Meeting your date in person
After chatting to someone online for a while, you may feel like you know them well. Despite this feeling, you can never truly know someone you have never met; therefore they are still relatively a stranger to you. It is always a good idea to be cautious, regardless of how well you think you know your date. Never allow yourself to forget that safety is your number one priority. Having said that, the whole idea of the date is to enjoy yourself and hopefully have a connection with the person you have arranged to meet. Meeting your date will bring mixed emotions including excitement and feeling nervous, but don’t let these feelings get in the way of your safety. Read our following guidance on how to stay safe when meeting your date for the first time.
Meet in a public area
Always meet your date in a well known public place that is well lit, if at night, and where there are other people about. If you are unfamiliar with the chosen location either ask if it can be changed if you don’t feel comfortable, or visit it days before the date to become familiar with the area. If you are meeting in a bar or restaurant you don’t know, it is often a good idea to take a look around beforehand to familiarise yourself with the surroundings.
Tell friends and family
It is important that you inform your friends and family where you are going on your date and who you will be meeting. It is also recommended that you tell them what time you are meeting your date and roughly what time you will be home. That way you can arrange a time to phone them, or for them to phone you, to let them know you are home safely. You could always phone your friends or family during the date to let them know all is fine. If the date location is changed at the last minute, always make sure you inform others of the change, just to make sure they know where you are.
Take a mobile phone with you
Make sure you take a mobile phone with you, even if you have to borrow one from a friend. You never know when you will need one, so make sure it is fully charged.
Sort out your own travel arrangements
Whether you meet locally or further a field, always make your own travel arrangements. It isn’t a good idea to have your date make the arrangements for you, or for them to pick you up. Meet them at the date venue at the time planned. The same applies for the journey home. Don’t let them take you home. Make your own travel arrangements home, whether a friend picks you up at an arranged time, or you book a taxi. If you drive yourself, make sure you are parked in a well lit car park, preferably one that is quite busy. If you are meeting someone who lives a long way from you and you are required to stay in a hotel over night, always book the hotel room yourself and confirm the booking beforehand. Never allow your date to make the hotel arrangements for you.
Don’t drink too much
You risk putting yourself in danger if you become drunk. You don’t want to impair your judgement and even make a fool of yourself. Try to avoid alcoholic drinks on a first date, or limit it to just one drink.
Never leave your personal possessions or drink unattended
Always have your drink and personal belongings with you, or in sight. By leaving your drink unattended you risk having it spiked. If you need to use the toilet, take your drink with you, or even leave it somewhere where you can collect it on the way back. Alternatively wait until you have finished your drink before you visit the toilet. The same applies with your personal belongings. You may trust your new date, but you don’t want to risk them looking in your bag and obtaining your personal details, or even stealing from you. Keep your bag with you at all times.
Don’t let yourself get carried away
Regardless of how much fun you have on a date, always be sensible. If your date implies they wish to go home with you, or ask you to go home with them, always decline the offer on a first date. You hardly know them, despite enjoying their company, and you don’t know what danger you could put yourself in. If they don’t take no for an answer, then go back to a public area, or the venue you have just been to and stay there with a member of staff until it is safe to leave. It is a good idea to have a friend come and meet you if this situation occurs.
Arrange another date
If you have a successful date, then there is no reason not to arrange another one there and then. Only arrange another date if you enjoyed yourself and felt comfortable being with your new friend.
An unsuccessful date
Don’t feel pressurised into arranging another date. If you don’t have a good time, don’t pretend it was the best date you have ever been on. It isn’t fair on them to let them think it was successful. If you decide to tell them there and then that it didn’t work for you, make sure there are other people about as you don’t know what their reaction will be. Alternatively you could send them an email or message using the online dating service informing them that it didn’t work for you and you don’t wish to arrange another date. Always remember to thank them for the date, regardless of its success.