Today, many couples meet through the popular medium of internet dating. You’ve perused countless profiles, exchanged ‘winks’ and emails, chatted on the phone and now you’ve arranged that first date! Have fun and stay safe by following a few simple tips.
1. Keep it public:
Never invite your date to your home or arrange to go to theirs. Always choose to meet in a public place such as a bar or restaurant. If things go wrong, you’ve plenty of people around you as a safety net. Even if you’re both into walking, a trip to a remote forest with no-one around for miles is not a good idea for the first time you meet.
If your date tries to insist on a more private location for your first meeting or suggests an odd time, cancel and walk away. There is clearly something going on here that you need to be suspicious and wary of.
2. No secrets:
Always tell someone about your date. Let them know the details of your meeting; where, when and at what time. As an additional precaution, arrange to call them midway through the date to let them know that you’re okay and when the date is over and you’re on your way home. That way, if you fail to call, your family or friend will be aware that something may have gone wrong.
Make sure your date knows that you’ve given full details of your meeting to a friend or family member. Give his/her contact details to them as well, just in case.
3. Dress code:
It’s taken for granted that you’ll want to look good for your date but remember that first impressions do count. Ladies should not have acres of leg and cleavage on display as this really does create the wrong impression. Aim for classy, rather than sexy and definitely not tarty!
4. Make your own way:
If your date suggests picking you up, insist that you’ll make your own way. If you don’t drive, get a friend or family member to take you; take public transport or a taxi. If you’re not able to make it to the venue under your own stream, don’t go.
Make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged up and switched on and if you decide mid-date to change locations, text your friend/family member and tell them where you’re going. It’s also a good tactic to have someone call you an hour or so into the date. If things are going well, there’s no problem but if it’s turning into a nightmare, you can use their call as an excuse to leave.
6. Stay sober!:
Don’t be tempted to have too much to drink, even if you’re nervous and feeling in need of some Dutch courage. Excessive drinking is very poor dating etiquette and it’s also potentially very dangerous as your judgement may be impaired.
Gents should be wary here too. There have been many accusations of date-rape made in the cold light of day when your date sobers up and realises what she’s done.
7. Personal possessions:
Remember that your date is in effect a stranger and don’t leave personal possessions like your handbag or wallet unattended at any time. Do not risk having your personal details taken or your drink tampered with.
8. Body talk:
Body language is very revealing and should always be heeded.
If your date is all over you like a badly fitting suit (and this goes for ladies as well as gents) within the first 10 minutes of meeting, then it’s likely they behave like that with every date they have! Whilst it’s flattering to know that they find you attractive, you do have to ask yourself if they really think you’re something special or just another potential notch on their bedpost!
Displays of aggression, anger or any attempts to pressure you into going somewhere or doing something you do not want to do should set alarm bells ringing. If your instincts tell you that something is wrong; leave.
If you feel uncomfortable at any time; tell someone, a waitress, barman, other diner – anyone! If you don’t feel happy walking to your car alone with your date, call a taxi from your location and collect your car another time.
Long distance dates:
Sometimes your ideal date may live hundreds of miles away or even overseas. Just like dating locally, be sensible and stay safe.
9. Use a hotel:
Never accept an invitation to stay at someone’s house no matter how nice they seem over the phone and email. Stay in a hotel. If you can’t afford a hotel, don’t go. Don’t reveal the exact name and location of your hotel to your date until you are completely happy that their intentions are good. Make sure you tell a friend or family member where you are going, let them know you’ve arrived safely and keep in regular contact to reassure them that all’s well.
If you have flown, always take a taxi to and from the airport. Don’t be tempted to get into your date’s own vehicle or let them take your luggage. Many people meet long-term partners or even future spouses through internet dating and anyone worth meeting will understand your caution and respect you all the more for being sensible.