Online dating is becoming more of a popular way of meeting others these days, it can be as safe as you allow it to be, but be aware of modern dating etiquette.
In my experience of dating, I usually follow these simple rules:
I will conduct a conversation online first, and if it turns out that they interest me I will step it up a bit by giving out my cellphone but make it clear that it's for txting only. I personally don't like talking on the phone straight away. I also only use my first name until I fully trust the person that I'm dating. Flirting a little via txt is common these days.
When making first contact
Make your email imaginative and more than one line and keep it open to a reply by including a talking point or a question.
Typical examples of a closed-ended unimaginative on line emails...
- "Hi there"
- "You have nice eyes/breasts/arse"
- "Check out my profile and email back if interested"
- "Hi, want to chat?"
I would advise that you read their profile (don't just look at their photo!), and maybe talk about something that they've written, or tell them a little more about yourself (something that is not already written in your own profile), or show them how witty you can be. People love to laugh, if you can make them laugh in the first email, then you are more likely to get a response.
When arranging a first meeting (or date)
When you've decided that you both want to meet, be flexible and patient! If you're a guy then allow her to choose a place & time. If she asks you for ideas, suggest a popular bar or busy cafe - DO NOT invite anyone to your home on a first meeting and be cautious of anyone who suggests it!! Make sure the meeting place is public and busy, and you park your car in a well lit public area (if getting there by car). Tell friends, flatmates, family members that you are meeting someone from a dating site, give them your date's name and contact details (cellphone number) just in case they lose contact with you. Also, arrange with a friend, family member to send you a txt every 20 minutes to check that all is well - this also gives you an excuse to get away if the date isn't going very well by saying (for example) "that was my father, he says we have a family emergency and I'm needed at home right now".
Online dating can be safe, as long as you remain cautious and keep yourself safe.
I normally use a well established dating site like NZPersonals
The address: http://www.nzpersonals.com/
It's a feature-rich dating site, has a safety policy, is free to use but also has cheap subscriptions if you want to use some of the cool features, it has more options, and a wider range of genuine people. There are hundreds of dating sites out there, but this one is faster, more reliable, and very popular.
For a comprehensive list of safety tips, refer to this URL: