When you're caught up in the furore surrounding a new date, taking precautions may not be the first thing that springs to mind, especially when you are meeting a romantic prospect in person. Whether you’ve been on a few dates or have been dating for a while, here are 10 online dating tips that could save your life and keep you safe this summer.
Let friends know where you are
Whether you are going out for a quick coffee date at your local cafe or a fancy dinner for two, always inform your friends, roommates and family members when you plan to go on the date. Give them information about where you’re going, who you are going with (including any phone numbers, names, registration plates, etc.,) and when you plan on getting home.
If your plans change for any reason throughout the night, let them know via a text or phone call right away. While this may sound like a nuisance or over dramatic, not alerting your friends or family on your whereabouts can be disastrous if something bad were to happen.
Take your own car
Whether you met online or through mutual friends, bringing your own car can come in handy when you are looking for a way to leave your date early. Of course we hope you don't want to leave your exciting date early, but you never know what could happen.
Having your own car allows you to set the tone and pace of your date once it’s over. If you don’t have your own transportation, try using a taxi, car app service or take public transport if possible.
Meet in a public place
Making the decision on where to meet a date for the first time can be exciting but can pose a risk if not done right. Whenever you are meeting a date in person, never accept an offer to be picked up at your home and never agree to meet at their hotel room or house.
First dates should take place in a public place such as a restaurant, park, or cafe, dependent on what style of date you are going for and the time of day. It's probably best not to meet your date in the park at night for example. If you are not sure where to go, choose a location that is quiet enough for you to get to know each other, but busy enough in case you begin to feel uncomfortable.
Don’t post identifying info
With the use of social media tagging, it can be pretty easy to reveal plenty of information about yourself. Whether it’s a tagged post with you at your favourite pub or a photo of your new car outside of your home, these posts can be used as identifiable details to determine and reveal your location to the general public.
If you still want to be tagged in posts online, be sure to check your privacy settings across all your social media accounts. This can generally be done in the 'Settings' or 'Account' section of your profile.
When you start the dating process it can be easy to share information about your job, the company you work for, and what university you went to when you are engaging in small-talk. Chatting about these topics may be fine when you have gone on several dates with a love prospect; however, if it is the ‘getting to know’ someone phase, limit or avoid these aspects of conversation if possible.
If you can’t avoid the conversation, never give specific details about your job, where you live or like to hang out. It may seem boring and a bit of a challenge at first, but consider it a new way to improve your conversational skills.
Limit alcohol consumption
The best dates usually happen when both people are sober. Yes, dating can be awkward at times (especially if it’s a first date) and it’s easy to rely on alcohol as an aid to help you relax.
If you are nervous or wanting to fill those awkward pauses, charm your date with your witty humour or share an experience that you will never forget! These types of conversation are much more personal than trying to overdo things with excessive alcohol.
Don’t leave your drink unattended
As popular date rape drugs such as roofies (Rohypnol) and GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) are colourless and odourless, these drugs can be placed in your drink and can cause disorientation and unconsciousness.
To avoid this happening, make sure that any drink you accept is unopened or prepared in front of you by the bartender. If you need to use the bathroom during your date, simply ask the bartender to look after it for you.
Don’t give out personal info
If you are using online dating as a way to meet potential partners, make sure that you are guarding your personal contact information. While you can choose to have the potential individual send you a personal message on the site; make sure you feel comfortable before you release any information such as your phone number, personal email address, or home address.
Have an exit strategy
If you are on a date and not feeling completely comfortable and want to end things early, having an exit strategy is your best move. Don’t be afraid or feel bad if you need to leave your date prematurely; instead, make sure that you have an early leaving statement ready before your date takes place. Make sure to practice what you are going to say and inform any friends or family about your exit strategy whether or not they are aiding in your getaway.
Bring a condom
If your date (or couple of dates) have gone well and you and your partner are interested in moving forward physically, having a condom is an essential item to bring with you on your next meeting. Not only can it reduce the risk of catching sexually transmitted infections, it can help against any unplanned pregnancy. So, if you have not had the conversation regarding contraception, bring one for your own sense of security.
With the increase in online dating over the last few years, it is imperative that whether you're meeting someone for the first time or the third time, you let a friend or family member know where you are going, how long you expect to be and when you think you'll be home. This way, you can be sure that someone else knows what the plan is, just in case. Follow our tips and have a great time. Happy dating!