Navigating the online dating world: Red flags and tips

There are many reasons people turn to online dating apps, as they’ve become an increasingly mainstream method of social interaction in today’s society. A lack of opportunity to meet people, a demanding job or in my case, never leaving one’s hometown can lead people to turn to an online platform. Or perhaps in your environment, every possible suitor is taken, moved away, is already an ex or is an overall hard pass. Exploring online dating can be fun, and I have learned a few things while navigating these apps. Here are some quick strategies and tips for deciphering profiles and interpreting interactions that may help your decision when considering taking an online flirtation to a more serious level.


Make sure to check their occupation. This is not for material or judgmental purposes: Most of us are not demanding our partners be doctors, lawyers or tech company moguls. Yet, there are a few things to watch out for. If they list “entrepreneur” as their occupation, ask more questions. This of course isn’t true for everyone who identifies as an entrepreneur, but when it comes to online dating sites, my collected data has shown that, more often than not, the business this entrepreneur began isn’t legal. Do not be offensive or accusatory; just creep questions about their profession casually into conversation. Any response resembling “I’m in the business of my business,” is something you might want to think about. However, “entrepreneur” is not the most ambiguous answer one can encounter. One profile I came across remains my favorite answer to what their occupation is. This man simply answered, “Occupation: Uh?”

Profile pictures containing a lot of people

Why would you use pictures of you with a group? So your potential interests don’t know which one you are? This has nothing to do with superficiality — more so to do with the reasons behind choosing a group picture, which seems counterintuitive to the goal of a personal profile. The concerns are as follows: Perhaps they feel they are unattractive and are therefore hesitant to identify themselves. Another possible reason is to display how cool they are and how much partying they do. That can be seen as trying too hard and may speak to a nature of immaturity. If you’re just looking for a good time (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that), then they’re probably a great choice, and you may want to go for it! If you’re looking for something serious, I’d take their avid promotion of the party lifestyle into consideration.

Asking for your number too quickly

If somebody you have agreed to chat with through the app does not respect your wishes to continue conversing on that platform before giving out your phone number or social media information, it might be a sign that you’re in for a bit of drama. Using an online dating app does not necessarily mean you are immediately looking for someone to be with right now. You need to go at your own pace and make your own decisions. If somebody jokes about protecting your privacy, ghost them. You didn’t promise anybody anything. Responding to somebody’s personal message is not signing a contract that you will give out personal information or meet them.

We hope these tips help you out should you choose to navigate the online dating world. Just remember: Be safe, stay smart, never meet up with somebody without letting a friend or family member know and never let other people’s opinions stop you from a new experience.

Contact Morgan Saltz at [email protected].

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