by John Santana
Technology has changed the world of dating. In the information age, apps have taken the place of “mixers,” parties, bars, and other dating methods that were once so commonly used.
Nowadays, you can just pull out your mobile device or open up your laptop, download a dating app (there are literally an endless array of options to choose from), and after registering, creating a profile, and answering some questions, you can start searching for love – or a casual hookup – right from the comfort of your own home (or at the office, on your lunch break, etc.).
While online dating sites are certainly convenient, they’re particularly beneficial for individuals who have jam-packed schedules or for introverts who struggle with putting themselves out there in person, and tons of people have had success and found the loves of their lives on these apps, there are some major disadvantages.
One of the biggest downsides of online dating sites is that they can be littered with warning signs and red flags. They range from people asking for too much personal information to individuals who are way too pushy about meeting up in person, and worst of all, those who get a little too obsessive with the messaging and checking in to the point that it reaches stalker levels.
Whether you’re looking for a committed relationship or casual hookups, if you’re planning on using online dating sites, you’re definitely going to want to protect yourself.
One of the best ways to do that is by being aware of the warning signs of danger that are associated with online dating. While you’re scrolling, swiping, and/or messaging, keep an eye out for the following red flag warning signs that are definitely a cause for concern.
Avoid These Red Flags When Online Dating
They Refuse To Meet In Person
You’ve been matched with someone who shares a lot of the same interests as you. You’ve been messaging each other back and forth for a while now, and it seems like you have a lot in common. You have a good feeling about this person so you decide to ask if he or she would like to meet up in person to see if there’s anything more.
Maybe you could possibly move to the next stage of your relationship, you know, go from online communication to offline, in-person contact. If you’ve asked this person to meet up several times, and each time, he or she declines your invitation yet continues to message you on a constant basis, that’s a definite warning sign.
What could it mean when someone you’re talking to online refuses to meet in person? Well, it could mean that they aren’t the person they say they are. For example, it could be someone who has created a totally false identity and is way older or younger than you, has a criminal history, etc., and therefore, won’t meet up with you for obvious reasons.
Clearly, you wouldn’t want to meet someone in person who has falsified their information, but you also don’t want to communicate with them online, either. Communicating with someone who has a false identity is a big issue, as you could end up being tricked into sharing personal details, and that information could be used against you somehow, or you could end up being harmed.
Alternatively, if the person you’ve been talking to online refuses to meet in person, there’s a chance that he or she may not be ready to commit to a relationship. Depending on your situation, this may not be a big deal; however, it is an issue if you have made it clear that you’re looking for a relationship and the person that you’re talking to has indicated that he or she is also interested in the same, but then in reality, actually isn’t.
If you have asked the person that you’ve been talking to online to meet in person and you keep getting excuses or flat-out refusals, consider that a red flag and cut things off immediately.
They Aren’t Respectful Of Your Boundaries
One of the most important qualities in a potential partner is boundaries, and by that, we mean respect for your boundaries. You don’t want to date someone IRL who is going to push you to do something that you’re really uncomfortable with and feel uneasy about, so you shouldn’t want to talk to someone who does the same thing online.
If someone you have been matched with keeps on pushing you to meet in person, despite the fact that you’ve clearly said no, if they keep on asking you to provide details about your personal life, or if they say things that make you feel really uncomfortable (talk about super kinky sex or other uncomfortable or unpleasant topics), you should definitely see these things as warning signs.
These kinds of issues indicate that the person does not respect your privacy and boundaries online, which means they definitely aren’t going to in real life. Sure, dating is all about intimacy and pushing one another to do things that you may have otherwise been too afraid to try, etc., but these things are within the limits that you have established.
If someone you’ve been talking to online is pushing your boundaries and keeps asking for private details, that’s a definite cause for concern.
They Request Personal Details Right Away
When you’re just starting to get to know someone, taking things slow is always a wise idea; this is particularly true when it comes to your personal details and information. If someone that you have just been paired up with on an online dating app starts asking you to share your personal information right away – your phone number, your email address, your physical address, where you work, etc. – that’s a big problem.
If someone is asking you to share your private information right away, there’s a good chance that they are trying to move things way too quickly, which is troubling.
Or, even more concerning, there’s a chance that he or she is attempting to scam you or even physically harm you. Whatever the motive behind their asking, if someone is requesting your personal information right off the bat, that is certainly something you should consider worrying about.
