Play the Safe Dating Game

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If you’ve already been on a few first dates, you can become a little complacent about your personal safety.  After all, nothing’s gone wrong before so why should you worry this time around?

Well, chances are that things will go just as smoothly as they have done in the past but you shouldn’t ever forget that there are violent and dishonest people out there – and they are always on the lookout for an unsuspecting victim.

Of course, we’re not saying that you should allow fears about crime to turn you into a hermit who avoids new people and unknown places!

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After all, you could just as easily become the victim of a random mugging or house burglary – but if you are meeting someone you don’t know very well, it makes sense to take basic precautions.

So, follow our tips for Keeping Safe on a Date …..

  1. If you have arranged the date through a dating or introduction agency, check whether it undertakes any checks or vetting of new members. If you use an online dating service, never give your email address to someone until you’ve chatted a few times online or sent messages through the site.
  2. ALWAYS arrange the first date at a busy central location. So, if your date suggests meeting at a cark park so you can car-share into town, politely decline the offer. Ditto if he says he’ll collect you from your home address. Yes, it could be that he’s simply a real gentleman who believes in treating his date well – but your parents’ advice holds good whatever your age – never get into a car with a stranger! (Violence apart, giving out your address could put you at risk of a burglary since an accomplice would know that you’re going to be out at a certain time.)
  3. NEVER give out detailed personal information in an online profile – such as where you live or that you live alone in a flat with your cats!
  4. During the date, make sure you never leave a drink unattended. If you need to go the toilet, finish your drink before leaving the table. If your date offers to get you another while you’re gone, simply say you aren’t sure if you want the same again. Date-rape does happen and your drink could be spiked while you’re gone.
  5. Make sure the person you meet doesn’t get sight of anything with your address details and it goes without saying that you should never leave your house keys unattended. They could be stolen or copied.
  6. Always tell a friend where you are going and arrange to text them when you arrive and again when you leave.  Although it’s not always possible, it’s good if you can meet in a bar when you know friends will be at another table – or maybe you could set up a double date with a friend?
  7. Never allow a new date to take you home. The best idea is to arrange a lift home from a friend. If that’s not possible then get a taxi – but make sure you ring the taxi company yourself. (Fake taxi drivers exist in reality – not just in the movies!)
  8. You’ll obviously want to tell your date a bit about yourself – but don’t be too specific until you know each other better.  Life will be so much easier for a stalker if she knows the name of your local pub or the community centre where you play five-a-side football every Thursday night!
  9. If possible, arrange a lunchtime date because that way you can set a leaving time and it won’t be difficult to get away. Don’t agree to extend first meetings – for example by going for a walk in the park after lunch.
  10. Don’t give your landline phone number to anyone until you get to know them.  Use your mobile to receive calls and if you ring someone from your landline, make sure you withhold your number. If the person is happy to be telephoned at work that will allow you to confirm their identity before you meet.
  11. Don’t drink too much! Know your limit and stick to it. Alcohol impairs your judgement. (At best you could make a fool of yourself and at worst, you might end up making wrong decisions.) If you end up staying out for longer than expected, alternate your usual poison with water or soft drinks.
  12. Remember, ALWAYS trust your instincts. If anything seems out of the ordinary or makes you uncomfortable – or your date tells you something that contradicts what they’ve said online or by phone – make your exit as soon as possible.

It could simply be that they invented a few facts during early conversations in the hope of impressing you – but why take the risk?

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