SWIPE RIGHT: DATING APPS 101
Technology has made it a lot easier to communicate and find dates, but digital communication has its own unique challenges.
People choose to use dating apps for many reasons and it is important to communicate and be direct about what you are looking for while you are on the app. Here are some harm-reduction tips to help you stay safe if you decide to meet someone new:
Restrict communication to the app, and consider using a pseudo-phone number (such as Google Voice) instead of your real one.
Consider making your profiles private, and not linking your phone number to any of them. You may also choose to use different photos for dating profiles and social media accounts so that they can’t be found through Google Images, for example.
Meet in a public area during the daytime.
Consider also sending them a screenshot of your date’s profile, and sharing your location with them from your phone. Feel free to also get a second opinion if you think something doesn’t feel right. At the end of the day, trust your gut!
If you need to make a quick exit, you will have to have a plan in place and if things don’t go well, you might not want them to know where you live.
Ultimately, you have the right to do what you want to do to make yourself feel safe. You also have the right to use dating apps and not be subjected to harm. Many dating apps have community guidelines, so if someone isn’t respecting you, it is okay to report their profile.
If you are being stalked, harassed, or are thinking about filing for a Restraining Order, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Call the 24-hour number at 706-542-7233 (SAFE) to speak with a confidential advocate from RSVP.
Intended for quick and simple messages, texting can be great for flirting, confirming, dinner plans or sharing photos. At the same time, it often causes confusion when trying to have serious conversations. The main drawback to texting is that it does not include context clues like body language, facial expressions or tone of voice to help understand exactly what the sender intended to convey. For this reason, we think serious conversations about sexuality and relationships are best had face-to-face.
The most important tip to remember when texting is to always try and provide as much context as possible, because the person on the other end of your text cannot read your mind. If that means you need to send a GIF or emoji to help you express yourself more accurately, then do it. Texting can be frustrating and take an emotional toll when there are misunderstandings, so be direct and so people don’t have to guess what someone is trying to say.
Adapted from: UC Davis Student Health & Counseling Services. (n.d.). Let’s talk about it! A guide to consent and successful communication. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R_gmvsjtuP0GFF-rI0H6L_o5h2oXqaoC/view