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Stranger Danger: Online Dating & The Red Flags

We’ve all probably had our fair share of dating apps experience, be it our own or swiping left/right on our best friend’s app. And…. being catfished. Whether you were the catfish or were catfished, dating online is never as it seems due to the control you have over the profile you put out there and persona curated. While a little catfish may seem harmless, some profiles can be part of a bigger danger. While we don’t want to be that negative Nancy, we do think it’s important for you to be cautious of red flags to look out for you’re on your next online dating adventure. 

Knowing what the red flags are can protect yourself from any unnecessary drama and also avoid wasting time on people who are not worth the effort. To begin, you shouldn’t be disclosing any of your own personal information (and that includes your phone number and social media accounts) to a person whom you’ve spoken with for less than a day! You may think it’s harmless but… no scams start off with the intention of being scammed! If you are an active user on dating apps and are swiping in an attempt to find The One, please read on and pay attention to the following details. From avoiding love scams to being heartbroken, we’ve got you covered.

#1: Mysterious or dubious?

If they do not have a display picture, that is a HUGE red flag. Why should you even be wasting your time on someone who is anonymous? If he doesn’t even have the courage to put his picture out there, do you think that person will have the courage to ask you out? 

But sometimes, it’s not just a complete lack of photos that’s a red flag. There are some users who do put up photos, but somehow, you still can’t quite figure out how they look like. Photos are either blurry, group photos with no identifiable faces of our user, or even multiple individual shots but somehow… they look different in all. What’s up there, Mr/Ms shapeshifter? Be on alert for such users as you completely do not know what to expect from the other party and well, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Our take: It will be good for you to look for someone who has individual photos and also photos of their family/friends or perhaps a photo of themselves doing their favourite hobby. All these better hints at a much wholesome person than if they only had pictures of themselves only.

#2: Keep a lookout for Bios!

Think of a bio as a cover letter to a potential date. Imagine you are the HR Manager of a company, would you employ someone who did not send in their cover letter or fill in the job application form? Similarly, do you think you should even consider a person without a bio? If your potential date cannot even be bothered to fill in the bio to give you a short glimpse of who they are, then you should also not put in any effort of trying to pull that information out of them. 

With that being said, not every section of the bio on dating apps requires an essay, but a couple of sentences would suffice. It is important for yourself to know who you are dealing with before jumping the gun. You obviously do not want any unnecessary drama or argument if it turns out to be someone you may clash with.

Additional Note: If the bio has words like “Discreet”, “For Fun”, “No Strings Attached”, or anything along these lines, please stay away too, unless you are up for a roller coaster ride.

#3: We’re talking, now what?

The red flags don’t end even after your potential date passes the vibe check for the first two criteria mentioned above. You still need to keep your guard up and be aware of these tiny red flags. As they say, someone’s true personality may only reveal itself over time. 

Pick-up Lines. 

Yes, pick-up lines can be funny, and kinda cute sometimes. But do you know what he/she does? They probably Googled them on the internet and then use it with everyone whenever there is a match. Yes honey, it’s unlikely you were the first or only recipient of that flirtatious line. You can flirt back, but just a mental note to yourself to take these pick-up lines with a pinch of salt. You need to chat more with the other person to know more about their personalities.

Talking About Their Ex(s) Too Soon.

If you don’t already know, it is taboo to be talking about past relationships too early. It gives off the signal that “I’m not fully over my ex”, and you probably should take a step back and reconsider your decision again. Are you sure you want to be a rebound?


Too rude. Too direct. Conversations got too sexual too quickly. As long as you feel uncomfortable with where the conversation is heading towards. you can always choose to unmatch the person at any point in time. Don’t feel bad about ‘ghosting’ the person or being rude. The boundaries were crossed and nothing is more important than learning how to respect each other. 

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of red flags you should beware of. Everyone will encounter their own fair share of bad experiences on dating apps. Ultimately, it is your own duty to protect yourself from any potential online threat. Always stay alert and keep your guard up, until you’ve spent sufficient time with the other party. If you know someone who needs this piece of advice or is often on dating apps, don’t forget to share it with them! 

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