In part one, we looked at the importance of remaining anonymous, why you should always ask for a picture of your online dating prospect, and how the Holy Spirit can lead and guide your efforts.
In this final segment, we'll talk about the dos and don'ts of making phone contact as well as the all-important first date.
Tip #4: Time to Make the Call
So you're feeling comfortable enough to exchange phone numbers? One word: STOP! If you're ready to talk on the phone, that's fine--just don't hand them your home or cell number quite yet. Remember, you're only going by what you've seen and read in the incredibly anonymous world of the internet. Your best bet is to make it a pay phone. This way you can still get to know the other person better while keeping your identity secret. Plus, a pay phone gives you an excuse to cut the conversation short if things aren't working out the way you had hoped. And again, if the other party tries to pressure you into something you're not comfortable with, take a hike!
Tip #5: Going Public
By now, you're pretty comfortable about things. You've had long conversations online and by telephone, you feel like the Holy Spirit is giving you a thumbs-up, and you're ready to meet face-to-face. That's great! But there are still a few things to think about before getting together.
? First of all, always always ALWAYS plan to meet in a public place. This is extremely important. Make sure plenty of people are around--there's safety in numbers. The last thing you want is to be some place secluded if things start getting uncomfortable.
? Let a trusted friend or family member know exactly where you're going and when you'll be back. Give them all the information you have on the person you're going to meet.
? Park your car a few blocks away and walk to the meeting place. Or better yet, take a cab or bus. Remember, your secret identity is still precious. License plate numbers can be easily traced.
? Either bring a friend with you or have a friend remain close "on the sly". If things get too weird, you can always duck out together. Someone would be less prone to pursuing you if you're not alone.
? Don't make your date an all-day affair. An hour or two is sufficient. In fact, you'll probably know in the first few minutes if you want to see them again or not.
? Look for any strange behaviors. Someone who's disrespectful, inappropriate, or angers at the drop of a hat is not the type of person who exemplifies Christ, or is pleasant to be around. Also, watch for any discrepancies in what they've already told you. Is there a question they keep dancing around? A story that keeps changing? These are huge warning signs. Lastly, if you suspect that something's not on the up-and-up, try this: look at the ring finger of the left hand. If there's a tan line or indentation where a wedding band usually lies, get out of there--FAST.
Remember, if at any time during the online dating process you feel uncomfortable, you can turn around and walk away. Don't worry about hurting feelings or embarrassing someone. Your safety is much more important than that. Believe me, they'll get over it.
Tip #6: Listen to Your Heart
My nieces sing an adorable song that says, "Listen to your heart, pitter pitter pat. Your heart will tell you this and your heart will tell you that." No truer words have ever been said. And that brings us to our last tip. It's one that I'm repeating because it's so important to Christian singles: Listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit throughout. If something's wrong, He'll tell you. And if He does tell you something, don't ignore it. Christian singles can get so caught up in the whirlwind emotions of a budding romance that other things get drowned out. Again, God knows what's best for you and yes, He wants you to have it. Trust in Him, and he will guide your path.
Jason Whitney is an author and copywriter whose new book "The Christian Singles Guide to Online Dating and Matchmaking" offers an easy-to-follow roadmap to help you find God's perfect partner. To learn more, go to http://www.ChristianDatingMadeEasy.com
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