What is the best way to be safe when dating on-line and still make a connection?
Ask for there name and do a back ground check, it would be great if they will tell you the truth. You could go out more often and meet people, why even bother doing it on line.
Just talk to them for a while, get a bit of a feel (it's easy to tell who's going to be a standard scammer versus a creeper versus someone relatively okay).
I tend to restrict my radius to less than a half hour of driving, and meet up with people in public places rather quickly (within a week or two), but don't go anywhere private or without my roommate on speed-dial until I'm comfortable with them (much like meeting someone at a bar).
I treat online dating as more of a selection/introduction service, a gallery of potential candidates to further weed out.
I have a lot of friends who have met their partners through online dating. To make a connection you have to be honest with the people you are meeting online - there's no point pretending to be someone you're not. Having a lot of email conversations first is important. I think you can learn a lot about people from chatting online - you should be able to tell if he is genuine, or if he is just spinning lines. If they are really interested, they will be patient about meeting, if not, they're probably not worth your while. If you want to make sure they have a current photo on their profile (ie not one of them 20 years ago), ask for a photo of them holding a current newspaper. (Does that sound weird?) When you meet, make it brief, like a daytime coffee in a public place. Don't give anyone your address or home phone number until you know them quite well - I would say until you have met his friends. You can tell a lot about someone by their friends. Be suspicious of any guy you go out with who never wants you to meet any of his acquaintances! Good Luck!
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