Provo is infamous for it’s dating culture and scene, and dating is not only easier, but also riskier due to online dating apps.
Many young adults find their dating life on apps such as Tinder, Mutual, and Bumbl, but with this comes the possibility of unsafe dates and negative situations.
“I didn’t have any cell service, we were out there by ourselves, there’s nobody out there and I was super uncomfortable,” said Ashley Coombs.
Many young women that use dating apps have similar stories as Ashley. Her date lied about where he was taking her.
“I’m texting my friend, I need you to call me and tell me some excuse, something I have to come home for,” Ashley said.
Her date finally agreed to take her home, but then continued to watch her. “My options at that point were I can unmatch him, but he still knows my name, he still knows where I live.”
To ensure safety, Mutual has implemented several procedures on its app. “We’ve added more features like anonymous reporting, blocking, and profile verification,” said Jackie Welling, an employee of Mutual.
Some of Mutual’s guidelines include: ask them to verify their profile, meet in a public location, let a friend or family member know where you’re going, stay alert and aware, and always go with your gut.
“Common warning signs are asking for money, inappropriate behavior, and pushiness or forcefulness that makes you feel uncomfortable,” added Jackie.
For many in the dating scene, high risk means high reward. “There’s a reason we online date. This is the world we’re living in. You can access so many more people than you normally wouldn’t be able to, so it is so worthwhile to be able to meet people and potentially meet your eternal companion,” Jackie said.
Avillva Scott had the reward of meeting her husband on Mutual. “We snapchatted for a couple days prior to our date, and we actually went on a huge group date for our first date,” Avillva said.
But whatever the reward, it is important to stay safe and be smart. “Never let them pick you up, and take screen shots of their profile,” Ashley said. “Look at their Instagram or any type of social media platform,” added Avillva.
And finally, as Mutual employee Jackie noted, “Trust your instincts. If you start to feel uncomfortable or something feels off, that may be the case.”
“Trust your gut,” Ashley concluded. “You don’t owe anybody a date.”