The dating world seems to have changed dramatically since the days where those looking for love, would send in their requests to the classified section of newspapers and magazines. Now it’s online dating, swiping right (or left) and flirting over text. Whatever your type may be, there’s an app or website available to help you find it. But within this new realm of dating comes added danger. As a society, we now use our phones and technology everywhere, uploading our important and sometimes private information online. So with this in mind, how can you stay safe while dating?
1. Get To Know Them
As much as we’d all like to trust people we’ve never met before, we can never really know what someone is like. The same can be said for when someone slides into your DM’s or matches with you on Tinder. With so many people out there and so much information stored on these profiles, it’s advisable to get to know someone before you go arranging a physical face-to-face date. Avoid any profiles that don’t have pictures and trust your gut if the profile information doesn’t match up to the face. It’s so easy nowadays to copy and paste a photo from the web or lie about your age or details of you online.
When getting to know them, ask them questions but don’t give too much away from your own life. Personal details should be kept private, and that includes where you live, email address and any other confidential information. Keep the conversation on getting to know the person and when you feel enough time has gone by to warrant a meet-up, be sure that it’s someone you feel as though you could trust. Don’t forget to fact check when it comes to meeting someone online. If they give out any details that you could find easily on other social media platforms, do a little digging to make sure they are exactly who they say they are.
2. Take It Slowly
You might feel rushed to meet but you should always trust your instincts, and for online dating, you should take it slowly. Those who want to rush meeting you might have unwanted intentions, and since you’ve never met before, it seems just as appropriate to take your time. If it’s someone worth it, they’ll wait around until you’re ready. Don’t feel pressured to meet if you feel like the initial getting to know them stage hasn’t fully run its course yet. Make sure you are the one in control and that you feel comfortable at all times with the conversation. We often get swept up in the whirlwind of flirtation and romantic connection, that we let our hearts rule before our head.
3. Suggest A Group Date
Dates can be nerve-wracking enough, so it might be a good idea for both the nerves and for extra precaution to suggest a group date. Group dates can be good fun, and it gives you the opportunity to be safe in the knowledge that you are with people you know and that will look after you throughout the day or evening depending on where and when it happens. It might not always be a suitable option, but it’s always a good one to suggest.
4. Meet In A Busy Environment
It’s one that you’ve probably been told a lot, mostly by your parents or other family members. Meeting in a busy environment like a restaurant or cafe is the best place to meet for a first date. Sure, it might not be as romantic as being alone together, but when you’re seeing this person for the first time, you want the safety of others around you. Avoid places like cinemas or nightclubs because although they might be busy, the environment may give the date an opportunity of getting close and personal when you may not want to. Book a place that you are familiar with and try and stay within a location that you know very well.
A tip when setting the time, make it an earlier than when you intend to get there. There’s nothing worse than sitting at a table, seeing someone approach that might not be who you had in mind, or maybe just didn’t have that feeling towards them. It’s not that kind, but at the end of the day, you have every right to get yourself out of date, even if it hasn’t started yet.
5. Have A Back-Up Plan
Some dates don’t always go to plan. Whether the spark isn’t there or the conversation is sparse, it’s always useful to have a back-up plan, particularly when you feel uncomfortable. If you ever feel threatened or in danger, it’s best to go to a staff member at the date location and ask for help. A lot of progress has been made with restaurants, wherein the event a person approaches them and asks for help, they’ll call a cab and keep the date occupied so that the other date can slip away without being noticed.
6. Tell Friends And Family Where You’re Going
The great thing about technology and these online dating sites or apps is that they leave a paper trail. Not that anything bad is going to happen of course, but our movements are tracked a lot more easily than before. But it’s still essential that whenever you are going on a date, you tell friends and family members where you are. Give them details of the person you are meeting, what time and where. Be sure to communicate with them throughout the day or evening, so that they are available, should you need help. Having someone who knows you are on a date can also be useful when it comes to making your excuses. Get a phone call from a friend saying she needs you asap is a great way to get out of a date if it’s not going well.
7. Protect Your Drink
There have been many incidents where dates have drugged or tried to drug the other by dropping it into their drink. You want to believe that this doesn’t happen, but unfortunately, it does. Alcohol can make concentrating difficult, and when you’re on a first date with someone you’ve never met before, you need to be smart and keep a level head. Keep an eye on your drink at all times and if they offer to buy you one, make sure you see that drink being made and brought over to you. Insist on order to your table if you’re unsure.
8. Lock Your Phone
It’s always wise to keep your valuables on your person at all time. One thing that we often don’t do though is to protect our phone. Phones have so much of our lives stored on it nowadays that it can be a gold mine for a date who might not have your best intentions at heart. Before going on a date, make sure you lock your phone. That way, there’s no way of anyone, other than you, who can access it. Keep your bag, wallet or purse on you at all times and always have some backup card or cash in a coat pocket for emergencies.
9. Arm Yourself
It may seem old school, but pepper spray is perfectly acceptable to defend yourself with, should you feel threatened. It’s unlikely to happen but if you’re left vulnerable and have the feeling that you could be attacked, arming yourself is going to help you get away. Pepper spray is a traditional choice, but there are also things like alarms that make a deafening sound to attract attention. Set up an emergency call on your phone so that in the event where you need to make a call quickly, you can.
Knowing a bit of self-defense wouldn’t hurt either. A few tips to follow that are easy for anyone to do, would be:
- Kicking them where it hurts. Yep, you know the place. It’ll knock the wind out of them if you do it hard enough.
- A flat palm slap across the ear will disorientate which will give you time to run away.
- Kick your feet onto their knees in a downward movement and use your thumbs to dig into their eyes.
- Use your fists and aim for the head. Try and land a punch!
It’s something you would never want to think about or do, but it’s useful to know these things just in case the unlikely happens.
Dating can be fun, a chance to get to know people and perhaps meet the love of your life. But it can also be dangerous territory if not approached with some caution. Trust your instincts and what your gut tells you. Always get to know the person before meeting them and tell someone where you’re going, even if it’s only a coffee date. Meet somewhere public and don’t go off alone unless you feel completely comfortable around them. So, what are you waiting for? Let the dating commence!