Take a few minutes to read the following safety tips to keep your dating experience enjoyable and secure. However, there are certain steps that every person should follow while dating Ė both online and offline.
Meet in a Public Place
There is safety in numbers, and this safe dating rule is no exception. Plan to meet somewhere where there are lots of people where possible, or in a public space that doesn't allow for intimate conversation. If things go well, there will be more than enough time later for some alone time, but for the first few dates while getting to know someone, public dates are safer.
Use Your Own Transportation
Although it is chivalrous if your date wants to pick you up at your house or place of employment, safe dating doesn't include allowing a relative stranger to get you at this stage of the game. Plan instead to drive, take the bus, walk or bike to your date - especially if the date is a first time meeting. Then at the end of the date, if the sparks aren't flying, you aren't obliged to accept their offer of transportation.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol impairs judgment - something you'll need in spades when getting to know someone new for potential dating purposes. This is why avoiding alcohol on first dates is a good idea, and limiting your intake is a safe dating bet for the first few encounters at the very least. But if you do feel compelled to drink on a date, make sure your drink is within your sight at all times, and keep it to one or two drinks at the most to reduce the inhibition-losing side of drinking.
Even if you ignore all of the other safe dating rules listed here, this is the one to follow above all others. Make sure that you have a friend to check up on you during your date, whether by text message, phone call, or other means you feel comfortable with. For some people that might mean calling a friend when you arrive at the location and then an hour into the date, although having a friend call you 15 minutes into the date to make sure you are okay is also a good idea. Other suggestions include telling a staff member (such as a barista or waiter) you're on a first date, or double dating with friends.
Give Out Your Cell Number
If you'd like to spend more time with your date before or after the first meeting, give out your cell number instead of your home or work phone numbers. Why? Because it only takes mere minutes for most people to do a reverse directory search online to gather a tremendous amount of personal information about you - information that you probably don't want a stranger to have.
Give Details in Measured Doses
When getting to know someone, try and keep things light and fun at the beginning. Not only does this make for a more pleasant dating experience for everyone, but it also shows your date that you aren't a victim. Some predators seek out folks who make a point of divulging personal details early on in their interaction, such as the recent death of a loved one or past relationship failures. Because someone who is vulnerable is an easy mark, unfortunately, although as things progress, being vulnerable is how you move things forward. But not in the first few dates, where possible.
Listen To Your Gut
If something doesn't feel right, don't question it. These things happen, and even though it may just be that either or both of you are having an off day, it is much better to cut things short than linger while trying to figure out what's bugging you. Politely say that you have to leave because you aren't feeling well, and make haste immediately should your intuition tell you something is off.
Don't Involve Your Kids
Some singles go so far as to state they have no children in their online dating profiles, so as not to attract someone who might want to prey upon them. But that really isn't necessary if you keep your children and your dating life separate. How? Don't put pictures of you and your kids up on a dating site (or for that matter on any website that you cannot control who can, and cannot see your photos), don't let your children meet your date until things are serious and a couple of months into the relationship, and never leave your children alone with your date.
NEVER share your personal or financial information with people you donít know. Make sure to follow these guidelines at all times when meeting new people online:.
- DONíT ever send money to someone you meet online, especially by wire transfer. Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash: the sender has no protections against loss. Scammers often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because itís nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Donít wire money to strangers or to someone who claims to be in an emergency (and wants to keep the request a secret).
Read more on how to avoid scams and fraud
- DONíT give out your credit card number or bank info.
Practical Tips for dating online and off
There is no substitute for acting with caution when communicating with any stranger who wants to meet you. You are in control of your online dating experience at all times Ė remain anonymous until you feel ready. Remember to always trust your instincts.
First meetings are exciting, however, always take precautions and use the following guidelines.
- Always meet in public.
Meet for the first time in a populated, public location Ė never in a private or remote location.
- Tell a friend.
Inform a friend or family member of your plans and when and where youíre going. If you own a mobile phone, make sure you have it with you.
- Stay sober.
Do not do anything that would impair your judgment and cause you to make a decision you could regret.
- Drive yourself to and from the first meeting.
Just in case things donít work out, you need to be in control of your own ride Ė even if you take a taxi.
- Donít leave personal items unattended.
You donít want to risk having personal information stolen. If youíre drinking, keep your drink with you at all times so it canít be tampered with.
- Stay in a public place.
It is best not to go back to your dateís home or bring them back to yours on the first date. If your date pressures you, end the date and leave at once.
Long Distance Meetings
Long distance meetings pose special safety concerns to take into account. Keep these tips in mind.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Mama was right on target with this bit of advice. Remember that, when it comes to your personal safety, it's not only OK to snoop, it's your duty. Here are a few additional guidelines:
- Stay in a hotel.
If you canít afford a hotel, donít go. DO NOT stay in the other personís home.
- Use a taxi or rental car to get to and from the airport.
Even if the person youíre meeting volunteers to pick you up from the airport, do not get into a personal vehicle with someone youíve never met.
- Keep your hotel location confidential.
The person youíre meeting should respect your privacy until you know each other.
- Remember to keep your family and friends posted.
Tell someone who you are meeting, where you are going and when you will return.
Find out how to avoid online scams and fraud: