Safety Tips To Follow While Meeting:
Online dating has seen a huge spike over the pandemic. Popular dating sites such as Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Hinge, and others have seen a sharp rise in users since 2020. It has offered single people an excellent chance to mingle even when bars, clubs, and other common meeting spaces are closed.
It is also a great way to get to know a person, basic test compatibility, and even filter out red flags before spending time and effort dating them. However, with the rise of catfishing to violent crimes, online dating also comes with its share of risks. Here are a few safety tips to follow while meeting an internet date.
Meet At A Neutral Location:
For your first date, always choose a neutral location, not either of your homes. Choose a space far from your home, work, school, or any place you frequent on a routine, yet preferably connected by public transport.
This reduces the chance of being followed easily if something goes south. A close date home not only gives the person a chance to scope out your locality and its weak points but also increases the probability of coming across a neighbor who might be the link to you.
Go For A Public Place:
Opt for a public place like a shopping mall, restaurant, bar, coffee shop, popularly frequented park or similar space that sees people’s decent footfall. Always stick to populated, well-lit areas and avoid secluded spots and roads. This is crucial for safety, as you always want people around if you feel unsafe and need help.
Another great thing about popular places is that they usually have cameras, which offers you basic safety as nothing goes unrecorded. In case of any trouble, you will always have a recording to fall back on as a piece of evidence. Even most dating sites recommend users to stick to public spaces only for the duration of their date.
Take Your Transport:
Do not depend on your date for your transport; instead, take your vehicle or opt for public transport. If you have no other option of transport to get to a space of comfort and safety, you end up being dependent on the other person and their whim.
If you feel uncomfortable, you won’t end the date and getaway. Moreover, if the date does not go as expected of both parties, you might end up being stranded if your date decides to be petty and refuses to drop you back. Moreover, getting into a car with a stranger is highly unsafe. It also gives them access to your address and unwanted control over the date.
Do Not Share Personal Information:
It is tempting to build a connection and open up to your date, but take your time before you open up. Do not share everything the first time you meet yourself.
Avoid disclosing personal information such as your home address, family or parent’s address, work, schedule, and other little details that can be used to stalk or locate your easily. Simply connecting well over one date does not give one the privilege of knowing such information.
Moreover, keeping some mystery is good and does not overload information on the first date itself.
Avoid Getting Drunk:
Getting inebriated lowers your inhibitions and reflexes, making you an easy target if your date has potentially nefarious plans. If you decide to go for a drink, make sure you have no more alcohol than you can handle. Always keep an eye on your drink and never leave it unattended.
Sip your alcohol slowly, and order cocktails or light drinks that do not get you drunk easily. Staying sober also offers you a better chance of connecting and noticing little details that can help you build a better idea about the person. If your date insists you drink more, it is ideally considered a red flag to be wary of.
Refuse To Be Escorted:
End your date at a neutral and public location instead of moving to your or your date’s place. Please get to know them better before you can trust them enough to know that you will be safe being inside a house alone with them. On your first or early dates, part ways from a safe space and politely refuse if your date offers to escort you home or work. This gives them access to your location and makes you a vulnerable target. It is unwise to share
your personal information, such as your address with a stranger, until you know them enough.
Inform Trusted People:
Whenever you go on a first date with someone you have never met, it is smart to inform a few trusted people who can keep a tab on you or even help you bail out of the date, if needed. You can also use a tracker app to help you choose, and trusted individuals track your location as long as you choose to share. Inform them if your plans change and you decide to move to a different location so they can check up on you if your location changes unexpectedly. Instruct them to inform the police or authorities in case they are unreachable.
Trust Your Gut Feeling:
Lastly, keep your eyes open while you are on the date, and do not ignore if you feel the slightest bit off. Often people experience a feeling they cannot explain, which is mostly right. Trust yourself and listen to your gut feeling, however faint or unexplained it is to you.
This will help you identify potential red flags and help you make a run if needed. It is better to be safe than be sorry. Always have an excuse handy if you need to get out of the date. An online date can be the beginning of something romantic and beautiful. However, taking a few precautions is important and staying safe while meeting someone you have met
on the internet.