If you are single and hoping not to be forever, chances are you have at least dabbled in online dating. Tips and red flags for your success and safety, however, are often late to the game, leaving you vulnerable to both hurt and danger.

Since the early days of online dating, the rate of hacked accounts, scams and flagrant misrepresentation have dramatically increased. You wouldn’t be the first trusting and well-intended single person to wonder if the effort is even worth it, let alone safe.

Woman using online dating tips red flags to safely date online

When it comes to online dating tips/red flags, there are those radar-busters that are really just irritants, under-qualifiers and reasons to swipe left. Then there are those for which you should always be on high alert and that you should not ignore. Ever.

Online dating sites protect themselves by seeming to protect you. They will remind you never to wire money and to always meet in a public place first. And they will tell you to block and/or report any profile or message that is inappropriate or seems suspicious.

They won’t, however, tell you how to recognize a scam or a potentially dangerous person. They won’t tell you to read between the lines, to trust your gut…and to be so confident in who you are that you don’t let desperation cloud your thinking. Online dating tips, red flags and regrets are left to dating experts and those who have “learned the hard way.”

It is imperative to remember that everyone wants to be seen in the best possible light. And when there is a fixed number of spots for photos and a limit on how much one can write, you can bet there is going to be a lot of crafty fibbing. Outright lies, even. A nip and tuck here, a few years off there, a thick layer of self-aggrandizement over the whole thing, and voila! The perfect match!

And that’s just the “innocent” stuff. The online dating scene has a dark underground of heartless manipulators whose sole intention is to capitalize on the most vulnerable and romantically reactive members. As we explore online dating tips/red flags, keep in mind that they can all be summed up in this one piece of advice:

BE SMART!

Keep your head in front of your heart, at least until you know someone well. Read between all the lines of a person-of-interest’s profile and messages. And keep a firm hold on who you are, how you deserve and expect to be treated, and what you are looking for in a relationship. Desperation has no place in dating, and definitely no place in cyber-dating.

If you are genuinely motivated to marry and are in a place to both give and receive in a healthy way, then approach your screening thoughtfully. Consider how a person’s self-presentation may actually speak to deeper tendencies. After all, if you have essentially one screen on which to “sell your brand,” wouldn’t you give it your all to ensure the greatest possible success?

[Recommended Reading – Why Hire A Dating Coach To Help You Find Lasting Love?]

A person who can’t be bothered with assembling a complete and polished profile may really be saying that he or she can’t be bothered with the work involved in building and sustaining a long-term relationship.

And if the person spends 2000 characters expounding on workouts and physical appearance, you should ask yourself if your deepest values would even be given a once-over if the two of you started dating.

Here are some online dating tips/red flags you should not ignore:

When it comes to online dating tips/red flags, there are always more with varying degrees of severity. So much of online dating warrants nothing more than a head shake, an eye roll and a left swipe. But there is always risk involved when you are exposing your desire for a romantic relationship, let alone on the worldwide web.

Above all else, look out for yourself the way you would look out for your mom, sibling or best friend. Be smart. Be patient. Be thorough. And always trust your gut.

PS: If you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels with online dating and finally find your true love, then download my FREE online dating checklist. See how you stack up with your online dating profile. Make sure you’re putting your best self forward!

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