My heart is heavy hearing about a young lady who lost her life with an encounter with allegedly an online dating incident.
I did online dating for several years prior to getting married and I want to share some strategies I used to keep myself safe:
1. I always took a selfie before every date and at that time sent it to my Dad. I sent it to him because he was a person VERY tuned in to potential criminal behavior so he would know what I was wearing.
2. I always told at least 2 people who , where and what time I was meeting the person. 1 of those 2 was always my mother because she is incredibly gifted with listening to details and I knew she’d remember.
3. I always LIED about how long it took to get to where ever we agreed to meet. If it was down the street from my house I said it’ll take me about 45 minutes from my side of town.
4. I always WENT HOME THE WRONG WAY once I left the person and would often go to the grocery store or the mall(basically HEAVILY POPULATED PARKING LOTS) to do an errand. This was to throw potential madness off track or at a minimum frustrate them over the time it would take to follow me.
5. I had an online name and it was “Cam”. Because of my online presence I didn’t want them to be able to look me up on social media immediately and with a name like “Cledra” I can’t hide from google. “Cam” was also my way of knowing where they were in my process. If they never knew “Cledra” then they were on the short list to be shown an exit.
6. I didn’t hesitate to block from my phone. People ask me all the time did I run into ‘crazy’ and the answer is the same answer I say about what I’ve run into in person…YES…’crazy’ exist ON AND OFFline HOWEVER what’s important is your personal ability to manage ‘crazy’.
7. I’ve been in sales since my Dad bought his grocery store in 1982 so I’ve had YEARS of experience in getting others to talk more than I do to learn what I need to learn. I share this to say…focus on being interested more than being interesting. Look great of course however BE SMART about internalizing excessive flattery & letting it take you out of your logical frame of mind. Excessive flattery is often a tactic to weaken your defenses. BE CONFIDENT in who you are and how you look and don’t allow flattery to be used as a weapon. If someone is enamored by your looks to the point that it’s all they talk about RED FLAG.
8. The red flag brings me to my last point. I created a dating spreadsheet. I’m an engineer so to me you manage well what you track well, so I had a “red flag” column to snap me outta “he so fine”. You know ladies you can meet some really charming and really attractive men that on a bad week you can be really vulnerable to the “fluff”(or at least I knew that was my history that I needed to compensate for and thus the spreadsheet…know YOUR HISTORICAL “data” weaknesses when it comes to dating & compensate and have your OWN SNAP OUT OF IT method). I was CLEAR about what didn’t work and the personality type that didn’t work with my personality and so the red flag column also helped me maintain that clarity independent of the incredible game that he might bring to the table.
9. Keep going and one day you’ll take the last online dating “selfie”, send it to your Dad/confidant, share it with your Mom/great listener and you’ll post on facebook…I met THE ONE!
I know because this is my “one day” I met THE ONE selfie and THAT is when I told him the truth about where I lived, my real name, and by the grace of GOD we day by day help each other unpack our real baggage (another topic for another day).
Be Safe Ladies!
PS….women ask me would I date online knowing the potential danger and to that I respond…I drive knowing people have been killed in cars, I fly knowing planes have been hi-jacked, I took the risk to get married AGAIN knowing the statistics about my chances are worse than the first time to stay married…I trust GOD, I trust HIS timing, I trust…myself !