Online Dating- Trusting a Profile

Dating is such a hopeful, brave thing to do. We don’t think of it in these terms, but dating means looking for something good, being ready to be vulnerable with someone, vulnerable for someone. Even if you’re not looking for The One, and are simply hoping to enjoy yourself, you are hoping, and reaching out to someone to dance that dance with you. 

It’s quite common – even sensible! – to be a little nervous about dating. Especially dating online. Especially if you’re queer. There are so many other variables that complicate this simple equation of two people trying to make a connection. 

Since we put ourselves into the world, hopefully, we share ourselves with the people we’re hoping to connect with. It is important to figure out what you are comfortable sharing, but also, to know what the specific risks are! 

The queer community in South India has been rocked by a recent series of scams, where young queer men have been cheated of lakhs of rupees by men whom they met online. These young men, betrayed by men whom they trusted and loved, have received both sympathy and criticism. I don’t think blame is helpful here – the blame lies squarely upon the liars and cheats who violated their sacred trust. 

It is impossible to create relationships of love without trust. If you want to date someone, meet someone, have a partnership with someone, at some point you have to trust them! But all these stories can be scary. Besides simply not giving away your money, how do you protect yourself *emotionally*?

How can we balance the care we need to take to protect ourselves with the trust we want to show potential lovers, friends, partners? 

Dating platforms do help with this, as much as they can. Verified profiles here at AYA are verified with selfies, not with profile pictures. The AYA team looks at the submitted selfie and follows up when the submitted profile or selfie is unclear or if they have any questions. This is an active step by the team to ensure that the person behind the profile is who they say they are. 

On AYA, verified profiles are also the only ones who can reach out and initiate conversations. Unverified profiles can *respond* to messages, but the very first contact can be made only by people whose profiles are verified. This is a very gentle gatekeeping but it can make contact a little more comfortable – you have been contacted by someone who has provided some proof of openness. If you want to reach out to someone on an unverified profile, that decision lies in your hands and with your own agency. 

Of course, an unverified profile is not automatically suspect! People have the right to protect their privacy, even at the expense of having to build trust slowly. The building of trust is patient and rewarding, no matter where you start. Take your time – as fast and as slow as you need – and take care of your self. This can be a tricky balancing act, but is possible, and worth the effort. 

Online dating trusting

Dating is such a hopeful, brave thing to do. We don’t think of it in these terms, but dating means looking for something good, being ready to be vulnerable with someone, vulnerable for someone. Even if you’re not looking for The One, and are simply hoping to enjoy yourself, you are hoping, and reaching out to someone to dance that dance with you. 

It’s quite common – even sensible! – to be a little nervous about dating. Especially dating online. Especially if you’re queer. There are so many other variables that complicate this simple equation of two people trying to make a connection. 

Since we put ourselves into the world, hopefully, we share ourselves with the people we’re hoping to connect with. It is important to figure out what you are comfortable sharing, but also, to know what the specific risks are! 

The queer community in South India has been rocked by a recent series of scams, where young queer men have been cheated of lakhs of rupees by men whom they met online. These young men, betrayed by men whom they trusted and loved, have received both sympathy and criticism. I don’t think blame is helpful here – the blame lies squarely upon the liars and cheats who violated their sacred trust. 

It is impossible to create relationships of love without trust. If you want to date someone, meet someone, have a partnership with someone, at some point you have to trust them! But all these stories can be scary. Besides simply not giving away your money, how do you protect yourself *emotionally*?

How can we balance the care we need to take to protect ourselves with the trust we want to show potential lovers, friends, partners?

Dating platforms do help with this, as much as they can. Verified profiles here at AYA are verified with selfies, not with profile pictures (on other apps, sometimes a stock image is used for profile pictures, so no one knows what the person actually looks like or even that they’re not using a real photograph of themselves). The verification with selfie means that every verified profile has been seen by the AYA team, and you can reach out to them if you need to report someone (let’s hope you don’t need to!) and if you have any concerns. 

On AYA, verified profiles are also the only ones who can reach out and initiate conversations. Unverified profiles can *respond* to messages, but the very first contact can be made only by people whose profiles are verified. This is a very gentle gatekeeping but it can make contact a little more comfortable – you have been contacted by someone who has provided some proof of openness. If you want to reach out to someone on an unverified profile, that decision lies in your hands and with your own agency. 

Of course, an unverified profile is not automatically suspect! People have the right to protect their privacy, even at the expense of having to build trust slowly. The building of trust is patient and rewarding, no matter where you start. Take your time – as fast and as slow as you need – and take care of your self. This can be a tricky balancing act, but is possible, and worth the effort.

What do you think? Would you like to comment on our post?

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