Like it or not, Facebook seems to be here to stay. Google the phrase “we’re too connected on the internet” and you’ll find a whole host of people who wonder if, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, G+, YouTube, Yelp, Reddit and so on, we’re more connected to each other than we fully realize. Is it too paranoid to question how, unbeknownst to us, this kind of over-connectivity can be detrimental to our daily lives? Anyone else smell a Skynet-style catastrophe in the making?
With Facebook’s inescapable omnipotence comes a relentless ream of business service apps that are willing to capitalize on the social platform’s apparent online monopoly. The latest in a long line of product cash-ins, the new Facebook app Bang With Friends allows Facebook friends to “get togetha”. Understandably, the tackiness of this apps inception has earned itself an outpouring of online criticism. The religious community has been equally outspoken, outraged and appalled by its contentious conception.
Yet another offshoot of this getting-to-know-your-FB-friends-in-the-Biblical-way idea comes in the form of TrintMe, which boasts a ‘take friendships further’ tagline. A UK version of BWF, called Would Love 2, is attempting to do the same thing, with the similar tagline of ‘taking the rejection out of dating.’ WL2, however, focuses more on dating as opposed to a simple one-off hook up, without seeming as openly vulgar in its origin. However, there is a steady increase in the presence of the online dating world, with sites such as OkCupid, Match.com, Cupid.com, PlentyOfFish, eHarmony, et al. There is also a solid growth in apps such as Bang With Friends, and both Zoosk and Are You Interested? have thousands of users.
If you are thinking of dipping your toes into the world of online dating, here are some basic yet essential safety tips that everyone should remember when going on a first date. The first is the most important to keep in mind:
Tip 1. Meet in a public place, preferably with a friend in tow. If you pick somewhere out in the open, such as a coffee shop, your friend can stay hidden away at a nearby table, where they can make sure things are going well and that you are safe. As the old adage goes, there’s safety in numbers if the date becomes unpleasant or disagreeable. Never meet someone in their home (or invite them over to your place either), no matter how well you think you know them from talking online in the initial steps of online dating.
Tip 2: Wherever you meet, and no matter how nervous you feel, DO NOT drink alcohol. Things can only go wrong if you need to use drinking as a coping mechanism, as well as possibly making the situation even more awkward and disastrous. Alcohol typically makes everyone a bad judge of character, and can seriously impair the senses. Please stay sober and stay safe.
Tip 3: Driving to and from the date is vital because it means that you can leave if you feel uncomfortable in the presence of your date. If they have picked you up from your house (which is also discouraged because your date now knows where you live!), it is up to them if they want to drive you home. If the date goes awry, they can refuse to give you a ride home, which will only exacerbate the situation. Don’t relinquish control by getting a ride with them, as it forces you to rely on someone else entirely.
Tip 4: If, for some reason, you choose not to take a friend with you, tell a few people where you are going, and with who. If possible, it’s a good idea to ask someone to call you during the date – let them know how things are going and that you’re out of harm’s way. By doing so, you create a handy get-out clause, where you can pretend that an emergency has arisen and you need to leave immediately.