MatchMaker Monkey is a fun, safe way to meet new people and we have a number of success stories from members who have found someone special online.
However, just like in the offline world, there are certain precautions you should take. Please read our tips below and our website Code of Ethics.
Above all: remember to trust your instincts.
1. Always read profiles carefully
Members of MatchMaker Monkey edit their profiles to include the information they want you to know. Your first step should be to read profiles thoroughly and if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, don't communicate with that person. If you suspect a person is located offshore please notify us immediately through mail at email@example.com .
2. Protect your privacy
While we generally recommend editing your profile to include basic information that will help us find matches for you, do NOT reveal your surname, home or email address, workplace information or any phone numbers until you completely trust the person you're communicating with. Don't feel pressured to share any details before you are ready.
3. Never reveal financial information
Under no circumstances should you give out your bank account details or offer your credit card numbers to anyone, no matter how good their reasons for asking might appear. Never send money to people you have met through MatchMaker Monkey. Please notify us immediately through mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Ask to see photos
If you've been corresponding with someone and they refuse to provide a picture (or the picture looks like it may have been 'borrowed' from a website), be suspicious. You have a right to ask for more than one photo. Check the background of any picture as well, as this can reveal more about the person.
Messaging through MatchMaker Monkey is entirely anonymous. The only way another member can learn your details is if you share them. Inappropriate language is unacceptable. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable then stop returning messages. Ask a friend to review any messages as they may pick up on something you have missed. Communicate through the site until you're absolutely ready to move onto the next step.
If the messaging has gone well and you would like to progress to the next step, phoning first is preferable before meeting.
1. Don't feel pressured to call
Call the person only if or when you feel comfortable, and remember there is no hurry to meet once you have started talking on the phone - you are not restricted to a certain number of calls first.
2. Giving out your number
Don't pass on your phone number to anyone unless you are confident you want them to call. You could offer to make contact yourself. Alternatively, you may wish to use a specific prepaid mobile phone or public phone.
3. If the calls don't go well
If you're not comfortable with the outcome of the phone calls then there is no need to take things any further.
If the phone calls have gone well and you are confident you would like to meet this person, it is an exciting time but you should still heed the advice below. You can still meet in person and have the choice to remain essentially anonymous.
1. Tell friends where and when you are meeting
Keep friends and family informed about your meeting so they know your whereabouts and when to expect your home.
2. Avoid driving to the meeting
Have a friend drop you off so they know where you are, or take public transport, so you can't be followed back to your car. If you must drive, find a parking spot that is not within sight of the venue but is still well-lit and busy. Don't allow the person to pick you up at home, and when the date is over take separate taxis.
3. Meet in a public place
Meet during the day if you can, at a location where there are plenty of other people. If you go to a restaurant or bar, never leave your drink unattended.
4. Keep your phone handy
Keep your purse or wallet and mobile phone (charged and switched on) with you at all times. You could even ask a friend to call/text during your date to find out how things are going, and have a secret signal for them to come and get you if need be.
5. Note any personal details
When the person arrives, take a quick mental picture of their car, clothes and any other notable personal details.
6. Don't feel pressured to arrange another meeting
You can always communicate again via the website, so there is no need to pass on contact details or make promises to meet again. Give yourself time after the first meeting to evaluate how it went and whether you would like to see the person again.
7. Make an exit if you feel uncomfortable
If something doesn't feel right to you, you can always get lost in the crowd and call a friend for a quick rescue. If you feel at all uncomfortable during the meeting, make your apologies and leave. If you feel threatened in any way, excuse yourself and seek assistance if required.
Sometimes a date might go further than you anticipated. If this is what you want then great! But if not, it can sometimes be hard to say no, or you may feel like you have to go through with something once it's started.
Despite how strong these feelings might be, you can stop what is happening at any time, and you don't need to apologize for it or give a reason. If it doesn't feel right to you, then stop.
Looking after your health
If you are ready to take it further, it's important to use protection. There are plenty of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) out there including HIV, and condoms protect you against almost all of them. Remember that it only takes one time to contract something, so be sure to use condoms every time. No matter what your date may tell you, the only sexual history you can be sure about is your own.
If you do slip up, it's really important to get a check-up; you can go to your local GP, or if you prefer a discrete service where you can remain anonymous, visit a sexual health clinic, Family Planning clinic.
Whether you've been on many dates with someone, or you're on the first, some people can be very persuasive in asking you to do things you aren't comfortable with.
If someone really does care about your boundaries, they won't try and coerce you into doing something you don't want to do, whether that is as simple as a kiss or as serious as unprotected sex. Always put your own health and safety first and remember, trust and consent are yours to give, not theirs to demand.
If something happens on a date which you feel was not okay, it's a good idea to talk to a friend about it.
Your happiness and your health come first, every time.