Safe dating advice
1. Meeting Online
Think about your email address or user name. A fun sexy name may be successful at attracting ‘dates’ but will they be the type of date you really want to meet?
Consider setting up a separate email address purely for dating purposes
Be careful that the photo you use gives the impression that you want it to – (if you show a sexy or provocative photo, you are far more likely to attract people who are just after sex as opposed to a genuine relationship).
Make sure it’s an up-to-date photo and genuinely representative of you. It would be annoying and disappointing for yourself if you arrived to meet your date to find them completely different from their photo and description, so avoid any animosity by not doing to same to them.
Avoid giving out your full name, phone numbers, address or any other form of identification, until you have met the person and are comfortable about them. Don’t feel pressured into doing so just because they give you their details.
If you receive any correspondence that makes you feel threatened or uncomfortable, do not reply. Report!
Trust your instinct. If someone ‘just doesn’t feel right’, then there is probably a very good reason for this. Don’t take this ‘relationship’ any further.
Avoid anyone who wants to talk about sex or finances before you’ve even met them.
Be wary of anyone who declares undying love within hours of meeting them – either online or in person.
You can’t expect the other person to give out any personal identification or contact information on initial contact, but try to find out as much as possible about what they do for a job/what they study; what their hobbies and likes and dislikes are. If they are evasive or inconsistent in their answers, there may well be something wrong and it would be wise to avoid taking this any further.
2.Meeting in person
You have the right to wear what you wish. However, think about whether your clothing is giving the right messages about you. If you choose to wear a very revealing or perhaps scruffy outfit to your first meeting, think about the reaction you might receive from the person you are meeting and others who may be around. Are these the messages you intend to give?
Make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are meeting and arrange to call them when you have returned safely. When you meet your date, tactfully let them know that someone has this information.
Think about how you are getting to your venue and even more importantly, how you are going to get home afterwards. It’s always wise to make these decisions before you drink alcohol, as this may cloud your judgement. We can all feel invincible after a few drinks!
Watch how much you drink on your first few dates. Alcohol can seriously affect your ability to make safe judgements so either avoid it altogether or stick well within your limit. Remember you need to stay in control when you are with someone you don’t know well.
Consider what you might do if you really feel uneasy or uncomfortable when you meet your date – plan a safe exit strategy to get yourself away safely should you feel this necessary.
If possible, arrange for a friend to call you half an hour into the date. You could then use this as an excuse to get away from the date early if necessary, eg. you could say there is a family emergency and you have to go immediately.
Be careful not to leave personal belongings with them when you go to the loo or up to the bar. They could be stolen or they could give information to the other person as to your address etc.
To ensure that your drink is not spiked with either drugs or extra alcohol, never leave your drink unattended and make sure you see your drink being poured.
If someone is making you uncomfortable or making it difficult for you to shake them off when you want to go home eg. they insist in taking you home/ordering your cab, then either go to the loo and call a friend to come and collect you or speak to the staff at the meeting venue and tell them your concerns.
Never accept a lift home from your date or share a taxi with them where you will be dropped off first, no matter how nice they seem. Get to know them better before you let them know where you live. Also, be careful if you are booking a taxi home not to give out your address in front of them.
If you are arranging to travel to another town or city to meet someone – or if they are travelling to meet you – never arrange to stay at each other’s home. Book into a hotel or B & B for the first few dates. If your ‘date’ offers to pick you up at the station to run you to your hotel, make an excuse. It’s a really bad idea to get into a car alone with someone you don’t know well.
Even if you like them and want to set up another date, don’t be tempted to meet them alone or give out all your contact details at this stage. Arrange another few dates in the same way as above and get them to meet your friends and try and meet theirs before finding yourself alone with them. If your date is genuine, they will understand that you need to consider your safety and they will want you to feel safe.