When you chat to someone online -
- Stay Anonymous.
Avoid being identified online, and don't give out your real name, telephone number or street address in personal ads or during online chat. As a GuysLink member, you don't even need to give other members your real email address. Instead, they can contact you via your GuysLink email address - (in chat just tell them your membership number and location and they will be able to find you in our membership directory). When, and only when, you feel you can trust someone, ask them for their telephone number and give them yours and arrange to speak to them on the phone a few times first, before arranging to meet up.
- Be yourself.
Avoid being dishonest, or pretending to be something that you're not. If you're hoping for something long term and all goes well, it will only be a matter of time before you meet up and they find out the truth. The last thing you want at that time is for them to be disappointed and to realise that you have been dishonest.
- Take your time.
Don't rush to meet up with someone, and don't let them rush you into it. If you feel you'd prefer to get to know them better first, wait until you feel more comfortable. If things are as good as you think, they should be prepared to wait for you. It's also a good idea to chat with someone on the phone, before you meet them. This will give you a far better impression of the person you're communicating with.
- Retain Emails.
File a copy of all emails you send and those you receive then you can check back on what you've been told, and what you've previously said about yourself.
- Quit when you have to.
If things don't feel right, or the person isn't turning out as expected, don't feel obliged to carry on just for the sake of it. Ideally out of courtesy you should write a single email to the other person and politely tell them that you don't feel the two of you are compatible and you don't want to take it any further. (If they then refuse to take no for an answer, disregard any future emails from them, or use our facilities to block emails from a specific member.)
- Don't get carried away.
When you communicate with someone online, there are many things about them that you can't find out. It's very easy for your mind to fill in all these blanks with ideal assumptions, and to convince yourself that they may be near perfect. Don't let your mind play tricks on you and try to use your common-sense and be realistic. Always remember that the things you don't know about them are likely to be a mix of good and bad.
When you plan to meet someone -
- Have their phone number.
Make sure you have the person's (non-mobile) phone number and that you've used it, before you meet. This is important for your safety, as people cannot always be traced via the internet, or via a mobile phone number, but they can usually be traced using other phone numbers.
- Meet in a public place.
Always arrange for your first meeting to be somewhere public, and ideally somewhere quite popular where there are likely to be a few people around. Don't arrange to meet anywhere that you will feel uncomfortable or isolated.
- Tell someone.
If at all possible, tell someone (e.g. your best friend) what you're doing and where you're going. If that isn't feasible, leave a message on your own answering machine, describing what you're doing and including the phone number of the person you're about to meet.
- Use your own transport.
This way, if things don't work out too well, you're free to leave when you want to. If you're not taking a car with you, make sure you have enough cash to be able to afford a taxi home. If you have a mobile phone, take it with you.
- Be yourself.
Act naturally, try to be relaxed and just be your normal self. You might not be perfect, but neither is anyone else.
- Stay safe.
If you're meeting up for casual sex, be sure to take some condoms!