Ask Liz

Elizabeth Chapa arts and entertainment editor
Elizabeth Chapa
arts and entertainment editor
[email protected]

Q: I met this girl online, and we have been talking for a couple months now. We talk on the phone all the time, but we have not yet met in person. She keeps flaking on me whenever we make plans; it just seems weird to me. I am starting to get feelings, but I just do not know where to go from here. What should I do? 
A: Although meeting online is convenient to do, everyone needs to be aware of how dangerous it can be.
It is common for people to lie and make fake accounts to talk with people. Sometimes it may be pretty fun for someone suffering from boredom, but sometimes it can be a serious threat. Be mindful that the capabilities of online people are endless. I am sure you have heard some wild stories about an online dating meeting going completely wrong, and they are not myths. It can happen to anyone. It is so easy for a person to lie online, and that is what is so dangerous.
A good way to make sure this person is truly who she says she is, is to attempt to skype or FaceTime her. If she refuses to do so, consider if you two should stop talking, as it is possible that she is not who she says she is. On the other hand, she may not want you to see what she looks like and is insecure. Try discussing why she does not want to meet face to face. If you tried to discuss why and it is still not going anywhere, try discussing if it is something she is concerned about.
Meeting someone online does not always have to be a dangerous matter. I have experience meeting someone from an online meeting site, and I did end up going out with him. Yet, the only way I felt okay going was because we discovered that we knew and had mutual friends. Had I not known that, I may not have met him.
If you eventually meet her, be aware of where and what time you are meeting and whether or not other people will be around. These are all factors you need to keep in mind and be sure of. Mention bringing someone with you and note her reaction. If they seem weird about it, question if it is a good idea to go on with meeting them. Make sure someone knows where you are going and who you are with. You do not want to go without anyone knowing; be smart and cautious.
Also, have a back up plan as to how you will get out of the meeting if the face to face meeting goes south. With that, have a respectable excuse that explains why you are leaving sooner than planned. Be smart about online meetings if you do continue to meet people over the Internet. Use your best judgment, and always be alert.