Stay safe online when making friends, dating or business networking


Coffee shop style

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So much of our lives have become intertwined with the online world that I think it's easy to forget there are some real dangers out there as well as having a false sense of safety, especially when platforms like Instagram and Facebook can make you feel like you know someone personally when in fact you have never met and possibly know very little about what they are really like and this can leave you open to a variety of dangers from personal safety to fraud, spam and blackmail to name a few.

This post is in no way trying to put you off making meaningful connections online, so of my closest friends in real life are the ones I met online first and I think there are some great platforms for meeting like-minded people and broadening your social group and helping with things like loneliness and parenting.

Many of us use social media and the online world in a variety of ways, I myself have met up with potential work clients for coffee from connections we have made online and the majority of dating is done from Apps and a uk free dating site these days because it's easy and convenient and the digital world is very much apart of our real world. But as always we still need to be sensible and have safety in mind at all times. So here are a few tips you should always implement when meeting someone online.

1. Don't give too much personal information away

While we want to make meaningful connections, don't give too much personal information away upfront. Rather start off with a vague bio such as your favourite hobbies. Never been to specific on where you live, rather give your closest city or large town than anything more identifiable than that, also don't mention the company or business you work for in the early stages as initially is always better to air on the side of caution.

2.  Use the right apps

Different apps have different levels of security measures to ensure the person you are speaking to is real. As I said above you don't want to give too much personal information to someone right off the bat as you can make yourself more vulnerable towards being scammed in some way. You also need to use common sense and if someone's profile has very few photos or friends and just don't feel right or add up then best to follow your instinct, you could also do basic checks like an image search which you can do easily from your phone and can tell you if their profile image has been lifted from somewhere else.

If you're looking for more than just friends and want to try dating there are some really secure sites such as match me happy which has a strong infrastructure and AI technology to help keep people safe.

coffeeshop date

3. Meet in Public Places

I have made a few work connections over the year, and have met up with clients for coffee but still have always applied the same rules to if you are dating or meetings an online friend in real life for the first time. Meeting in public for the first time is always the safest option and is a good starting point when finally coming face-to-face and getting to know the person not the profile. It's also always a good idea to make your own way there and if things are not going as expected you can either by upfront or make an excuse and always let a family member or someone you trust know where you are.

4.  Avoid Scammers

Despite most of us being pretty digital savvy, once you start to develop an online relationship whether as friends, work colleagues or romantically you still need to be aware of the following

1. Declarations of love or being best friends, if this is done within a matter of weeks (or even days) then alarm bells should be going off. While it's not impossible to have strong feelings for someone quickly it can also be the start of someone trying to take advantage of you so proceed with caution.

2. Requests for money - surprisingly a lot of people get scammed, after making a meaningful connection the person will then often try to gain sympathy to get you to hand over some money. While you can offer support do not give money to people you don't know if real life as the likelihood of getting back is slim.

3, Blackmail - don't be tempted to send any personal images that may be used against you or that you don't want the public to see. Some scammers try to get money out of people for not sharing images or personal information.

5. Follow your instincts

If it seems to good to be true it probably is and I always say it's best to go with your gut feeling about someone. If you don't feel comfortable or something just isn't right then remember you don't have to carry on with the relationship. You can be honest and upfront and if they don't like it or start using mean words you can always block them.

As I said before I have many friends I've made online first that are now really good friends to me in real life so don't let this put you off, rather use it as a guide to staying safe as with anything like this is can be better to air on the side of caution initially until you get to know someone better.

pretty coffee


  1. I think all young adults should be made to read this post! I definitely always think it's important to trust your gut instinct - it's something I have come to depend on more and more as I've got older. xx

    1. Thanks Lauretta, I agree it's so important to trust your instincts

      Laura x

  2. Self instincts are very much reliable, also yeah I agree that we should use our common sense. A lot of people, maybe all people, were drawn to internet nowadays so we are all prone to scammers online so we really need to think twice before doing anything. This is such a very helpful post, hoping many could read this and have a self reflection on some things they might have done wrongfully.

  3. we all need to use common sense and follow a few rules of meeting in public etc..


  4. We have lost the ability to act belly-up. To move based on our instincts. Of course the head is important, but the heart is also important. We should go back to listening to it.

  5. Very informative - especially the bit about trusting your instincts. I feel like our generation is really lucky to be tech-literate so it's easy to spot a scam just using our guts. Unfortunately, I think the older generation struggles a lot with this and that's why they're always victims.

  6. Yes! I tell my kids the same things. You never know who the person on the other side truly is.

  7. My husband and I met online and we always joke about what if one of us had been a catfish. Luckily it all worked out and we were both who we said we were!

  8. The internet really is the best and worst of all things. I am always super careful when giving away information online. Some scammers are very obvious but sometimes it is harder to see through. Great advice!

  9. Very good information here. This is all very important to remember when working online.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  10. Yes! This is very information and important to know. There are many ways that make the Internet not safe and we do have to use our gut feeling.

  11. yep, there is a lot of negative stuff that goes online and you're absolutely right, we should all be careful and smart about what we do online.

  12. I had a stalker for one year. I didn't even meet the psycho. But she was mad at me because I didn't like a YT video and I had a opinion... Yeah, we have to be careful online.

  13. The internet can give people a false sense of security. I have seen so many younger people break all of these rules. And then when approached about it, their answer tends to be, "oh, it's fine, don't worry about it." It is kind of scary to see people who don't take the dangerous parts of the internet seriously.

  14. The internet can be a very dangerous place for young kids . You have got some very good points in your post like "follow your instincts" which is what I always do . It is quite scary when you put any information about yourself and you do not know where it is going to end up.

  15. There are so many catfish out there, especially on dating sites. I have read horror stories of older people who got scammed of so much money because they believed in online love. It's always important to be vigilant when using online dating websites.

  16. I wish all young adults could read this. Common sense coupled with being cautious is key.

  17. Everyone who has access to the internet should be taught about internet safety. The internet can be a source of information but also can be so dangerous and murky

  18. I agree with you. Lets use this time to our advantage and make use of technology to be productive!

  19. People are so programmed to share their locations in a bid to show the world. Social media is a culprit in this situation


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