This headline caught my attention today: New ‘Craiglist Killer’ is 19 years old and claims to worship Satan. If you have ever sold anything on craigslist you can relate to how absolutely terrifying this following story winds up being.
I mean, so long as you don’t go on craigslist soliciting sex you should be fine, but it still makes the whole concept of meeting people randomly off of craigslist very unsettling at best.
But it opens the door to being uncomfortable about meeting anyone off of the internet. At least 1,900,000 people are using OKcupid, the online dating site, every month. This goes to show you that A LOT of people are meeting people on the internet, and then meeting them off the internet. Considering it is a dating site, there are a lot of people having sex too.
This is kinda terrifying when you think about. You could be getting ANYONE off the internet. You could be meeting the love of your life, or you might be meeting the LAST PERSON YOU EVER SEE IN LIFE. I am not going to say that you shouldn’t use OKcupid, I use it and have met people from the site, but lets all just remember that there are some crazies out there. So here are some simple tips:
1) MEET IN PUBLIC – this should not even need to be explained why this is important, but don’t meet anyone in a secluded area.
2) Have a way out of the situation – Don’t have them pick you up in their car, just don’t do it! Know how you are getting home BEFORE meeting anyone.
3) Bring a friend – Let the person you are meeting know you want to bring a friend, if they are weird about it, you have to wonder why…
4) Don’t give out your phone number until you want to – Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want, even something as simple as giving out your number. There are ways they can use this to find where you live, and that can be bad…
5) Listen to your instincts – If the situation feels weird, it might be.
6) Let somebody know where you are going to be and when you plan on being done – Self explanatory, but try not to get drunk and forget to check in with that person (guilty of that one!)
7) Get an STD test – This kinda seems a little out of nowhere, but if you wind up hooking up with somebody, it never hurts to get tested afterwards. If you are a sexually active adult you should be doing this anyways. Planned Parenthood has STD testing at most of their locations, and they are very nice people 🙂 Remember, there is no shame in getting tested, and there is no shame in testing positive for anything either. It happens, that’s why we have drugs for them.
That all being said, don’t let the scariness of the situation turn you away from meeting people from OKcupid, or the internet in general. I have met many people from the internet, and I have yet to have a bad experience. So far everyone, from OKcupid, meetup.com, and random facebook friends I didn’t know in person, have all turned out to be cool normal people.
There is no need to be fearful of meeting someone from the internet, if you are afraid don’t go, but there is every reason to be cautious. This is just one of the new ways that the world works (as I have to keep insisting to my mom), people met people from the internet. Its just a new fact of life. Take some simple precausions, and embrace it, it can be a lot of fun!