Meet in a Public Place
There is safety in numbers, and this safe dating rule is no exception. Plan to meet somewhere where there are lots of people where possible, or in a public space that doesn’t allow for intimate conversation. If things go well, there will be more than enough time later for some alone time, but for the first few dates while getting to know someone, public dates are safer.
Use Your Own Transportation
Although it is chivalrous if your date wants to pick you up at your house or place of employment, safe dating doesn’t include allowing a relative stranger to get you at this stage of the game. Plan instead to drive, take the bus, walk or bike to your date – especially if the date is a first time meeting. Then at the end of the date, if the sparks aren’t flying, you aren’t obliged to accept their offer of transportation.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol impairs judgment – something you’ll need in spades when getting to know someone new for potential dating purposes. This is why avoiding alcohol on first dates is a good idea, and limiting your intake is a safe dating bet for the first few encounters at the very least. But if you do feel compelled to drink on a date, make sure your drink is within your sight at all times, and keep it to one or two drinks at the most to reduce the inhibition-losing side of drinking.
Even if you ignore all of the other safe dating rules listed here, this is the one to follow above all others. Make sure that you have a friend to check up on you during your date, whether by text message, phone call, or other means you feel comfortable with. For some people that might mean calling a friend when you arrive at the location and then an hour into the date, although having a friend call you 15 minutes into the date to make sure you are okay is also a good idea. Other suggestions include telling a staff member (such as a barista or waiter) you’re on a first date, or double dating with friends.
Give Out Your Cell Number
If you’d like to spend more time with your date before or after the first meeting, give out your cell number instead of your home or work phone numbers. Why? Because it only takes mere minutes for most people to do a reverse directory search online to gather a tremendous amount of personal information about you – information that you probably don’t want a stranger to have.
Give Details in Measured Doses
When getting to know someone, try and keep things light and fun at the beginning. Not only does this make for a more pleasant dating experience for everyone, but it also shows your date that you aren’t a victim. Some predators seek out folks who make a point of divulging personal details early on in their interaction, such as the recent death of a loved one or past relationship failures. Because someone who is vulnerable is an easy mark, unfortunately, although as things progress, being vulnerable is how you move things forward. But not in the first few dates, where possible.
Listen To Your Gut
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t question it. These things happen, and even though it may just be that either or both of you are having an off day, it is much better to cut things short than linger while trying to figure out what’s bugging you. Politely say that you have to leave because you aren’t feeling well, and make haste immediately should your intuition tell you something is off.
Don’t Involve Your Kids
Some singles go so far as to state they have no children in their online dating profiles, so as not to attract someone who might want to prey upon them. But that really isn’t necessary if you keep your children and your dating life separate. How? Don’t put pictures of you and your kids up on a dating site (or for that matter on any website that you cannot control who can, and cannot see your photos), don’t let your children meet your date until things are serious and a couple of months into the relationship, and never leave your children alone with your date.