It doesn’t matter if you meet a hot new romantic interest in person or online; your first thought isn’t likely to be Safety First! All you can see is how attractive this person is and what a winning smile they have.
When they ask you out, you focus on what to wear and if you can lose fifteen pounds in two days. You’re not thinking about bringing a stun gun in your Prada bag, along with the lip gloss. But, unfortunately, this is exactly what you should consider when meeting someone for the first time.
We’re not trying to kill the exhilaration of your first date, but putting too much of yourself out there too soon can place you at risk, especially in today’s climate.
So, if you want to be safe dating but still have fun, check out what some of the leading experts in the private investigation field have to say regarding women keeping themselves safe.
1. Don’t Give Any of Your Personal Details
Does the guy you just met on Tinder really need to know your hometown and the name of your primary school? Absolutely not. According to a former FBI criminal profiler, a stalker can easily find you through this information.
If a potential predator knows where you were born, they may be able to find you online using a people finder.
Stick to general-interest topics that give little information, including favorite foods and colors. It sounds bland, but once the conversation gets going, you’ll find other topics to discuss. Talk about places you’d like to visit and what movies you enjoy. Keep the conversation general.
2. Post Nothing That Can Identify You
We all want to post about that new car we bought or the luxurious apartment complex you just moved into. It’s so enticing to humblebrag because we work hard to get these things, and now we want to show them off.
If you feel tempted to do so, don’t! Those things can reveal so much, too much. You may expose your license plate or other identifiable details like
- Street signs
- House numbers
- Surrounding buildings
3. Don’t Give Your Number Too Soon
Back in the old days (anytime before the year 2000), people used to meet and then give each other their phone numbers so they could call and make a date.
Today, it’s common to switch over from OKCupid or Tinder to texting after a period of flirtation. However, investigative experts suggest thinking twice before handing over your phone number.
Your phone is another link to you, and some people are very tech-savvy, so they know how to hack into your phone and track you down. Or they may continuously text and call you. Unfortunately, you can’t take it back once a person has specific information about you.
4. Google Them
It used to be that when you did research on someone before going on a first date, you were being nosey. Today, it’s not only smart, but it should be a requirement.
For example, you make a date to hang out with a guy you met on an online dating app. Would you still go out with him if you knew he had a criminal record?
Some argue that searching for someone’s background information is invading their privacy. We call it smart because now you know. A person has that right, and if you still want to go out, that’s your right, also.
A person’s well-groomed profile picture can mislead you. For example, Ted Bundy, one of the most prolific serial killers in history, was very charismatic and handsome. He had no problem enticing women to go off with him because he didn’t look like a psychopath.
Also, if they have a Facebook or Instagram, check that out. You don’t necessarily know their complete background from those pages, but you can make certain assumptions about the images they post.
For instance, most of his posts are about partying and drinking, but his online dating profile says he’s a good Christian guy who doesn’t drink. Make it make sense.
5. For the First Few Dates Meet in Public
For the first date, you don’t want him to pick you up and take you to a dimly lit, far away, quaint little restaurant. There is so much wrong with that scenario.
- First, he shouldn’t pick you up at your home.
- Second, stay in the vicinity of an area you know.
- Third, dimly lit is also a big fat No!
Instead, have your first date in a park or a coffee shop. And if you prefer a restaurant, go to one appropriately lit with plenty of people. Steer clear of anything dark and secluded, especially those distant places unfamiliar to you. If you go to a park, make sure it is heavily populated. Experts agree to be leery when meeting in remote places like a boat or a hiking trail. It may be romantic, but there might be no one around to help if you need it.
6. Keep the Revealing and Party Pics to a Minimum
Yeah, I get it. You go to the gym five days a week and want to show the world your results. That’s fine, but you don’t have to post forty-seven thirst trap pics of you in a low-cut blouse and a short skirt.
We’re not saying don’t post any of those types of images. We’re saying to be careful if those are the only types of photos on your profile.
Unfortunately, certain individuals view posting provocate images as permission to make suggestive comments. So while there are good guys looking to meet a nice woman, there are also creeps lurking in the online shadows looking to meet a nice woman, too.
When you put yourself out there in a suggestive manner, the wrong person might think it’s OK to contact/harass you, thinking you must be looking for a “specific kind of guy.”
Experts suggest keeping those “twerking and booty popping” pics for yourself and your friends. Use a shared iPhoto stream or a private Instagram profile so only those you choose can view your photos. However, if you must show the word what “you’re workin’ with,” only post one or two images of that nature.
You’re not an idiot. When you ask yourself these questions, you already know the answers, but sometimes it’s just good to reaffirm what you’ve already been thinking.
