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Is it a red flag if a guy online refuses to give out his contact information before meeting in person?

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Question - (29 October 2016) 3 Answers - (Newest, 30 October 2016)
A female United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

Is it a red flag if a guy online refuses to give out his contact information before meeting in person? I found this one guy online who seems to be exactly my type. We exchanged a few messages (he started the conversation) and then he asked me out for a drink. I couldn't go that day, but I told him another time would work and gave him my number and email. I didn't hear from him for a week, sent him another message, and he replied saying he's been busy preparing for Halloween. He thanked me for my contact info, but said he would prefer to communicate via the website until we met in person.

I figured maybe I was too forward and should have waited, but now I wonder why he won't give out his until after we meet. Maybe he is afraid of stalkers, but I like to learn a little more about them before meeting (I always search their email addresses and the photos they post. . .one guy was using a state senator's photo). Everything I read online says you should talk on the phone at least twice before meeting in person.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (30 October 2016):

Honeypie agony auntHave you done a reverse image search? Or did he have NO images on his profile?

If he had no images on his profile, I'd be a bit wary honestly. Because THAT to be is a bit of a red flag. Either he doesn't think he is attractive or he is NOT putting a picture up because he doesn't WANT t obe checked out (as in.. he is either married or in a relationship already)

And then there is the whole not getting back to you for a whole week, that doesn't sound like someone who is ALL that interested. If Halloween was SUCH a big deal for this guy, why not wait till AFTER Halloween to go look for a date? He is, after all, a GROWN man, not a pre-teen. Unless he runs or works a Haunted House, has 3 kids and an ex-wife ? Still, not contacting you for a week makes me think he is either talking to a LOT of ladies or he isn't all that serious.

However, with ALL that said, I don't find it a red flag that he doesn't WANT to give out personal info till after the first date. I actually think that is a rather smart move. Let's say he contacts a woman and they get on well at the dating site, but he discovers she is kinda nutty on the first date, and she WON'T take no for an answer when it comes to further contact.... It happens to men too. KEEPING your information SAFE is important.

If you DO meet up for drinks, don't get into a car with him. Make sure someone knows where you are at and call them AFTER the date is over. Maybe go for a lunch date on a Saturday/Sunday over a night out for drinks.

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A female reader, like I see it United States +, writes (30 October 2016):

like I see it agony auntBy itself I wouldn't think much of it - it's entirely possible he has had a bad experience in the past with someone he met online refusing to leave him alone even though they turned out not to be compatible.

The disappearing act is weird, though, and as CindyCares pointed out "preparing for Halloween" is a silly excuse. Unless he's Heidi Klum's event planner, getting ready for Halloween should not take up every spare moment of his time for a week to the point that he cannot return a message on a dating site from a woman he was interested enough in to initiate contact with.

Something that WOULD get in the way of timely replies to a woman he's pursuing? Not being single. That could explain a lot, such as why only the time HE picked worked to go get drinks, why he disappeared for a week with a flimsy explanation, and why he won't give you his number or even his e-mail address. E-mail in particular is harmless as many people nowadays have more than one address. I probably wouldn't give someone I hadn't personally met my main "professional" email address, but I'd have no problem giving out the one I use to sign up for newsletters, coupons and so on. And I would still get notifications for all the messages directly to my phone. Where there's a will (or interest), there's a way.

Can you find him on social media? If I were you I would try to do a little more sleuthing before getting too invested in the idea of this guy. Something just isn't adding up.

If you are unable to find out anything further, just tell him sorry, but you're not comfortable meeting an online stranger without some form of positive contact other than chat messages on a dating site. If this is your usual safety precaution, I see no reason why you should compromise that for someone you've never met - who could be literally ANYONE behind a computer screen.

Hope this helps. Good luck and best wishes!

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (30 October 2016):

CindyCares agony aunt I'll leave the answer to your question for other DearCupiders, - there are different school of thought about this anyway.

What would be a red flag for ME , or at least a sign that he is going to waste my time , is that he did not get back to you in a week ( was probably not going to do it...)because .. he was busy preparing for Halloween ??! Preparing what . His excuse would only make sense if he were a kindergaten teacher . Or a Wiccan priest.

Otherwise it is the equivalent of the classic " I can't go out with you because I am going to wash my hair ".

Sign of a very lukewarm interest. Or , of looking just for spontaneous, unstructered hookups .

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