It may sound a little odd, but in many ways a sports social network has more in common with a modern dating website than a standard social network. The reason being that while 99% of all contacts and ‘friends’ made via Facebook for example remain virtual, sports social networks are all about putting meaningful connections into action. You create a profile, you find others that share your interests and you get together with them to play the sports of your choosing – aside from the reason for meeting up, it really is a lot like online dating!

Of course the similarities don’t stop there either as just as is the case with online dating, there are certain strict rules to follow when it comes to meeting new people for the first time. According to the experts at Sports Codez, the likelihood of getting into trouble are genuinely tiny to say the least, but as there will always be the odd ‘bad apple’ in with the bunch, you have to keep your wits about you.

Common sense will always win the day – here’s a quick guide on staying safe when meeting new people via a sports network:

1 – Look for Larger Gatherings

First and foremost, there is of course something inherently safer about meeting up with a group of say 10 other football players than heading out to meet just one person on their own. This of course isn’t to say that one-on-one meetups can’t be excellent and aren’t highly recommended, but when getting started it’s sometimes reassuring to try the group thing first. Chances are you’ll strike up some amazing friendships within the group and can them move onto smaller or individual meetings if you choose to.

2 – Avoid Night Time Meetups

It’s not always possible to meet up during the day due to working schedules and whatnot, but for obvious reasons there’s a much comfort to be taken from meeting during hours of daylight. When this is impossible, as it often is, be sure to only ever agree to meet in areas that are well lit up and not too out of the way. It’s not a case of being paranoid about everyone you plan to meet up with, but rather one of looking after your own interests and doing what’s right for your personal safety.

3 – Beware Unusual Requests

If any of those you’re looking to meet up with make any requests that seem odd, proceed with extreme caution. For example, if they want to meet in a place that’s got absolutely nothing to do with the sport you’re planning to get stuck into, you might want to rethink. Or if they want to meet at a strange hour of the night for no apparent reason, it’s again wise to think carefully about whether to continue.

4 – Stick to Public Places

The number-one rule that accompanies all such activities where meeting new people is involved is that of making sure you meet in a public place. Generally speaking, this is the very best and indeed the only way of ensuring that those you are meeting with are 100% above board and are in it for the same reasons as you. And that’s why 99.9% of people will always be more than happy to meet in public places, or will in fact insist on doing so. Those who insist on anything to the contrary may be best avoided for the time being.

5 – Take Someone With You

Another of the cardinal rules with regard to meeting new people is of course that of making sure you take somebody along with you. Even if they don’t intend to participate and have no intention of sticking around for the whole session, it’s still good to have them there in the first instances to make sure all is as it should be. If this is impossible at any given time, it’s worth giving thought to rescheduling.

6 – Listen To Your Gut

Last but not least, no matter what the information on the screen tells you or how genuine your new buddy seems to be, never ignore that gut feeling if it tells you that something is wrong. Of course in most instances this will be a rather false-alarm to say the least, but there will always be those times when your instincts know what’s best for you and tell you to a) proceed with caution or b) proceed no further. And if you’re still on the fence, ask a friend for their input.