What to do if a Tinder date goes wrong
While online dating sites and smartphone apps like Tinder may seem at best like harmless fun, and at worst the beginning of a bizarre encounter, recent cases have highlighted the dangers of meeting a stranger, and the importance of staying safe.
Hopefully, you won't encounter a Tinder Creep in real life, but if you do meet someone who isn't the Prince Charming you thought they were based on their profile, you need to know what to do.
SO, FIRSTLY, HOW DOES TINDER WORK?
Match-making smartphone app Tinder uses Facebook to create your account, using some of your photos and basic profile information. Using your geographic location via GPS, the application brings up potential "matches" for you to indicate your interest in.
With the flick of a finger, you can connect with someone who has expressed interest in you (by swiping right), and start chatting in an instant messaging format. Only users who indicate mutual interest in each other have the option to chat - saying no (or swiping left) means the rejected Tinder prospect is off your radar, and can't contact you.
ON MEETING UP
If all goes well with a Tinder match, you may want to meet up with the person.
Some things to keep in mind to help you stay safe if you decide to escalate your encounter from the online world to real life:
Get to know someone before meeting them in person.
Tell a friend you are meeting the person, and check in with them throughout your date. Let them know where you are meeting your Tinder match, and send a text or call if you decide to leave with your date.
Arrange to meet somewhere public - never in a remote location, and never at your home or apartment.
Think about making it a double Tinder date - get a friend to invite a Tinder match, too - there's safety in numbers.
Or, have a friend on standby nearby. You don't need a chaperone on your date, but having friends at a bar close to where you are meeting your date means you have a quick escape if you need one.
Use your own transportation to get there, and have your way home organised. At the end of the date, get a friend to pick you up, or take separate taxis home - you've just met this person, and don't necessarily want them knowing where you live.
If you feel uncomfortable at any stage of your date, make your apologies and leave. You don't owe the person anything, and if something doesn't feel right to you, get out of there. Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
AND IF IT GOES WRONG?
If things go south at any point on your date, afterwards you have a number of options to deal with the situation.
You can block the person on Tinder, and prevent them from contacting you again.
Before you do that, you can alert Tinder to the person and why you felt uncomfortable with them - there are three red dots in the top right-hand corner of your chat window with each match, and "Report" is one of the options.
If the person threatened or harmed you in any way, contact the police.
- Do you have any stay-safe Tinder tips?