few email exchanges, you should have established enough comfort with someone that picking up the phone won’t be nearly as terrifying as you first thought.  A telephone conversation can help distinguish preliminary doubts and establish a greater connection. Communicate during the first or second email exchange that you look forward to speaking on the phone and continuing to explore the possibilities, together. If the two of you click, a phone conversation should be the next step.

Reluctant To Meet:

Let’s face it,  no one really has the time to sit and chat with someone on the phone for hours on end. Whether the person is located in your community or across the country, if they are the “real deal,” they will want to meet you. If it is true romance, people will hop a flight, catch a bus, or take a long drive to meet their heart’s desire.

It’s Not Always About Money:

Predators are not always looking for money. They pray on someone’s need for connection, love and companionship. When meeting someone online, it is important to be optimistically-cautious. Deep down, you know how you should be treated and you know that you are worth meeting in-person. If someone is reluctant to do so, give them a chance or two but then move on. Think of it like a date, if someone doesn’t show up for two dates, would you put up with their careless attitude? Of course not!  They clearly are showing they are not worth your time and energy.

Love is a beautiful thing and in order to have a love worth having, you need to be open to being vulnerable, but you also have to allow yourself to be treated with respect. Dating is  a fine line.  Part of dating successfully, is knowing how to set up expectations and boundaries to keep your heart safe while balancing the playing of your own cards in letting someone in. I call this, “Dating Poker.” Let the right man or woman in once you have gazed into their eyes and kissed their lips.

Call me today 612-568-3577 to set-up a one-on-one meeting and mention code, “Te’o” and receive 10% off.

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Dating CoachKK, Kimberly Koehler is the leading dating and relationship coach in Minneapolis, MN who helps men and women globally. As a renowned coach and professional speaker I bring you practical and applicable strategies and solutions to the most common dating and relationship struggles. Date smarter, have stronger relationship and join me as we navigate the dating and relationship maze.

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