DateHacks: How to Date Safely
Dating expert Charly Lester streamlines your love life with #DateHacks.
The whole process of dating can be really exciting. It’s very rare in life that you spend a few hours in one-on-one conversation with a stranger.
But it is also important to remember that you are spending time with a stranger. And so here are a few tips to help you stay safe while you’re dating.
Don’t be afraid to do a simple Google check
It’s not inappropriate to ask someone for their last name before you meet up with him or her. These days there’s lots of information about people available online. Whilst it’s nice to wait to hear some of that information first hand from your date, it’s fine to check them out on LinkedIn or Facebook to check they are who they say they are.
Always make sure someone knows where you are
Make sure a friend or flatmate knows when and where you’re meeting your date. Give them basic information about the person you’re meeting and check in, once you’ve met your date, and when you plan to leave. Let someone know what time you plan to be home, and if you live alone, check in with a friend at the end of the night. There are a number of safety apps which you can download so a friend knows where you are at all times.
Meet in a busy, public place & don’t accept a lift
Save secluded, midnight walks for later in your relationship. When you’ve only just met someone, meet in busy bars, restaurants or tourist spots.
If your date offers to pick you up, politely decline. Plan your own transport to and from the date. Never reveal your address to someone you’ve only just met, and drive or use public transport to avoid getting into a car alone with a stranger.
During the date, keep your personal possessions with you
Always make sure you have a phone on you during the date, so that you can be contacted by a friend, or call for help, should you need to. If you’re carrying a handbag, don’t leave your phone, wallet or other personal items unattended during the date. It can be easy to leave it under a table when you pop to the bathroom, however remember you’re spending time with a stranger.
Don’t drink too much
Dutch courage may be an appealing option when you’re panicking about a date, but try not to drink too much. Alternate glasses of wine with glasses of water, or opt to drive if you’re worried your nerves will get the better of you, and you might drink too much. Remember that alcohol not only eclipses nerves, but also lowers inhibitions. And never leave your drink unattended.
Go home alone on the first date
No matter how much someone excites you, don’t rush into sleeping with him or her. At the end of the evening, go home to your own bed, alone. Get to know someone a bit better before you invite him or her to your place, or spend the night at their house. And when you do decide it’s time to get more intimate, remember to play it safe. STIs are real and prevalent in singles circles.
Never be afraid to leave
If you feel uncomfortable, leave. Regardless of whether it’s the first five minutes of the date, or after five hours. If someone does or says something which makes you feel remotely uncomfortable, don’t feel like you can’t just walk away. It’s your life, and your safety. This person is a stranger, and you need to protect yourself, first and foremost.
Charly Lester is one of Britain’s most recognised dating experts. The founder of the UK Dating Awards, her blog 30 Dates is one of the most successful British dating blogs ever. The former Global Head of Dating at Time Out, Charly’s advice has appeared in most national newspapers, and she regularly appears on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
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