Online Support Groups can be very informative, not to mention fun, but people’s online personas are not always the same in person. And it is important to remember that thses people are strangers who, for the most part are law abiding citizens, but can be dangerous in unknown situations. So, even if you decide to attend one of those online In-person gatherings, following these basic guidelines should ensure a safe event:
1. Only Meet during the DAY in a PUBLIC place. Avoid private residences or hotels.
2. Never GO anywhere Alone, period (there is safety in numbers, go with at least 2 other people that you trust).
3. Don’t drink alcohol around people you don’t know 9if someone wants to buy you a drink, have a tea or cranberry or water)
4. And Don’t tell anyone what you will be wearing (as this will allow you a little anonymity if you feel uncomfortable and decide to leave without introducing yourself)
5. And Never tell anyone your full name, ever, period.
6. Do NOT exchange numbers with anyone you’ve just met online (wait until you get to know them for a few months, and don’t give out your home or work number, only give out a disposable cell number—it will be easier to change if there is a problem later).
7. Have Fun! Gatherings can be a lot of fun and a great way to support your online neighbors and make new contacts, but be careful of anyone who seems overly curious or behaves strangely.
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