Making connections and accessing opportunities can be daunting. To prepare you to make the best possible decisions for yourself as you go through this process we’ve put together a few tips.
Do your research:
· When participating in an event you joined, take the time to carefully review member profiles. Read what members say about them and what other members have said about them. Give yourself the time to thoroughly read through all the information available and don’t compromise. If you’re uncomfortable, keep looking.
· Before a meeting, look for vendors or members whose profiles are complete with a real name, clear photos, detailed descriptions of themselves, and if applicable their product(s) or service(s).
· When looking for or before attending an event, review the profiles of those attending and know the location, particularly if you’re in an unfamiliar area.
· Read references of vendors or members to get a sense of others’ experiences.
· What’s NOT there? Is there missing information or questions the member could answer for you that would help you get a better sense of who they are?
· Women members may prefer to be with female vendors and vice versa.
· Make sure you understand the level of privacy a vendor is offering when participating. Carefully read through My Product(s) or Service(s) Description(s) section on vendor profiles and be sure to ask questions about anything that’s unclear.
· Be sure you’re aware of cultural and religious differences, sensitivities, and general safety recommendations for each place that you go to. Gender roles and expectations can differ wildly.
Before your experience:
· Get to know potential vendors through our messaging system. Don’t give out your personal contact information until you’ve met. Keep message communication within the messaging application.
· Never give out your phone number or email address to a new person until you meet and feel comfortable with them. Use only the website to communicate. Confirming where you go and keep all communication on Pellea helps our Trust and Safety team identify issues and react quickly.
· Make sure you have a plan to communicate with friends and family and have identified other options once you arrive. Will you have a computer? Will your mobile phone work?
· Ask questions! Have conversations! You’ll know what to expect (and so will your vendor), and you’ll likely both be more at ease when you meet.
· These initial conversations will tell you a lot. If anything about your interaction makes you uncomfortable, look for a different vendor or member.
· Know your options. If something doesn’t work out with the vendor, or if they misrepresented themselves, make sure you have an alternative. Have a backup vendor in place before you go. If possible, research the vendor’s location prior to arriving, including how to get to and from there on your own.
During your experience:
· If a person, situation, or profile seems unsafe for any reason, move on. Don’t worry about seeming rude. Be clear about your boundaries and don’t be shy about stating them. If someone at an event makes you uncomfortable, leave the event or don’t attend. Communicate clearly with others and take care of yourself
· Upon meeting, spend some time getting to know the vendor or member. Do you feel comfortable with them? Is everything as you expected? If you feel uneasy or something doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts, and do what you need to do to be comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable going alone with a vendor, consider showing with friends or family.
· Get to know the “rules”
· If you feel uncomfortable for any reason with the vendor, address the situation politely and directly to see if you can find a resolution.
· Maintain your faculties. Participating can be daunting. The use of drugs and alcohol can further complicate this. Don’t leave your well-being in the hands of someone else. Know your limits.
· In any situation where you feel unsafe, threatened or in immediate danger, remove yourself, and contact the local authorities – such as police or emergency services – right away. When you’re in a safe location, report the incident to our Trust and Safety Team. All reports are confidential.
[Attn: Trust and Safety team]
After your experience:
· Use the Reference System to let other members know about your experiences with the people you meet. Be honest and clear. The other member won’t see your reference until they leave theirs, or until 14 days have passed. After 14 days, members are not able to leave a vendor reference. Please review our Reference Policy on the Acceptable Use Policy page.
· Our Trust and Safety team is here to help build the safest and most trusted community possible. Reporting safety concerns to Pellea helps keep future members safe. Confidentially report negative experiences or safety concerns here.