Unfortunately, the world is not a safe place, and technology is not helping. Online dating apps and websites are really great in many ways, but these sources are sometimes used by predators. The National Crime Agency shows that people reporting rape and sexual assault on first dates has increased fourfold in recent years. Practice some straightforward safety measures when you’re dating, and don’t end up in potentially dangerous or even life-threatening situations.
It doesn’t take too many hours of watching the news to know that the world can be hazardous. Follow strict personal safety guidelines, and don’t end up in danger.
- Do tell. Before you go on a date with anyone, leave an electronic trail. Text a person who knows you when you’re going on the date, who you’re going with and where you’re going. Text them again when the date is over, so they know you have arrived back home safely.
- Keep it public. Until you get to know someone well and know that you are safe with them, don’t spend any time alone with them anywhere. Meet them in a public place, not in your home, and make your own arrangements to get yourself home when the date is over. Do not let your date drive you home no matter how well you hit it off. Wait for a few more dates before you take this leap of faith.
- Carry your phone. Make sure your phone is charged and keep it with you and turned on during the date. Consider installing an app on your phone that allows a close friend or family member to see where you’re located at all times. Make sure they know the code text for help!
- Just bail. If things start to get weird or you’re getting a vibe that all is not well, don’t ignore that feeling. If you feel creeped out or unsafe in some way, go with your gut and remove yourself from the situation. There are plenty of other people to meet who won’t give you the creeps.
- Handle your own food and drink. Don’t leave your beverage or food unattended. Remember that the venue doesn’t matter. Someone can slip something into your drink at the fanciest restaurant as easily as they can at a rock concert.
- Cut yourself off. Monitor your alcohol intake. Being on a date is nerve-wracking, and blind dates can be especially stressful. Having a couple of drinks can help you loosen up and break the ice, but having too many drinks can lower your inhibitions and compromise your judgment. This can lead to bad decision-making that may ultimately put you in an unsafe position.
- Watch your words. Be mindful of revealing too much information. Don’t give away too many details about where you live or where you work. It’s fine to mention a general neighborhood, but in the early stages, you don’t want a relative stranger to be able to find your place of work or home too easily.
- Know how to react. Think about carrying a small tube of pepper spray, an air horn or some other self-defense mechanism with you. And if you are being attacked or assaulted in some way, scream “fire” as loudly and persistently as you can. Passers-by are much more likely to respond to cries of “fire” than they are to “help.” This is another grim reality of the world.
How to Date Safely
You can’t lock yourself away and simply never meet anyone new. What you can do is follow some fairly basic safety measures to avoid getting in harm’s way. Continue to keep up your safety protocols with someone you’re dating until you feel safe enough to begin to relax your guard, but do so in increments.