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Sex + Relationships

4 Things to Find Out About Someone Before Meeting for a Date

All my anxious girls out there know that those heart-pounding hours leading up to a first date can be pretty high-stress. You’ve figured out the perfect outfit and hairstyle, checked all things in the hygiene department and mentally prepped some last-resort conversation fillers if it all hits the fan. But before you head out the door with fingers crossed, read these pre-date words of wisdom and check that you aren’t headed to dinner with an axe murderer (kidding, but also not kidding).

1. Safety first

The first and most important item on every pre-date checklist is to make sure that you aren’t putting your well-being at risk. If this is a first date situation, no matter how convinced you are that your date won’t be sketchy, why be unprepared? Tell a trusted friend the name of the restaurant or theater you’re headed to and ask them to keep their ringer on just in case you get uncomfortable and need a ride home.

When it comes to setting up meetings through dating apps, proceed with caution, just because scams and web-predators are unfortunately a thing. Even if you’re only seeking out dates with college-students, the reality is that questionable and scary stuff can still go down. Now this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself and relax on your date night, but always be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut. If you get a funny feeling in your stomach that something isn’t right, listen to your intuition.

2. Is it a date? Or something else…

This might seem like a no-brainer, but, especially among our technology-reliant generation, it is easy for intentions to get mistaken. Whether you’re under the impression that your meet up is prefacing a chill hook-up or you believe they have serious SO potential, make sure that you have a clear sense of their expectations (and your own) from the start. By no means do you have to get crazy and reveal your future wedding plans and favorite baby names, but if you are looking for more than just hooking-up, it’s vital that you know if they are too.

In college where hookup culture is the norm, it sometimes feels like there are a lot more students opting for a “‘Netflix and Chill” session than actual relationships. If you aren’t into that, don’t set yourself up for what you know will just be a one-night fling if what you want is the real deal.

Related: 5 First-Date Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

3. What’s on the itinerary?

You’re all glammed-up for the night, looking bomb AF in your new dress and leg-flaunting wedges – but, hold up, your date is taking you to a trampoline park instead of that cute new restaurant? With your nerves already buzzing, the last thing you need is to be blindsided about what you will actually be doing on this evening out. Before committing to a date, get a sense of what you will be doing so you can dress appropriately.

If you’re going on a date with someone, chances are you have something in common. Knowing a few of your dates likes and dislikes when it comes to activities and what not is probably not a bad idea, as it will likely give you some insight into what your night together might entail. Maybe you both bonded over your lowkey obsessions with mini-golf or bowling, or perhaps you agree that an oldies movie marathon is the ideal hangout. While a little mystery never hurts, to avoid any last-minute stress or wardrobe malfunctions, talk to your date beforehand to make sure you A) have a plan and B) are both down for it!

4. Just the basics

While the aforementioned tips do contradict this last one to an extent, keep in mind that one of the best parts about a new date is the unknown! With the click of a keyboard or the swipe of a finger you can access anything and everything you’d ever want to know about someone. But is that what you really want? Aside from doing a little preliminary investigating online and amongst friends to verify that they likely aren’t a criminal, what else do you really need to know? If you haven’t already stalked the hell out of their Instagram or started keeping tabs on their Twitter, don’t do it! Your lack of familiarity with their social media is a gift. I mean, how often is it these days that our first connections are face-to-face and not on the web? Not very often. You may find it refreshing to take the old-school route and actually try to get to know your potential new beau in person without any online influences.

If your willpower ends up crumbling and you end up spending the hours before your date scrolling through their feed, it isn’t the end of the world. However, be aware of the fact that the wakeboard-legend/dog-rescuer/chef-apprentice you just “met” on Instagram may not be as shiny and perfect in person. 

A Minnesota native, Samantha is a feature writer for Her Campus and a senior at the University of Michigan, where she majors in international studies and minors in business. Apart from her time spent writing, Samantha can be found indulging in any and all desserts, enjoying a rare sunny day in the Ann Arbor winter, or rewatching her favorite films. You can follow Samantha on Instagram @sammienel
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