Meeting Someone Offline For the First Time? Here’s How to Stay Safe
Meeting someone for the first time can be exciting, but more than a little scary. Reports estimate that there are over 8,000 dating apps and sites available today and more than 50 million Americans have tried online dating at least once in their lives. Should those online connections turn into real-life dates, you need to know how to keep yourself safe.
Countless people meet up for dates without anything bad ever happening. Unfortunately, there are those rare cases where your safety might be put in jeopardy. If you’re one of the millions of people trying to move a date online to real life, follow these safety tips to better protect yourself.
Do plenty of research
It might seem a bit stalker-ish to look up your date before meeting them, but this is essential in keeping yourself safe. One of the best ways to protect yourself is by doing research online to ensure your date is legit.
Have you ever seen the show Catfish? A wildly high number of people fall in love online only to be shocked when their date isn’t who they say they are. If you think a profile seems too good to be true, you might want to perform a reverse image search and look up their social media profiles. This is easier than trying to figure out “how do car loans work?” Instead of sifting through automobile jargon, watching the names that are associated with phone numbers and profiles can help clue you in to who this person actually is.
You can also rely on sites that perform background checks. If you happen to know your date’s first and last name, that’s all you need to see if they were a Cook County inmate before meeting them in person. If your date has a criminal history, this is a huge indication that you should stop talking to them and cancel your date.
Meet somewhere public
Dating apps are notorious for being “hookup” apps, but you can’t let your libido get the best of you: be sure your first couple of dates are in public places. If you get a bad feeling about someone when you meet, having strangers around you for support can offer a layer of protection. It also ensures that you can gain assistance if you need help, especially if there’s drinking involved.
Keep in mind that even the shadiest of people can seem normal when you first meet them. That’s why you should meet in public places for your first few dates. You should also provide your own transportation. If your date offers you a ride, they could use this as an opportunity to coerce or trap you into a situation you don’t want to be in. Charge your cell phone so you can call a loved one or a rideshare app and refuse to go anywhere alone with them if you don’t want to.
Keep your loved ones in the loop
Online dating still carries a stigma that many people hate. This can cause some online daters to keep important information from their loved ones. When it comes to your safety, however, communication is key. You should always tell your loved ones when you’re going on a date with someone new. This includes the time of the date, who it is with, and where you are going.
Keep your cell phone handy and be sure to check in with them periodically throughout your date. If you need to make an emergency exit, your friends will be ready to come get you. If they don’t hear from you, they can also visit the location of your date to come get you. While no one wants to think about these horrible possibilities, you should always play it safe.
Your safety is the most important thing, especially when you’re meeting a stranger online for the first time. Follow these tips to make sure you are never caught off-guard.