Getting to know somebody new is exciting. But no matter how comfortable you feel with them, it’s important to remain aware of the big picture and stay safe dating. When you meet up with someone you met online, regardless of how many promising messages you’ve exchanged and how compatible you seem, you’re essentially meeting a stranger you know very little about.
We don’t want to scare you—you can still have a great time! People meet online and start successful, long-term relationships every day. But it’s important to remember that you don’t know this person very well. And until you get to know them better and develop trust, it’s important to be as safe as possible. Follow these tips to stay safe while dating and still enjoy yourself.
Top Tips for Safe Dating
- Do some internet sleuthing
To google, or not to google? That is the question. The dating world is still a little torn on whether or not you should look up your date on social media before you meet them in person. On one hand, it feels strange to “internet stalk” someone before you meet them. But on the other hand, as more and more dating apps give you the option to integrate your social media profiles into your online dating profile, looking up your date online is becoming standard practice. It gives you peace of mind that they are, in fact, a real person and not a scammer or a catfish. And it can also give you greater peace of mind, having a wider impression of the person you on the way to meet.
- Share the details of your date
Make sure someone you trust knows where you are at all times during your date—especially if it’s your first date. Check-in before and after (and during, if you want), and if your plans change, keep them informed of your whereabouts. As an added layer of precaution, you could even share your location on your phone with them or turn on Find My Friends. It helps settle the nerves to know a trusted confidante knows what you up to and where you are.
- Meet in a public place
The first time you meet someone, it should be in a public place. Even if you’re meeting for a casual hookup, as tempting as it may be, it’s best not to invite them over to your home or meet them at theirs. A bar, restaurant, movie theater, or park are perfect places to meet for a first date because there will be plenty of other people around. Plus, that way, your date won’t know your home address until you’re ready to share it.
- Make sure your phone battery is fully charged
You never know when you’ll need to make an emergency call, and you don’t want to be caught with a dead battery. It can’t hurt to bring a phone charger, too. It’s not fun to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s best to know you can call a friend if needs be. You also don’t want to be stranded without a phone if want to find your directions home or need to call a cab. Best to prepare and go with a charged battery.
- If you feel unsafe, leave
Your safety is your number one priority. If you ever feel uncomfortable, you can—and should—feel empowered to remove yourself from the situation at any time. Don’t worry about being polite, making things awkward, or hurting your date’s feelings. It’s not about them; it’s about you. Trust your gut and leave if you feel like you need to. No need to give an excuse.
- Take care of your own transport
An easy way to keep safe dating practices is to provide your own transport. This means that you’re not dependant on your date to take you home. And if you’re not having a good time on the date, you can leave easily. A simple way to keep the power in your own hands is knowing you can come and go as you please.
Dating should be fun, so don’t let yourself get too stressed focussing on how to keep safe. Your date is probably in exactly the same position as you, but at the same time, it’s important to keep mindful of ways to be safe dating and still have a good time. So relax and enjoy it, knowing that you’ve covered the bases.