Dating can be a fun experience when done right. It’s how you’re supposed to meet your long-life partner. However, it can also be a nightmare if you are not careful. As technology makes dating easier with every passing day, it has also become very convenient to fall into traps or scams.
You could be talking to someone for months before actually going out with them and still know nothing about them. Online dating can be deceiving as online profiles seldom match people's real personalities. Therefore, it is best to take safety precautions while you can to ensure that you get a smooth, fun, and safe experience from your dating journey.
Here are some mandatory but straightforward safety tips that you should keep in mind when planning a date with someone. These dating safety tips can literally save your life when used in the right way.
TOP 10 DATING SAFETY TIPS
Keep sensitive information private
First and foremost, it is always a good idea to keep some things private before you really get to know the other person. People often make the mistake of over-indulging with someone they just met. For all you know, that individual you've been talking to for months could just be lying to you or have bad intentions.
Information like your full name, phone number, address, and workplace are all sensitive information that you should never share with anyone. In fact, it's a good idea to hold off on sharing this information even after your first date. Sharing this information requires trust, and trust takes time to build. Take your sweet time before sharing your private information with your potential date.
You should also never give out your social media handles to anyone you've just met. Your social media is an expression of your true self and your privacy. Anyone can learn a lot about you just from your social media if you are not careful. Ensure that this information stays sensitive until you can really start to develop trust with the person you have been going out with.
Don’t be afraid to google your date
While we are on the subject of information, it is always best to try and dig out as much as you can about the person you’ve decided to go out with. Trying to find more about your date is also a good idea because they are probably doing the same thing as well.
A simple google search with their full name can reveal so much valuable information about them. You can learn a lot about their hobbies, favorite food, and even their personality from just their social media.
If you stumble across something questionable in your search for more information about your date, do not be afraid to cancel on them. Red flags are never pretty, no matter what shape or size they come in.
Never make too many assumptions
One drawback about social media and online dating profiles is that they can be curated. Social media feeds are rarely a true representation of someone's actual life and personality because they are curated to look good at all times. While social media and online dating profiles can reveal a lot of valuable information about your date, keep in mind that they only showcase a fraction of the person that they really are, and in order to get to know them fully, you need to spend time with them.
Assumptions about a person made from social media feeds or other such sources can be deceiving. It is best to rely on your intuition when in the talking phase. If you sense any dissonance between how you perceive them from the way they talk to you and how they want to be perceived through their social media, there's probably more to the story than you know.
Always leave room for solid information when going out with someone. Find out more about your date by simply talking to them and asking them questions based on real-life scenarios. Their responses to your practical questions may reveal important information about their personality.
Make sure to meet in public
It is extremely important that you only agree to dates in public places and only during the daytime. Never agree to a date in a shady place, such as someone's house, a parking lot, or somewhere far from your home. There's nothing worse than being stuck with someone you don't know in a place you are not familiar with.
One thing that you can do to make this process easier is to take the lead when deciding where to meet. If you suggest a place close to your residence upfront, the other person won't offer any counter suggestions.
However, if your potential date keeps bringing up the idea of meeting at their home or somewhere where you guys can have a little privacy, make sure to immediately shut these attempts down and look for someone who’d agree to go out with you in public.
Be vocal about your expectations
You must be loud and clear about your expectations when dating someone. Being vocal about what you expect can be a lifesaver. It can protect both you and your date from unnecessary confusion and hurt if things go south.
Being vocal about where you want to meet, how you want to go out, what you like and don't is extremely important if you want to have fun while dating. If you are not assertive about your expectations, you will simply be drifting along with your date, and it will not be a meaningful experience.
Being vocal about your expectations can also act as a deterrent if your date plans any risky businesses. Studies have shown that scammers often don't go through with their schemes if they find out that the other person is confident and knows what they want.
Involve your friends
Letting your friends in on your plans to go out with someone can help you immensely. Always make sure that you tell your friend all the important details about your date. Your friends can act as your backup if and when things take a wrong turn while you’re out.
It might also pay well to involve your friends in your relationship early on. Bring your friends along with you to meet your date so that your date knows that you have people that you can rely on. Moreover, your friends can scan your date through an impartial eye and provide valuable insight that you might have missed. They may also spot any red flags which were seemingly invisible to you before.
Be mindful when on the date
Keep your eyes and your mind open at all times when you go out with someone new, especially for the first time. Stay alert and pick up on any visual or physical cues which may provide strong insight into your date’s personality.
Make conscious choices when you're out with someone new. Let them know that you are present and not the type of person who can be drifted along. Convey the fact that you are analyzing everything and capable of taking action whenever necessary.
If you are out to grab a bite with someone new, make sure never to leave your food and your drinks unattended. There have been many cases where rapists put drugs in food or drinks to subdue their victims. Stay vigilant in your surroundings.
Keep a safety hotline on hand
Always keep a safety hotline on hand. This way, you can get out of a problematic situation in a matter of minutes. Make sure that your closest friends or family members are on speed dial. If you have an app that calls your safety contact at the press of a button, make use of it.
It would be best if you also had your phone's location turned on whenever you go out with someone new. This way, your friends can still track you even if they cannot contact you.
Think twice before taking the next step
A date can have two outcomes: a rough goodbye or a successful, satisfying end. A successful date doesn’t always end with lunch or dinner. It almost always leads to the next step, which is intimacy.
It is not recommended to be intimate with someone new after a first date, no matter how successful the date was. It is always better to wait for a few dates before you decide to take the next step.
You should also take strict safety measures whenever you choose to be intimate with your date. Always make sure to bring your date back to your place, rather than to go back to their place.
It is also a good idea to let your friends know about your after-meal plans so that they know where you are in case of any emergency.
Always bring protection
Bringing protection to date is always a good idea. We're talking about two kinds of protection: one that could keep you safe in the event of assault and the other that could protect you from diseases that have no cure.
Bringing pepper sprays or even Tasers is recommended when you first go out with someone new. You never know what will happen, and it is always a good idea to be prepared.
Bringing and using protection during sexual intercourse is important. You can never be sure of your date’s STD status, no matter how much they tell you that they are clean. Sexually transmitted diseases can be deadly if you are not careful. Therefore, it is best to stay protected with whatever little effort it requires to use a condom during sex.