I originally had two "sequels" planned for the first thread but I think this second part will wrap it up.
Initially, we talked about things such as not giving out too much personal information right away, etc. I would like to know what your guidelines are for when you've finally decided to go out and be in a situation where you will be alone with that person for the first meeting. What kinds of precautions do you take, if any? And, I am certainly not trying to make it sound like all potential dates (men especially) are predators. But even a seemingly "nice" person can become aggressive or even criminal if they feel rejected or as if they are not getting what they want.
I just think it's very important for people to be aware so that they can make smarter decisions for themselves.
Here are some possible discussion questions, but feel free to add and answer your own:
1. Do you let someone know you're meeting someone? Where and when will you meet? Do you have a "backup plan" in case things don't go as you planned? What if distance is involved? How do you know it's "safe" to visit someone a few hours or plane ride away?
2. What if you think you've met a wonderful person... but upon meeting, it's obvious things aren't going to work. How do you handle "letting them down", especially if you've been talking/texting/Skyping quite frequently? How do you suddenly drop it all and ask that person to exit your life without them beginning to stalk you?
3. If you are the one the other person wants to let go, do you back off right away? Or do you try to hold on, hoping the other person will change their mind? How do you know when to just let go and let them be?
4. What tips and advice do have for others when it comes to meeting with someone in person?
In my own life:
+ Ladies, I would strongly advise you NEVER to take up an offer to help you move into a new place UNLESS you've known the person extremely well in person for some time, and even then. I have heard so many stories of sexual assault that takes place when someone offers to "help you move" that I personally and strongly discourage it. If you need help, please, look to people you know without a shadow of a doubt you can trust or else hire a professional business. I know it can be expensive but your safety is worth it.
Oddly enough... and I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but... I've been on two Christian dating sites for several years, and when I wrote in my profile, "Soon to be arriving in (city near my new location)" but with no specific time frame, I had two offers to "help me move and show me around." I am NOT saying either person was a criminal... but when I declined the offer for help with my move, I never heard from either one again.
+ Although I've done long-distance situations, I've never had one in which I met someone online that involved a distance requiring a plane trip. I'm not quite sure how I'd handle that one--how about all of you? I do know that I would ask the person to visit me first so that I'd have the safety of my own surroundings. I would hope a gentleman would respect that, and I would split or match his costs. (For example, if he paid for a plane ticket, I'd pay the same amount toward his other travel costs.)
+ If I do meet someone I've been talking to online, here are some of my personal tips. I always make a first meeting a lunch date during the day, and I always give a specific time frame. For example, I'll say, "Sure, I can meet for lunch at 12:30, but I'm meeting my family/friend around 5:00." Again, I'm not trying to sound like every man is a predator but this lets a person know that someone is expecting me and will come looking for me if I don't show up. This will hopefully thwart any plans to say, toss me into a van and drive off.
If you get along smashingly well, you can always let your family/friend know and reschedule with them so that you can spend more time with your date. But if things aren't going so well, it also gives you a way out of a possibly uncomfortable situation. I developed this strategy after once going to lunch with a very nice guy who wanted to spend the entire rest of the day and late into the evening with me (he wanted to go to Chicago, 2 1/2 hours away) and we were having a hard time finding things to talk about during our initial hour lunch. He seemed like a great person but we simply had nothing in common.
+ If I'm with someone and we do go anywhere else, such as a movie, etc., I try to make sure I drive my own vehicle so that I am never dependent on the other person for a ride. I let a friend know of my plans in advance, and leave any info I have about the person with my friend. I will also at some point excuse myself to go to the restroom to text my "safety person" that I'm ok, and if need be, have that person text me during the date. I will politely excuse myself and make a quick answer that I'm all right, and then focus all my attention back on the other person. I won't take any other texts or calls during that time except for my "safety check-in."
I know some of these behaviors might come off as rude but I try to be as polite and open as possible. I would hope the guy would understand that a single woman has to look out for herself, and that he would want his mom, sister, etc. to take the same measures if she were dating, too.
There are also always exceptions--there is a nice-sized group of regulars here on CC, and I would meet any one of the particular group I'm comfortable with, male or female, for dinner or without many of my usual precautions. I'm pretty sure that any one of them would also understand. That's why I call them friends.
How about all of you? As you can imagine, some guys have told me I'm paranoid or will say something like, "Well, I'm actually a grown-up so I don't have to go around thinking the worst of everyone around me," but I just this as a sign that they are someone I'm not supposed to meet.
If Eleazer could pray that the right girl he was to find for Isaac would water his herd of thirsty camels, surely I can pray that the right people in my life will understand why I want to be careful about my safety and would even encourage it.
May all of you be safe in your endeavors, and please be sure to share your stories and advice.