Dating Safer: 8 Tips For Your First Dates

February: the time of year when single people are reminded by the looming presence of V-day that society values them more when they are in love. This message can leave many singles (not by choice) feeling like the debilitating force of loneliness is bearing down on them, and sends them sprinting to the dating scene. So for those of you who feel the pull to the dates, particularly with strangers, here’s 8 tips to help keep you safe.

1. Share your location: make sure that at all points of your date, someone is aware of your whereabouts. Whether by literally sharing your location from your device or texting updates to a friend, be sure that someone you trust with access to transportation knows where you are. All it takes is a quick “Ugh we’re going to the new transformers at Draper Cinemark” sent to your roommate or mama, for them to know where to find you if something goes wrong. 

2. Have a way to leave: either offer to drive, meet at a location and drive yourself, download Uber, or have someone on stand-by to pick you up. If your date starts talking about collecting hair, and asking if you’d lost any teeth lately, the last thing you want is to be stranded with no way home, away from their creepy tooth-wanting self. 

3. Plan an escape: Have a plan intact incase you need to b-line from your date. Create a safe-word or pick an emoji with your friends that when sent they know to call you bawling over the death of her non-existent cat, so that you may politely excuse yourself to attend “Fluffy’s funeral”. This works a lot better than the chick-flick climb out the window thing. 

4. Respect YOUR privacy: When dating someone new, be conscious of the information you give out. Perhaps don’t tell them your exact address, or the location of all your classes. You never know if they’ll start showing up outside of your home, work, or school uninvited and unwanted, and soon enough you have a Glenn Close level stalker. I know that may sound dramatic, but one quick Google search will reveal how much creepier people are than we’d like to think.

5.  Public-dates: Go. On. Dates. In. Public!!! Netflix & Chill isn’t chill. When they ask to go on a canyon drive, remember that’s where Bundy took his victims, too. Dating new people can (tragically) be unsafe, so before there’s been developed trust, stay in public places where you are surrounded by other people. It’s much harder for someone to get away with murder at a crowded restaurant than alone in the woods. And it’s a lot easier to find help when surrounded by people as well.

6. Double-dates: I personally LOATHE double dates. I’d rather talk to my friend than my date 95% of the time, and find talking with a new person endlessly more difficult with an audience, but even I can admit I feel safer when a friend I trust is with me. I personally have been saved on a double by a friend when my date became aggressive, and it is so much easier to leave an unsafe situation with support. Double dates are a smart way to date, especially when the date is a stranger.

7. Carry protection: No, not the sexual kind, the weapon kind. I am the proud owner of both a bubblegum-pink taser and pepper-spray, which I keep on my person the majority of time. While they are small, I know that if I were in a confined space, like a car, and I needed a way out, they’d give my 5’2 body a chance at escape. I would never go so far as to suggest getting a gun, but small means of protection can be a way of feeling safe, and providing safety.

8. State your boundaries: Whatever your boundaries are whether it be no-sex until the third date, or no-sex until you’ve been married, state it, openly and clearly at the beginning of the date. This is paramount because your date will do one of two things, they’ll either accept it and move on, or push-back on your boundaries. If they do the latter see numbers 1,2,3,6. Seriously, in the name of one of the best movies this year, GET OUT! Do not spend a minute longer with anyone who disrespects your boundaries, especially not a prospective romantic partner. That's just not cool, and like the movie, they might end up being a real psycho who wants to unlawfully and immorally use your body. 

Dating around can be hard for many reasons, it’s awkward, and vulnerable, and all around bumpy. So the last thing anyone wants is to feel unsafe. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the reality for people (particularly women) is that dating can be dangerous, so take precaution, be prepared, and have fun. Otherwise, what's the point?

 Photo Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8