ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Meet Friends While Avoiding Creeps on Craigslist

Updated on October 16, 2008

 Nowadays, if you have an internet connection and basic reading skills, you've probably visited Craigslist.  Chances are you've even used Craiglist to sell your bike, or find a volunteer activity in your neighborhood, or apply for a part time job, or any one of the dozens of services offered by this free, localized listing website.  Craigslist can be particularly helpful in the time of a move: you can scout out move in specials on apartments, apply for new jobs, and pick up furniture to fill the empty spots in your new home, all in one place.  In fact, Craigslist even lets you shop around for the thing that everyone wants but struggles to get in a new place: friends.

The idea of being able to shop for your new cronies on Craigslist like you would a used textbook has got to be tempting to any normal human being.  Why waste time hoofing it around town when you can screen your potential buddies from the comfort of home, basking in the glow of your computer screen?  It's free, and it doesn't have the same stigma of desperation that can be associated with traditional dating websites.  Plus, there's just something hip and edgy and so Gen-Y about using Craigslist to procure odd things. 

Before you get started generating a whole new social circle through Craigslist, however, you need to understand the risks inherent in the process, and be smart about protecting yourself.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of creeps out there, and Craigslist provides a convenient medium for them to locate potential victims.  People have unfortunately been assaulted or even killed as a result of meetings facilitated through Craigslist.  Granted, most of the 'creeps' online aren't out to assault or kidnap you, but the lack of physical trauma doesn't make it any less uncomfortable if you get stuck hanging out with someone who, for instance, you catch sniffing your hair every time you glance away. 

So, to prepare you to meet your next best friend on Craigslist without putting yourself in harm's way, I've prepared this guide to help you spot 'red flags' and protect yourself.  Please note, however, that I'm not a certified Craigslist expert and cannot guarantee you that following my recommendations is a failsafe way to avoid creeps on the internet.  Also, if you are interested in using Craigslist to meet people for dating, romance, or a booty call, then this article will not pertain to you. 

The Posting Itself: Creating Your Own Ad

There are two ways to meet people on Craigslist: either post an ad of your own, or respond to those posted by others.  If you opt to create your own posting, there are a few guidelines you should make sure to follow.

1.  Make sure you post in the 'Strictly Platonic' section.  Even if you have set preferences on what gender you'd like your new friends to be, it could be misleading to post in another category.  For instance, maybe you're a woman who really likes hanging out with a group of guys- nothing wrong with that!  If you post your ad in the w4m (woman for men) category, however, the majority of people reading your post are going to assume you're looking for something more than friendship, and this might lead them to read more into your post that what is there.

2. Don't give out any identifying information

Don't even give out your name.  If there's a creep out there looking at your post, you don't want to give them any personal information to use in contacting you.  Craigslist will route any responses to your ad to your email via an anonymized email, so a responder won't have any other way of contacting you unless you choose to contact them back.  Take advantage of this protection- don't give any potential stalkers out there an 'in' that's not necessary.

3. Write very clearly about your interests and expectations  for the friendship

Don't be too shy to say directly: "I'm looking for friendship only.  Not interested in any relationship or sexual encounters."  You'd be amazed what some people can read into seemingly innocent text.  The clearer and more focused your ad is, the better chances you have of finding a new friend that fits the bill perfectly.  Looking for a workout partner?  Another stay-at-home-mom to arrange playdates with?  Someone who will accompany you to the local film festivals?  A wine enthusiast to sample international offerings with you?  If you're not specific, you're going to find yourself wading through a lot of email from people you just don't have much in common with.

Responding to Someone Else's Ad

Your other option for meeting friends on Craigslist is to respond to other people's ads.  This may limit the pool of potential friends a bit, but in terms of ease and safety I prefer this method. 

1. Limit the amount of identifying info you give out in your first email

Again, err on the side of caution until you've felt a person out.  It's appropriate to volunteer your name when responding to an ad, but I'd wait until you've exchanged a few emails before volunteering your phone number.  That way, if you get a weird vibe, you don't have to screen your calls for weeks. 

