Recently the news has been buzzing about the Manti Te’o internet hoax. In case you missed it for some strange, odd reason, such as you were cut off from society altogether, Manti Te’o is a college football player at Notre Dame who was the victim of an internet hoax. Someone created a fake online female profile, this fake person was interesting to Manti and became his girlfriend, at least to him. However, they never met, and she never existed in real life. The “girlfriend” later died and Manti publicly mourned her death. The truth about the hoax became a national news story, leaving Te’o embarrassed and everyone wondering how could this happen?
Te’o is a local Hawaiian athlete which makes this story one that is close to home on Oahu. Te’o was a star athlete for Punahou school before attending Notre Dame. Though this story is one of sadness, deceit, lies, and heartbreak, there is much to be learned from this incident. As the world of online dating grows in popularity, many people are creating profiles both real and fake. With the plethora of dating sites you never know who will meet, unfortunately not everyone has good intentions. So to be safe you must learn to protect yourself in the world of online dating, here are some hints that may help you along the way.
- Not every profile, is actually a real person: In cyber world, anyone can be whoever they want to be. If you don’t like your own reality, it is easy to create a new reality. Behind the screen, life is what you make it. So when meeting someone online, always proceed with caution. A picture of someone is not necessarily a picture of the person who you are actually emailing, or texting with. If you are attracted by the initial picture, ask to see more. Make sure they are a variety of different pictures in different situations. Pictures can easily be copied, if you are unsure, google it!
- Google is your friend, use it! I love google. Google tells me everything I need to know about anything I need to know. Google can also be your safety net to double check information. We can all be our own personal fact checkers. If goggle doesn’t work, go to facebook, twitter, or instagram. The point is not to be a stalker or a secret CIA agent, but you do want to protect yourself and verify information. So if you have a full name (which you should after 3 conversations), google it, if you have a picture, google it, if you have a email address google that too. The more you can verify information, the safer you will be.
- If it sounds too good or looks too good to be true, yeah it probably is. If you are reading an online profile of someone who sounds perfect, and has the body of a supermodel, it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily not real, but again proceed with caution. Sure in an initial profile people usually do not throw out all their flaws. Sure they may be everything you are looking for. As you start a conversation and continue that conversation, they tell you everything you always wanted to hear, the picture seals the deal for you because they are magazine cover perfect. You say to yourself, this is “the one”. You want to meet your perfect person, however there is always an excuse as to why it can’t happen. You continue conversation, you become emotionally invested, but you never meet in real life. In that case start to think, this may be too good to be true, most times it probably is.
- Make sure you are able to meet your online crush within a time frame of two weeks to one month. With online meetings you can talk to anyone all over the world. You may be so far away that it may take time for an initial meeting. Take time, but not too much time. Emotions can run away from you fast, feelings can take their own course with someone who is only an image in our mind. Meet them in real life, so you know it this person is really worth your emotional investment.
- If anyone asks you for money, don’t run to the bank, at all. When people are meeting online, and not on an actual face to face date, no money should be involved. Scams are heavy online. If you don’t know someone in real life, they should not be asking your for money. The end.
- Trust your gut, it works for real. We all have intuition. It tells us everything we need to know. Trust it. If you feel someone is not being honest, call them out on it. Your gut will save you time, heart break, and embarrassment. No use in telling all your friends about the awesome, great person who your met online, if there is no real online person in the first place.
Online dating can be fun, interesting, and a true adventure. This article is not to discourage anyone form the possibility of meeting a mate online. However, since it can also be scary and dangerous, please use appropriate precautions, be safe, and happy dating!
For dating advice questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org