Have you heard the story about the girl that went on a date with a man she met on Tinder, decided to go away to her family’s vacation home by herself afterward and later found out the man followed her there and was building a cage in her own vacation home to keep her locked up inside? No? Well, when you’re going out with strangers you’ve met online, you never know what might come next.
Dating is difficult enough, but with the emergence of modern-day apps such as Tinder and Bumble, it’s become even more terrifying. With so many people on these apps, you’re bound to find someone who seems great, but that doesn’t mean they always are. Dating apps can be scary because you don’t know anything about the person you’re planning to meet such as whether they have a criminal record, have anger management issues or if they’re emotionally unstable. This issue of not knowing who you’re allowing into your life is so common that there’s even a Netflix original movie, Perfect on Paper, highlighting that you never really know who someone really is. When meeting a stranger for the first time in real life, there are ways to keep yourself safe, which is exactly what we want to touch on here.
Follow these tips to make your next date experience a safe one:
1. Never Give Out Personal Information
Your date does not need to know your full first and last name, phone number, e-mail address or worse yet, your home address. Keep your personal information as private as possible. This also means you should avoid linking your Instagram or social media channels to your dating profiles or at the very least, keep your social media private. Finally, when you go on your date, be mindful to keep your conversation topics away from what town you live in, where you work or who you know.
2. Choose A Public Setting & Use Your Own Form of Transportation
The goal here is to place yourself in neutral territory. As tempting as it may sound, there is no need to go on a date at a stranger’s house for a home cooked meal. Choose places that tend to stay busy. It may even be helpful to show up to your date location early so you can let your server or bartender know you are meeting a stranger and would appreciate if they looked out for you. You’d be surprised at how helpful and kind others can be, especially if you’re nervous about meeting someone new. Finally, use your own form of transportation to get yourself to and back home from your date. We don’t need to tell you why accepting a ride from someone you have never met before is a bad idea.
3. Tell A Friend
Your friends want the best for you, so it’s a good idea to let them know you’re going on a date. Let them know how you met your date, send them screenshots of your date’s photos and information, share your phone’s location with them if you can, tell them where and when you’re meeting your date and provide any other pertinent information your date may have shared with you. You can even come up with a safe word for check-ins or make a pact to text them every 30-45 minutes.
4. Do Some Digging
It’s amazing just how much information you can find on the internet. If you’re able to, use whatever information you have to look into your date ahead of time. It’s always helpful to double-check that they are who they say they are and that they are have a healthy social circle of friends and family. Do whatever due diligence you can before sitting in front of them in person and opening up to them about who you are and what you’re looking for.
5. Stay Sober
Having a few drinks can help you loosen up and enjoy your date more, but it can also be a major safety hazard. The last thing you want is to not have your wits about you when a familiar stranger is accompanying you. Our recommendation is to stick to one drink. If you really want a second, third or even fourth drink, you can always go out for drinks with friends afterward to gossip about your date.
6. Trust Your Gut
If something feels off, trust your instincts — it has gotten you this far. This is your sign that if you’re talking to someone and you have a bad feeling about them, avoid engaging any further!
Dating apps are a great way to meet new people. However, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions before meeting up with someone from an app. We hope these tips were helpful, and we want everyone out there who is meeting strangers in any capacity to stay safe! If you have any other safety tips you would like to share, message us on Facebook or email us here!