2.  Look out for vague wording

The best kind of friend ads to respond to are the ones that are specific.  If someone is looking "to hang out and chill or whatever," that 'whatever' could involve something you're just not down for.  Also,the more specific a poster is about what they are looking for in a friend/friendship, the more likely it is that you two will have things in common and get along well.

3.  Some red flags to watch for . . .

-Anyone specifying what you should look like:  If you want to be my friend, it shouldn't matter what my height or weight or general appearance is.  If they specify a preference (particularly if they are looking for an 'attractive' or 'fit' new friend) than they are probably not looking for just friendship, no matter what they claim.

-Anyone listing themselves as married but looking for opposite sex friends 'just to talk' or 'for innocent flirtation:' Ew. Ew.  Just stay away from these.  Sadly, these are fairly easy to find on any given Craigslist. 

-Anyone who is looking for someone to hang out with right away:  For instance, "looking for someone who wants to come over and watch movies tonight."  These things take time to ensure both parties are sufficiently non-creepy.  If someone is looking to do something right away- particularly in a non-public location- then I call foul.

-Anyone looking to exchange services: Yes, it sounds lovely to think that someone out there is willing to give you free back massages, or do your hair, or manicure your toes, just because they like to, or they need hours for massage school, or whatever reason they supply you with.  Call me cynical, but I believe 99% of these posts are some CREEP looking to get their jollies from touching all over some poor, unsuspecting Craigslister.  Avoid!

After the Email:  Your first meeting

Once emails have been exchanged and you feel comfortable with the idea of meeting in person, you'll still want to be careful.  Some creepy people can hide it very well!  Always arrange for your first meeting to be in a public place, even if you are convinced that your new friend is a model citizen and complete paragon of virtue.  Pick someplace that you are familiar with.  Make sure that you tell a friend or family member where you are going, when you plan on being back, and all the details you know about the person you are meeting- just in case. 

Go Forth and Make Friends Electronically

If you approach the Craigslist platonic classifieds with an air of caution and a lot of common sense, chances are that you can meet some interesting people.  It's a great way to get a jump start on friends in a new place.  If you meet someone you really hit it off with, they may introduce you to a whole new circle of acquaintances.  Don't forget that it's ok to be selective with the people you meet.  Even if someone isn't creepy, if you just don't hit it off or don't have much in common, it's ok to keep looking.  Have fun with it and above all else, be safe!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      jessamyn philhower 

      4 years ago

      i need friends

    • profile image

      Guy 

      4 years ago

      Stay away from Craigslist. It's like playing Russian roulette with your safety.

    • profile image

      maranda 

      4 years ago

      the picture you see its not always perfect painting so trust yourslef

    • profile image

      Futamarka 

      5 years ago

      Если по данной технологии эти условия отличаются от указанных, в расчете принимают величины отходов, определенные по проектным или производственным данным.

    • profile image

      Ceawheact 

      5 years ago

      My partner and i accustomed to get at the top of life but these days I have established any level of resistance.

    • profile image

      Jerry 

      7 years ago

      For people that are serious about meeting others for platonic friendships, you may be interested in www.companiontree.com

    • profile image

      romell 

      7 years ago

      snake_69_romell@hotmail.com i love men

    • Helga123 profile image

      Helga123 

      8 years ago from WEB

      It is hard to tell the creep from a nice guy most of the time especially if a creep is premeditating to harm, he may pass for a nice guy even after a few dates _For some reason other dating online seem better although caution is still needed_

    • profile image

      Friend 

      8 years ago

      Sarah are you looking? :)

      you can add me as niborobin on yahoo

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      A creep is a sociopathic user and abuser just waiting for some lonely co-dependent to suck the life out of. - That's a creep.

      https://hubpages.com/relationships/addictiveperson

    • pjk_artist profile image

      pjk_artist 

      8 years ago from Turkey Point, ON

      What's a "creep"?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)