with author Friends of Ricki
online dating: recognizing red flags
In Ricki's book Never Say Never, she reveals tales from her active single life, before meeting and marrying her husband, Christian. Ricki's the first to admit, during that time, that she wasn't shy when looking to meet a man and, like millions of other women, often turned to the Internet. If only she had Friend of Ricki Marina Sbrochi to consult with back then. Marina's got tips for any single ready to mingle—online.
Friend of Ricki Marina Sbrochi: Going the online dating route? The rules prior to meeting face to face are just a bit different. Seeing that there are hundreds of different online dating sites these days, one can’t be too careful. Be aware and take note if you notice any of the following:
Inconsistencies Believe it or not, people do fabricate on their online profile. How can you tell? Ask yourself some of these questions -- Do the things they say match up? Does he claim to have several advanced degrees, yet can’t spell? Does she claim to be the outdoorsy type, but lists her favorite activities as television and shopping? Does he state he is 6’ 4" and when you finally meet in person he barely hits 5’ 10"? This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Dishonesty, no matter how trite, is a telltale sign of character.
Refusal to Meet I always encourage getting an in-person coffee or drink as soon as you think you like someone's profile. No sense carrying on a relationship via email (that’s not real life folks!). If the person makes excuse after excuse to not meet up -- chances are -- they are hiding behind cleverly-doctored photos and phrases. Or even worse, they have something shady to hide.
Ambiguous Marital Status A person might be separated, but is it legal? Have they really filed for divorce? Do they still live with their soon to be ex spouse? Be sure and clarify relationship status. You would think if they have an online dating profile they are single...but it doesn't always mean so.
Pressure Anyone who pressures you to meet at their house or a non public place. Never, ever meet someone for the first (second or third!) time in a place that is not public. If the online person wants to only meet at your house or theirs -- RUN!
Request for Money or Risqué Photos This may seem a no brainer, but there are some manipulative sharks out there. Someone may tell you how beautiful you are and load you with compliments and tell you they want to see more - but since it’s not in person, it’s harmless right? Wrong! Never ever send risqué photos of yourself to anyone you don’t know. Never ever give money to anyone you meet online. Regardless of the sob story they tell you. I assure you, the story is fake and they will disappear as soon as they have your cash.
Chances are you may never run into any of the above scenarios. However, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t warn you. You have to be aware and be in control of your life and your interactions with others. Especially ones you don’t know. That being said...often times a friend is a stranger we have yet to meet. Have fun and make new connections. Have fun with the new folks you meet, just remember to keep your brain on.
Marina Sbrochi holds a degree in English Literature from The Ohio State University and is the IPPY Award winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life. Marina lives with her family in Dallas where she is a dating consultant. Connect with Marina on Facebook and Twitter.