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Is it safe to meet with people you've met online?

article by ClifNotes, May 2006


Short answer: Maybe

Long answer below ...


from Clif

Is it safe to meet online people in person? My wife and I have done this twice now. The first time we did this was years ago. We met some people we'd been chatting with in IRC (Internet Relay Chat). The second time was very recently when we met with BillWebb in Florida while we were on vacation last week.


There are a few guidelines that I'll recommend when meeting people you've been introduced to online.


  1. Get a phone number and call them to verify it's a real number
  2. Meet in a public place in a good neighborhood
  3. Make sure others know who you are meeting and where the meeting is
  4. Don't meet people alone, if possible

here are some additional guidelines from a dating service


Now that I've given you these recommendations, I can tell you that my wife and I had an absolutely fantastic time meeting Bill. He took us on a tour of the Wakodahatchee Wetlands and showed us some birds and wildlife we may never have seen on our own.


Here's what Bill had to say about our rendezvous:

Many of us spend so much time on the Web interacting with other Webizens that we have cyber-friendships with folks we’ve never met. I’ve been here at Backwash for over four years, and written hundreds of columns under this and other personae. I’ve interacted with many of the folks on this site so often, for so long, that I feel as though I know them - and yet I’ve never laid eyes on a single one. The same goes for my readers at Lockergnome, and the folks who honor me by reading and responding to my blogs. We have whole relationships, trusting that the people we meet online bear at least some resemblance in person to that of their role on the Web, never knowing whether or not we are right.


That’s why it was so delightful to actually meet, this weekend, one of my online friends face to face ...


Bill Webb


read the rest of Bill's article and take a look at his beautiful pictures of our tour