The majority of people you’ll meet on dating apps or dating sites will actually turn out to be who they say they are. Total imposters are rare, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. What’s more common is people misrepresenting themselves or using the internet to seem like entirely different people, even though their names and faces are the same. You never really know until you meet and get to know someone. If you’re about to meet your online date for the first time, there are a few things you should do to make sure you’re safe – and to make sure you don’t get stuck in a terrible date when it’s really time to go home and call it a night.
- Research The Person
Conducting a full background check on your date might be a bit much, but it’s worth knowing whether or not you’re dating someone with a violent or criminal past. Start by checking local databases. If you can’t find anything, search further. Someone may not have been convicted of a crime in Victoria, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a record in New South Wales. A criminal lawyer may be able to look up broader information for you.
- Pick a Safe Location
As fun and informal as Netflix may feel, you don’t want to be stuck in your house with a stranger, or even worse, stuck in an entirely unfamiliar place. You need to be somewhere safe. Pick a well lit location for your first date – preferably in a place where plenty of other people will be. Some people get wise and invite their friends to the same location. While their friends are having fun and staying away from the date, they’re keeping an eye on the daters. It’s a great safety strategy.
- Create an Itinerary and Tell Several People
If you have to go it alone, make sure other people know where you’re going. Text a friend your plans. Send them your date’s photo and name, tell them when you’re going, where you’re going, and if you have a rough idea, when you intend to return. If something changes along the way (like the restaurant was crowded so you changed your eatery, or you ran late and missed a movie showing), let them know. Make sure to text that friend to let them know you made it back safely.
- Thoroughly Prepare
Bring a backup battery bank for your phone and a little more cash than you think you need. You never know if your phone might die (maybe you wind up watching tons of cute cat videos with your date) or if you’ll need to take a cab home. Some people, especially women, feel safer carrying a mini pepper spray in their purses. This is a good idea even if you trust your date – you never know when you might need to defend yourself.
- Have a Backup Plan
If you feel uncomfortable, or are just having a dull time, you might want a way to exit the situation. Inform a friend or two before you go that you might need a bailout. A scheduled text or call from a friend can get you out of an awkward or unsafe date. If your friends don’t hear from you by a certain time, ask them to call you with a fake emergency or request for help. You can exit the situation easier when you have an urgent excuse.
If your date turns out to be amazing, you can tell them later and laugh together about all of the precautions you took. If you never see that person again, you’ll be happy you thought so far ahead.
About the Author
Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.