When you’re getting ready for a date you get dressed up, do your hair, and prepare for every potential hiccup that can come up in a conversation. But do you ever think about safety precautions? What do if your date lashes out or tries to convince you to go somewhere you don’t want to go? Being vigilant and prepared is the name of the game when it comes to dating.
Keep the following dating safety tips in mind as you prepare for your next date:
1. Drive Yourself
When you’re going out with someone you don’t know well, insist on driving yourself or taking public transportation to the place where you’ll meet. This keeps your address private until you know you can trust your date. It also ensures that you won’t be going somewhere you don’t want to go, and that you have control. If you don’t have a car, take a cab, public transportation, or ask a friend to drop you off and pick you up. Until you know someone better, it’s always a good idea to meet him there.
2. Carry Pepper Spray
You can never take too many safety precautions when you’re a single girl, and carrying pepper spray is a great way to have a little extra reassurance. Self-defense expert Jeremy Pollack recommends that women carry pepper spray because it’s non-lethal and will incapacitate an attacker for up to an hour, giving you plenty of time to get away. If your date threatens you in any way, you’ll be able to defend yourself quickly and easily.
3. Plan to Text a Friend
Always make sure a friend or family member knows where and when you’re meeting your date. It’s also a good idea to plan on texting one person you’ve talked to about the date when you get home so they can make sure you’re safe. If they don’t get a text from you when they’re supposed to, they’ll know something’s up and can get in touch.
4. Meet in a Public Place
Always choose to meet in a public place—the more people, the better. If your date insists that they want to meet somewhere more private, don’t give in. Suggest meeting at a coffee shop or a busy restaurant and checking the other spot out if the first few dates go well. You should always avoid being singled out and alone with your date for too long, at least at the beginning.
5. Trust Your Instinct
At the end of the day, you have a gut instinct that’s usually pretty accurate. In fact, research shows that women are more skilled than men at reading nonverbal gestures and emotions, which means your date doesn’t even have to say anything for you to sense what his motives are. If someone is making you uncomfortable for reasons you just can’t explain, trust your gut and leave.
6. Don’t Leave Your Drink
You’ve probably heard not to accept drinks from strangers at the bar, and you also shouldn’t leave your drink alone with your date. There are tasteless, odorless and colorless drugs that can be slipped into drinks and have been known to assist in sexual assaults. It’s always best to be overly cautious when it comes to protecting your drink. If at any point you suspect you may have been drugged, don’t hesitate to leave and get help right away.
7. Google Him
Although it’s not the best idea to extensively internet stalk your date over social media before you go out (it ruins the fun of conversation!), it’s a good idea to do a little bit of research and check if your date is who he says he is. Check his LinkedIn profile instead of Facebook, which is more professional and will give you an idea of who he is without taking the fun out of your first date.
Safety should always be a priority when you’re dating new people. Keep these tips in mind, invest in pepper spray, and listen to your gut. That way, if a potentially dangerous situation arises, you won’t be caught off guard.