The beautiful dark figure of a lady appears, visibly anxious, pacing around the restroom. She takes a look at herself in the mirror and thinks, “Do I look good enough, will he like me?” Then in a flash, she gets a grip of herself. “What am I thinking?” she says out loud. “Why won’t he like me? After all I am stunning.” She walks out of the rest room and emerges into the restaurant, walking as confidently as she can towards the table prepared for her prospective date and her.

On getting to the table, she sees a short, dark, bald-headed man with crooked teeth and a heavy-duty stomach. On seeing her he gets up to welcome her to the table. She hesitates and with running emotions asks, “Are you Raymond?”

He says: “Yeah, just gained a little weight.” He’s nothing like the Raymond she’s been chatting with online for over three months.

Blind date! This means different things to different people and is used by many as a catchphrase to describe meetings between people who hope to be romantic but haven’t met in person before.

Blind dates between prospective couples have led to long-term relationships and even marriage. Very often in this age of social media, we hear of people who met online and are able to build a relationship and eventually marry.

Blind dating is unconventional and because it is a relatively new concept, people need to understand the possibilities and realities that are in the world of online/blind dating.

In recent times, there have been horrifying stories of people, who meet online, (barely know each other), move in together and unexplainable things happen because ultimately strangers living together apparently isn’t always a good recipe.

Blind/online dating presents dangers and some of them may include fraud, cat-fishing (false image portrayed online, just like the story in the beginning), sexual abuse, death, robbery, blackmail and extortion (this usually happens when sensitive pictures are sent or exchanged online) etc.

For instance in 2018 in the city of Benin, A lady reportedly went out with her boyfriend who she met online (Facebook), it was their first meeting as they had never met before, and hours later she was found lifeless with her heart ripped out, and the boyfriend was nowhere to be found up until this day.

Similarly, on August 14 2022, is was reported that a lady travelled down to Lagos to meet her online lover for the first time, and on getting to Lagos, she lodged with her host at a hotel, and after a while, he requested to use the restroom, moments later, he would slump and die in the restroom. The lady was subsequently arrested for a suspected homicide.

The Lagos state’s Police Public Relations officer at the time, Benjamin Hundeyin said; “Be wary about privately meeting people you barely know. The lady travelled down to Lagos to meet up with someone she only met online.

Most advanced people (adults) cannot wrap their heads around the rave about meeting prospective dates online, like my dad when discussing this kind of issue, would say something along the lines of “what happened to all the people around you, that you are looking for a stranger online who can’t be held accountable for anything. That tells me that the person has a bad habit or character that makes him or her unattractive to the people around such a person or the person is just wayward”.

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Whistle he has a point, it is clear to me that these social media platforms give expression to the spirit of adventure that is associated with youth, hence you find that young people want to see new people, experience new things, and engage with the unknown, and love life is not excluded from this longing for adventure.

Let’s take a minute to think about the scenarios. Obviously these stories should tell anyone who desires safety and still wants to enjoy the adventure of meeting prospective dates online, that there are rules and guidelines for engagement.

This is necessary because these adventures could spell doom in the twinkle of an eye if not carefully planned to ensure safety.

Below are some guidelines for engaging in blind/online dating if you must.

Tell your family and friends where you are going, this is important because if anything goes wrong, you can be traced. And with technologies available now, you can install a tracker on your phone, so your siblings or friends would know your whereabouts at all times, and with the click of a button you can send distress signals.

· Look up your online dates, and try to get information about them as much as possible.

· Meet in a crowded place (public space) as much as possible, first meetings with prospective online partners in secret places/private areas should be avoided.

· If possible, it is advisable to go out with friends on blind dates, this will ensure safety as opposed to going alone.

· Keep your food and drinks in sight, this is very important, as we have heard stories of people being drugged and taken advantage of.

· Avoid the intake of too much alcohol on first meetings, as alcohol reduces one’s cognitive ability and keeps one in a vulnerable state.

· Trust your guts.