I have been chatting back and forth with a man I met online and now he wants us to meet in person. I admit, I am a little nervous about meeting him, but we really hit it off online and I really want to take our relationship to the next level. My family and friends seem to have mixed feelings about whether it’s safe for me to meet him in person. I feel like I know him well enough. We have exchanged several photos and chatted using a web cam. I really don’t think online dating is any different than going on a “blind” date with someone you never met. Do you think it’s safe to meet him in person? — Computer Love
Dear Computer Love:
Who in the world knew that Roger Troutman was so prophetic and that so many people would indeed find love through their computer screens (LOL). It seems that the World Wide Web has created yet another avenue for people to meet and make connections. I actually know people who have met the mate of their dreams online, and others who are still having nightmares!
With any form of dating, precautions always need to be taken, but especially with online dating. The Internet makes it easier to connect with many individuals, but it can also make it easier for people to misrepresent themselves in many ways (marital status, age, appearance, etc.). If you are meeting and chatting with someone online, make sure you get to know them as best you can before meeting in person.
Even though you feel like you have gotten to know this man well over the Internet, I would advise you to meet in a public setting and to make sure someone else knows where you are meeting. Or you could even double date with a friend or a group of friends. While this may be an exciting time and you are eager to meet, you need to make sure you are making wise choices and protecting yourself.
And for the record, I think online dating is very different from “blind dating.” A blind date is usually set up or arranged by someone you know and who knows you well enough to try and play matchmaker. The person arranging the date is somewhat vouching for the individual or at the very least making a recommendation on their behalf. While that recommendation may be ALL WRONG and you can end up feeling like you are on an episode of Hell Date, you are still in more familiar territory. I am saying all of this to say, don’t let your guard down too early by comparing the two.
Last but not least, do your due diligence. You used the computer to find love, now use your resources to make sure you check out this individual. Google him, look at his Facebook page…you know how it’s done!
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.