#WhatDoYouExpect when hooking up online?

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Meeting people online can be loads of fun.  You can talk to a huge range of people or find partners that are looking for the same things as you.  Unfortunately having access to such a huge range of people means that you are probably going to run in to some who are creepy or dangerous.  Regularly update your privacy settings, especially on your photos, and try to avoid adding people you don't know on Facebook. This also means avoiding apps that require you to login with Facebook, you are agreeing to give strangers access to your profile! When meeting people online, or considering meeting them offline, it helps to have some checklists that can help keep you as safe as possible.  We've provided some as a guide to help you make your own. 

I expect that the person I am talking to online is who they say they are.

Deception is common on the internet and it has even been given a fancy name:  Social Engineering, or the psychological manipulation of people to make them perform actions or share confidential information. A Catfish is someone who uses social engineering by creating false online identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online hookups.  There are a number of things you can do when talking to someone online that will help you work out if they are who they say, or what it is they might really be looking for. We can't guarantee they will work, people are complicated, but its a great way to get used to trusting your intuition and filtering out people who you are not sure about.

 

REMAIN SKEPTICAL -

If someone seems too good to be true, they probably are.

CHARM IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING-

Be wary of people who tell you what you want to hear, whose profile exactly matches your interests, or worse still who update their profile to match what you are looking for.

NOT MUCH INFORMATION-

Look out for profiles that don't have many of the information sections filled out, or for people who reply to your messages with picture requests.

ANGRY MUCH?-

Pay attention to the emotional tone of a profile.  If it sounds angry, demanding or judgmental move on to the next one.

CHECK THEIR PHOTOS-

Did you know you can drag and drop an image into a google image search? This is a great way to see if the persons pics are genuine or if you just got sent a pic of Ryan Goslings abs instead.

CHECK OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES-

Do some investigating and see if the person has an established online presence.  Things to look for are profiles with hardly any friends (less than 10), profiles that have only recently been set up or a lack of photos and tags. 

I expect that they are looking for the same things as me.

People use social media, online dating and hook-up apps for lots of reasons but the main reasons are friendship, love, sex or deception.  Being clear about what you want will help you steer clear of others whose intentions may not be the same. Whether you are looking for friendship, love or sex – be realistic.  Just because technology is now involved it doesn’t mean those old fashioned methods of hooking up don’t apply. 

GET CHATTING-

People who are genuinely interested in you will want to chat so be wary of one liners and people who give their phone number or email out too soon.

GET TALKING-

Once you have chatted online it’s a good idea to talk on the phone.  This helps you get a feel for the other person and see if you really have anything in common.  Get them to give you their number and call it from a blocked number.  Don’t worry that the other person may be offended, if they are interested and genuine they will understand. If the conversation is boring, filled with lots of silence or one person does all the talking, you probably aren't a great match.

HAVE A LOOK-

Always try and talk on webcam or videocall as it’s a great way to test out the chemistry.  Leave your clothes on because people can record a webcam feed. If they tell you their computer/phone is not working, or they don’t have a webcam- be suspicious!

NEGOTIATE-

Use these talking and webcam opportunities to negotiate safe sex. Some profiles will tell you if a person practices safe sex.  If you don’t have this info-ask. Sometimes it's easier to bring this up by text or on the phone than when you are standing naked in front of them.

TAKE YOUR TIME-

Real intimacy takes time.  If you are looking for love take your time and expect the other person to do the same. If you are looking for sex, you can still take the time to make sure you can expect an awesome hookup!

WARNING SIGNS-

There are some things you can keep an eye out for that might mean it's time to hit BLOCK. 

  • Asking inappropriate questions

  • Requesting your home, school or work address to send flowers or gifts

  • Telling inconsistent or over the top stories

  • Giving vague answers to specific questions

AND DONT FORGET-

  • Urging you to compromise what you believe.

  • Constantly blaming others for troubles in his or her life

  • Insisting on getting very close, very fast

  • Claiming to have recently broken up/newly single

  • Disappearing suddenly from the site then reappearing under a different name

I expect to be safe and have a great time if we meet up.

 

Meeting new people, hookups and dating are meant to be fun and new technology gives us loads of great ways to find new people. To make sure you have a positive experience you need to respect yourself and the other person by making sure everyone has the opportunity to back out.  We’ve all had those occasions where you finally meet that amazing person from online and when you sit opposite them there is just no chemistry or the other person is more than a little odd.  Some dating apps aren't so much about dating as finding someone to have sex with, when you don't have the oppoortunity to get to know someone keep your stranger danger hat on!

GO PUBLIC-

Always meet in a public place with lots of people around. Lunch dates work especially well.

ALCOHOL?-

Try to limit alcohol consumption until you know the person better, that way you can still think clearly and you drive if you need to or make a plan to get home. And remember NEVER leave your drink unattended.

CONSIDER TAKING A FRIEND-

Having someone come along with you is a great idea, if only to get a second opinion. If this isn't possible you need to provide a friend with all the information you have on the person you are meeting.  This may include; their profile name and the name of the app you met them on, their email or mobile number and the exact location of your meeting. An extra precaution is to take a photo of the person you meet and text it to a friend. Someone who means you no harm wont mind you taking precautions to protect yourself. 

CHARGE UP-

Carry a fully charged mobile phone with easily accessible emergency numbers. Don’t underestimate how important this is.

YOUR CAR/BUS/CHAUFFEUR-

Use your own transportation, every time.  Keep control of your freedom and remember those stranger danger rules from primary school. 

MY PLACE OR YOURS?-

Try and avoid giving out your address or information about where you work until you get to know the other person better. If you are going to have sex try and go somewhere neutral or make sure someone knows where you are, you will need to decide where the safest place for you to hook up is.

WAIT-

While it may be tempting to have sex with someone the first time you meet, holding off and waiting until you feel ready can actually make the sex better.  Use the time in between meetings to send sexy texts and get a good feel for what they are really looking for. 

SET UP A SAFETY CALL-

Tell at least one friend or family member about your plans and when you will return. If you do decide to go back to someone’s place, text that address to your safety call. Arrange to check in with them after an hour. If the person you are meeting is worthwhile they will respect your decision.  If you don’t have a friend who you trust to be your safety call there are some great new apps available.

YOU DON'T OWE THEM ANYTHING-

If someone is pressuring you to have sex with them straight away, remember you are in a public place, they don’t know where you live and you don’t owe them anything.  Leave them there and make your way to a safe place and if you need to call for help.