7. Make Sure You Pick the Place
Do not–we repeat–do not allow your date to pick the place. They may have prearranged it for something bad to happen, and you never want to give a possible criminal the advantage.
While the chances of something like this are slim, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately, all it takes is one person’s evil intentions toward you to place you in harm’s way.
10 Places to go for Safe Dating
While you’ve chatted online for the last week, it’s the first date that helps you determine if the sparks are flying. You want to have fun but still be safe dating.
Read on to find out the best spots for your first casual meet-up.
- A bar – A bar can be noisy for some, but for some, it has a certain ambiance. Be sure the bartender makes your drink, and never leave your drink unattended.
- Walking – A casual walking date makes sense for people trying to save money. You can talk while you walk, continuing to get to know them, but instead of online, you’re face-to-face. A bonus is that you can also see how physically fit they are. To be safe dating, hike in visible and populated areas. Stay away from secluded wooded sections of the park and walk in the daytime before the sun sets.
- Cafes – Cafes are the perfect first casual date, especially in the daytime. First, they’re low cost, and second, they’re a relatively safe, neutral ground.
- Skating – Rollerblading and ice skating are fun activities for a first meet-up. It’s also a great way to get to know someone’s personality. For example, are they willing to try new things or prefer to play it safe and hang on to the railing? Believe it or not, skating tells a lot about someone’s personality. If you skate outdoors, do it during the daytime, and don’t roll away too far from the crowd.
- Dancing – If one or both of you are into dancing, Salsa classes are a different yet fun place to go on a first date. This is different from a nightclub because there’s no alcohol, and you’re there to learn a choreographed step, which for most people, is something new.
- Yoga – Exercise is another excellent way to check out the physicality of your date. Besides that, Yoga is fun. For the first date with a fitness buff, try AcroYoga, which is Yoga with a partner. This is safe dating because most instructors hold classes in the daytime. Plus, you’re in a studio filled with others.
- Cooking Class – Cooking classes are a safe environment because others are learning to cook with you. It’s a fun date because you can check out each other’s culinary skills. Then, if all works out, you can make them dinner for the second date.
- Karaoke – Unless you’re Whitney Houston or Celine Dion, you must have a sense of humor when going to a Karaoke bar. But, even if you can’t hit the high notes, you showed you have the balls to even get up on stage in the first place. Karaoke bars are safe dating spots because, as previously mentioned with other locations, they’re in a public place.
- Sporting Event – Want to impress your sports-fanatic date? Take them to a ball game. A sporting event is another place that takes the pressure off of you and puts it on the field. As for safety? Well, you can’t get a much bigger crowd than in a stadium.
8. Don’t Lead Someone On
You may think it’s innocent flirting, but they may view it differently. Stalking can happen at no fault of your own, but it typically comes about after beginning an intimate relationship.
Some people believe that a peck on the cheek is reason enough to think someone loves you and you love them. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how someone perceives a situation, so if it feels like the circumstances have gotten out of hand, reel it in and let them know your intentions ASAP.
9. Tell Someone about Your Date
If you’re meeting someone for the first time (or even second or third), always tell someone else where you’re going, who you’re with, and, if you know, what time you’ll be home.
It would help if you also did several check-ins with a friend or family member during the date.
If you don’t want to appear rude, excuse yourself to the bathroom to do the check-in. Sometimes, people let their date know they’re doing a check-in by saying something like, “Oh, my mom just wanted me to check-in with her to see how the date is going.”
Doing so lets them know that if they have harmful intentions toward you, people know where you are and who you’re with.
10. Watch Your Alcohol Intake
If you can, refrain from drinking alcohol on your first meeting. However, if you partake, watch that you don’t lose control of the situation.
Always check your glass or bottle to make sure no one puts anything into it. If you need to go to the bathroom, finish your drink. If your date asks if you want another drink when you go to the bathroom, tell them, “Thanks, but I’ll order it when I get back.”
If you have a drink waiting for you when you return from the ladies’ room, give it back to the bartender and tell them you don’t like that type of drink or “Thank you, but I have work tomorrow, so I’m not drinking too much tonight.”
11. Listen to Your Gut
Always listen to your instincts. Trust them if they’re telling you something is off about a person. For example, if you think someone has lied to you, most likely, you’re right. But, unfortunately, you may overlook it and end up regretting it later.
Sometimes when we’re in an awkward situation and our gut is telling us one thing, we tend to gaslight ourselves, thinking things like, “I’m just being paranoid” and “This only happens on TV.” Never downplay your intuition because, most times, it’s right.
Dating is fun but can also be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions. It doesn’t take much time or effort to stay safe dating, and if you use common sense, it doesn’t require much thought, either. So don’t overthink it and enjoy yourself.