If you’re dating online, you never know who you may meet: it could be the love of your life, or it could be someone you wish you could go back in time and never meet again. Because you really don’t know exactly who you’re meeting when you go on an online date, it’s important to take safety precautions to ensure that you don’t become injured, or find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Meet Somewhere Public
If you’re going on a first date, it’s always a good idea to meet in a public place, no matter what your gender is. Though women may be more vulnerable to being assaulted by men due to their smaller size, women can harm other women just like men can harm other men. Women may also harm men on a first date, especially if there are weapons involved. If you’re going on a first date, it’s always a good idea to meet somewhere in public where you can leave if you feel unsafe. Even if the date is going well, it’s probably a good idea to resist leaving with your date until after the first few dates.
Don’t Let them Pick You Up
Do not let your date pick you up until you’re certain that you’re ready for them to have your address, and are comfortable being in the car with them. It’s also not a good idea to allow them to get in the car with you as it’s not much safer even if you’re the one in control of the vehicle. Once you give a person your address, they will know where you live, and moving may not be an option for you. Furthermore, stalking can be very difficult to prove and prosecute. Although this isn’t something you have to worry about with most people, those who end up being stalkers don’t generally advertise that information on the first date.
Tell a Friend
If you’re going on a first date with someone, it’s a good idea to tell a friend, family member, or loved one about your first date. Tell them where you’re going, who you’re going with, and what time you’ll be home. It may even be a good idea to send a picture of the person you’re planning on meeting up with. If you know your friend is going on a date, it may be a good idea to check in on them after the date so that you know they made it home safely. Telling someone where you’re going and when you’re going to be back can help your loved ones alert the authorities more quickly if something goes wrong on the date.
Do not drink or ingest recreational substances on a first date. When a person’s sobriety is comprised, they’re less capable of assessing their current situation, making safe decisions, and consenting to sexual activity. If you’re going out with someone new, make sure that you do not leave them unattended with any food or beverages. This may mean that you insist upon getting your own drinks, or you wait to use the bathroom until you’re finished eating your meal. Furthermore, staying sober can help ensure that you get home safely instead of driving drunk, or allowing your date to know where you live.
Make Sure Your Date Respects Your Boundaries
If you tell your date that you want to meet in a public place, or that you don’t want to give out your address until you know each other better, and they don’t respect that, it may be a good idea to reconsider dating that person. When you’re meeting people, it’s a good idea to stay away from people who pressure or attempt to manipulate you into engaging in unsafe behaviors. If you haven’t met someone in person, it’s absolutely reasonable to be uncomfortable with giving out information such as your workplace or address. While you may be able to change your number easily, most people aren’t able to switch jobs or move to a new residence with much ease. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, do not second guess yourself.
Stay Safe out There
There are so many stories of people who took all sorts of precautions and they still ended up in dangerous situations due to meeting people online. Though following safety tips can reduce the chances of falling into danger, there are still risks. Listen to your gut when you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and remember that it’s okay to assert your boundaries, especially if someone is making you feel unsafe.