Meeting someone online and then preparing to meet them in person is one of the great experiences one can have on the internet.  Although SwaggerScan insists on verification before trust, there’s no need to break out the hazmat suit on your first date with your next online flame.  If the two of you can agree to hold off on any physical contact until you can get tested together then you should enjoy your date night free of any worry.  Use this time making sure other things check out.   Below are 5 tips to help safely transfer an online encounter to a first date:

1) Important: ‘Online Disinhibition’ is the reduction or abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions found in normal face-to-face communication when using remote electronic communications.  Avoid transferring this notion to your date night by understanding important realities.  Regardless of how many hours you two have accumulated communicating online, you don’t truly know the person you’re meeting.  TIP: Being ‘disinhibited’ during a face-to-face encounter with an online acquaintance can be extremely dangerous and you must therefore carry a sense of caution into your date.
 
2) Safety first. Once you’ve decided to go on a date with an online acquaintance, be sure to do a little digging first.  Although a background check would be ideal for such an occasion, if you haven’t done so already, perform a google search of your acquaintance’s name.  TIP: Some say that google searching your date takes the mystery and romance away from the get-to-know.  We say safety first – Always Scan Your Swagger.
3) Tell a friend.  As anticipation builds for the moment when you lock eyes with (this person from the internet), its important to maintain common sense.  To ensure safety, let a close friend know your dates’ name and also give them the location of your date.  Note: Just because you two met online does NOT mean you should trust this person.  TIP: Trust is earned through a combination of time and consistent examples of trustworthiness.
 
4) Does their story hold.   Tip: When reviewing your partner’s results, be sure to determine which STDs/STIs they tested for.  Also determine how recent their testing was done and also discover their reasoning for testing.  Their reasoning could give insight into their health habits, their approach and concept of self care.  TIP: Remember, regardless of how recent someone has gotten tested, the safest approach is scheduling a time to get tested together.
 
5) Toasting or Ghosting?  Once most online acquaintances have met in person, the results are usually polarizing.  Either feelings become more enhanced after meeting in person or one or both parties seek a comfortable way of abandoning communication.  Whichever conclusion is reached, it must be consensual and each persons privacy must be respected – both online and in person.  TIP: Don’t go deleting your dating profile until you two have become an established couple.
*Devoting a sense of strategy and caution to online dating is vital for all participants to understand.  The good news is that by using SwaggerScan’s strategy, you two can easily revisit the topic of awareness and safe sex throughout the remainder of your union together.  Remember that not all relationships workout and when they don’t workout, the only you’ll want to carry with you are the memories.  #AlwaysScanYourSwagger

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