Woman online using laptopDating online can be some really great fun. You can meet new people and make new friends. And even better than that, you could wind up meeting that special match you’ve been longing for all these years. If you’ve never given online dating a try, here are some things to think about:

Start off slowly – Do a little research about the dating service you’re considering before you jump in. Make sure they are of good reputation. Then when you find a couple of sites that you trust, join them. Always try looking for someone who sounds credible and truthful. Honesty is the only real way to find a perfect match. Go with your gut instincts.

Don’t Just Chat Online – Electronic chats just don’t cut it. Talk with the person by phone. This will reveal social skills as well as communication skills. But don’t call from home and reveal your whereabouts. Call from a cell phone or maybe a telephone booth. Never give your home phone number until you’re totally comfortable with them.

Only Meet in a Secured Setting – Whenever it’s time to meet your date for the first time, meet somewhere safe. You want lots of people around, maybe even double date with a couple of your own friends. Always make sure your family or good friends know where you are and how to reach you.

Guard and Protect Yourself – You never want to sign up with a dating site and just start putting all your personal information out there. Don’t be so fast to reveal your true identity. This should only be done once you feel you can really trust the person you’re talking with. Leave your real name, your home address, and contact numbers off of your profile. If they demand it, then find another site.

Ask For Their Photo – If you think you may have found a potential match, ask them for a photo. This isn’t necessarily to see how good looking they are, although that’s important, but if you can get a few photos from various settings, you can really find out a lot. It’s good if you can see them indoors and outdoors, casual and formal.

Use Caution And Common Sense – Always use caution when it comes to trusting anyone. Common sense decisions are always good. Take time and feel someone out. Look for signs in their conversation of honesty and openness. Pay very close attention to your communications.

Watch For Danger Signs – If you finally do decide to meet with your online date, watch for any violent displays, or signs of intense frustration. See if they’re the type who is controlling.

Only Meet With Them When You’re Ready – Wait until you’re totally secure before you decide to meet with anyone. Never let them manipulate you or make you feel obligated in any way. If they insist, simple let them know you aren’t ready. If they persist, you probably need to move on.

It’s always better playing it safe. There are some very good perks to online dating, but some cautions are called for as well.