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Social networking sites, like, are the hottest places today to keep in touch with old friends and make new ones—including hot local singles. The online social networking websites allows registered members to search for just about anyone and usually find just who they're looking for. Many people have discovered how easy it is to use and have fallen in love with the concept of finding and meeting new friends on the net. The potential to meet singles and start relationships is practically limitless.

Unfortunately, there have been a few instances of dates turning sour. Again, due to its popularity, the MySpace site is not immune from this. In fact, is starting to get a bad reputation as a dating site. The fact that you can meet just about anyone online and form friendships quickly leads site visitors to believe that everyone on MySpace is a great person. The fact of the matter is there are good and bad people everywhere.

For example sake, lets take a quick run down on the MySpace site to see how it could happen. MySpace profiles allow members to elaborate on their best features, with the addition of pictures, friends' comments and even blogs. It is possible to feel connections with members from the moment you read their profiles. This false connection can lead to a false sense of security.

So how can you use social networking sites, like, as a dating site and remain safe? It is simple. Just use common sense when meeting and getting to know the person. Being safe when dating someone you meet in the virtual community is no different than going on a blind date. Whether you are meeting someone from MySpace, answering a personal ad in the local newspaper, responding to an ad on a more popular mainstream dating site, or meeting your best friend's brother, you should practice the same safety precautions.

It is important to remember that no matter where you are meeting someone, they could be good or they could be not-so-good.

Meet in a public area.
Your online date should agree to meet you in a public area. You should expect to have transportation to and from the initial meeting and don't reveal your home address to your date. Once you meet for a few dates and you feel comfortable with the new person, you can make your contact information public if you like.

Trust your gut instinct.
There is a profound difference between butterflies in your stomach and your gut instinct telling you something is amiss with your potential date. You can let the butterflies flutter away, but you should never ignore your gut feelings about someone. If you feel there is something wrong, cancel the date or end it early.

Tell a friend.
Before setting out on your first few dates with your new single friend, tell a few real-life friends the good news. Let your friends know where the two of you are meeting and your expected time back from the date. More than likely, your friends will love hearing about the encounter and you will feel confident knowing someone will be expecting you to return during a certain timeframe. That way, if you are very late returning, your friend can check in on you.

Watch your drink.
If you decide to meet your online date for drinks, do keep an eye on your drink. Date rape drugs are easy enough to slip into a drink; they are odorless and tasteless. Try to time your restroom trips to come back to a fresh drink. Being aware of this unlikely trick isn't being paranoid—it can save your life.

Observe your date and their reactions.
Everyone is different, but there are indications this new web friend could be trouble. Watch their reactions to everyday situations. Do they lose their temper quickly or often? Is the date hung up on their ex? Can your date laugh off embarrassing situations or do they become upset? Is the new person too pushy or aggressive? These reactions can tell you a side of them their online profiles may not. Keep in mind; most people are on their best behavior on the first couple of dates. If their best behavior includes anger and unhappiness, continue your search for the perfect match.

Just remember, you might message with the people online and feel as though you are more familiar with them than someone from a personal ad in the newspaper, but you aren't until you meet them in real life. Use your common sense and everything you know about dating safety to make sure you truly enjoy your new online friends.

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