My anxiety level was through the roof. I was waiting at the coffee shop, gripping my coffee cup and letting it grow cold. I started to count backward from 100 to get my mind off of it.
My date walked into the coffee shop and I felt my anxiety spike even more. I wished I had stayed home.
Ten minutes into our conversation, I felt my tense shoulders relax. I was relieved that he was normal, a good conversationalist, funny and a good listener. What was I worried about in the first place?
I’ll tell you what I was worried about: the worst case scenario. In my mind, the worst possible thing that could happen is I go on a date with an axe murderer—unlikely, but not impossible.
When online dating be safe and selective. These principles will keep your online dating fears at bay and help you have a safe experience, while staying out of harm’s way.
Okay, so maybe the axe murderer is a stretch of the imagination. But safety is definitely a consideration when meeting a stranger.
Presumably the person you’re meeting from an online dating site is a stranger. So, what do you do before you decide to meet someone?
Ask them questions: “What are you hoping to get out of this dating site? What are your morals? What do you do with your days?” Make sure their answers line up and there are no red flags.
If you want to meet them, ask to meet in a public location. Don’t go hiking in the woods with a person you’ve never met before. Always tell someone where your date will be, who you’re meeting and set a time by which you’ll text them. This way, someone will be watching out for you.
Say you get five messages a day. Awesome! But who do you message back? That girl who seems desperate for a boyfriend? That guy who isn’t wearing a shirt and clearly wants to take you back to his place? Do you even have to message any of them back?
No. Of course not.
You can set up a whole online dating profile and never meet a single soul. Only talk to people you’re actually interested in.
Online dating isn’t a time to be polite and give every person who contacts you “a chance.”
If you’re sure you’re not interested right away, just write a quick note letting them know. You likely don’t have time for multiple dates a week or the emotional energy to be messaging 10 people a day.
Only talk to people who actually have potential.
Remember, you are a unique person who deserves someone who is a good fit. It’s worth waiting for that right fit.
Now, online dating is an awesome way to meet people you would normally never encounter! I met my first two boyfriends online, as well as the guy I’m currently dating.
Who knows, if I had never stepped out of my comfort zone and tried online dating, I may have never met him.
I have had amazing dates, awkward dates, dates that I didn’t want to end, dates where I couldn’t wait until the end and everything in between.
Would I go back and undo anything, saving myself from the awkward ones, or the one with the con artist? Of course not. It makes life interesting, these are tales to be told.
The dates that are less than amazing are good learning experiences.
Plus, when you meet a great match, you’ll appreciate them even more after being on some dates that were boring, awkward or just plain unbearable.
At the end of the day, if you’re safe, smart and selective in your online dating experience, not much can go wrong.
You’ll save time and have some interesting experiences.
You may even find exactly what you’re looking for, whatever that may be. It can be a frustrating and lengthy process; but, ultimately, it broadens your horizons and helps you meet people who you would never otherwise meet.
Who wouldn’t benefit from meeting a wider variety of people? I know I sure have, and I’m sure you would too.
Andrea Jongbloed lives in Abbotsford, BC, Canada with her husband. She works as a community mental health outreach support worker with Fraser Health. She has lived successfully with bipolar disorder for 18 years and is passionate about mental health recovery. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, particularly sailing.