Their Profile Appears Too Picture Perfect
Who doesn’t want to find someone perfect? Someone who shares the same interests has a similar background and goals, is physically attractive, dresses well, is successful, is financially stable, lives in a beautiful abode, is well-traveled and cultured, etc.
While finding someone who has all of these qualities and traits would be great, in reality, no one is perfect. Everyone has their flaws, and that’s just a fact of life. With that said, if someone you have been matched with on the online dating site you’re using appears to be too perfect, that should absolutely make you raise your eyebrows.
What do we mean when we say that someone’s profile appears to be too perfect? Here are a few examples to be on the lookout for that indicate someone you’ve been matched with or have been talking to is suspicious:
- They look like models in their photos. Their hair is perfectly coifed, their makeup is precisely placed, their outfit looks like it just came off a runway, they’re posed to perfection; etc. If their profile pictures seem unnatural – like something you would see in a magazine – that’s a red flag.
- Their list of accomplishments is long and impressive. Examples might include a slew of advanced degrees, graduating top of the class from all of the universities they’ve attended, numerous awards and accolades, they hold high-profile positions, etc.
- They reside in a “perfect” house, travel to extravagant locations, and have had numerous amazing experiences that most ordinary people can only dream of.
- Their Background, Hobbies, and Interests Are Precisely The Same As Yours.
It’s certainly normal to be drawn to someone who is physically attractive, has achieved major accomplishments, has a background that is similar to yours, and just seems to have had an amazing life.
If someone ticks off all of these boxes, it should definitely raise concerns. Why? Well, because there’s a good chance that they’re either hiding their shortcomings by making up this extravagant persona, or they have ill intentions and are trying to lure you in.
They Constantly Cancel
You’ve matched with someone on a dating site that catches your interest. After chatting with them for a while, you feel like you’ve gotten to know them (at least in the digital world), and you’d like to meet in person to see if you can move forward with your relationship.
So, you ask this person if they would like to grab a cup of coffee, have a picnic at a park, take a stroll on the beach, or what have you. They agree, but at the last minute, they cancel. That’s understandable one time, and it may even be excusable twice; however, if the person that you’re trying to meet in person keeps canceling on you at the last minute, that’s definitely a red flag.
Things happen, and people have to reschedule. We totally get that, and we’re sure that you do too. If you’re ditched on a regular basis, though, well, you should really think about whether or not he or she is worth pursuing.
They Have a Lengthy, Detailed List Of Essentials
Everyone has their standards when it comes to dating. There are some things that are absolute essentials like you’re looking for a committed relationship with someone who wants to start a family one day, for example. There are certain things that are definite deal breakers, too. For instance, you don’t want to date someone who smokes or drinks.
It’s normal and completely understandable to have some criteria, but if the criteria of someone you have been matched with are exceedingly long and feature things that are just unrealistic, that’s a sign that you should swipe to the left.
When someone has a long list of highly particular standards and insane deal breakers, that could be a sign that they are looking for someone who they believe is absolutely perfect, and chances are you will never live up to their standards (nor will anyone else, in all likelihood). Do you really want to feel like you’re being judged all the time, or do you want to deal with being ridiculed for your flaws? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
They’re Shady About Questions
If someone you have been matched up with on an online dating site gives you an evasive answer to a question you’ve asked, consider that a warning sign and proceed with caution.
When you’re dating someone, it’s natural to want to learn more about them, and the best way to do that is by asking questions. If their lips are sealed when you inquire about their background, interests, goals, or other basic, non-intrusive questions, that is a cause for concern.
While it may not always be the case, often, those who provide vague answers do so because they are hiding something. What could they possibly be hiding? A whole lot of things!
For instance, they could be married, engaged to be married, in a long-term relationship, or have another serious commitment that they don’t want to know about.
There’s also a chance that they are hiding something shade about their past, such as a criminal record. Respecting boundaries is important, and understanding that some people are cautious when they first start dating and take a while to feel comfortable enough to reveal themselves; but, if someone you’re talking to online provides really vague answers or flat-out refuses to answer really basic questions, we suggest crossing them off your list.
Proceed With Caution
While online dating sites can be a great way to meet new people and possibly even find someone you could start a long-term committed relationship with, it’s also important to be aware that shady people can – and do – lurk online, and dating sites are often targeted by these creeps.
If you notice any of the above-mentioned red flags or anything else that strikes you as odd, do yourself a favor: swipe to the left and move on!