To begin with, take the time to get to know your potential date. After contacting each other through a site make sure to spend some time emailing back and forth before even sharing a phone number. Once you speak on the phone, take a little time to screen your potential date and get to know him.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because you have talked to someone on the phone for a while. You are still meeting a stranger so you must take precautions. Make sure to always follow these tips.
1) Trust your gut. Most people are encouraged to disregard their intuitive process for a more logical one. This is a huge mistake. In his book The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker hypothesizes that intuition is really created from reading hundreds of subtle logical signs around us and drawing quick conclusions. He says that intuition is actually a cognitive process that is superior to logical thought.
2) Never get into a car with your date. Keep in mind, no matter how many times you emailed, IMed, G Chatted, Facebooked or BBMed he is still a stranger. As soon as you get into a car you have lost your power. Once inside, your date can take you anywhere and do anything with you. Don’t take that chance, even if it seems romantic to let him drive you home.
3) Give a friend all the information you have before a date. Make sure that a good friend knows where you are going and what time you will be home. You should also share all identifying information you have about your date such as his online profile, place of employment, phone number, etc. before leaving for the date. 4) Do a mini background check. You don’t have to do a formal background check but at the very least you should check out his Facebook page, twitter, website, and do a Google search. You would be amazed by how many women have discovered that their online Casanova was married just by checking Facebook.
5) Meet in a public place for your date. Meet in a public populated area. You should have people nearby in case things don’t feel safe at any point.
6) Stay sober. Alcohol can really impair your judgment both in terms of picking a good date and deciding where to go after the date. A date is a job interview. You are interviewing your date for the potential job of boyfriend or husband. Don’t drink on the job.
7) Be selective about the dating sites you use. The more time, energy or money a person has to put into enrolling and creating a profile, the less likely a prankster is to use it. A site that requires a credit card to pay means that your date is potentially traceable.
8) Look for red flags. While people are generally on their best behavior on first dates, sometimes clues emerge that indicate someone who is not safe. Keep an eye out for people who:
- Look dramatically different than their photo
- Don’t answer questions directly
- Contradict something in their profile or that they told you on the phone
- Come on too strong or is not respectful of boundaries
- Treat the wait staff poorly by being demeaning, critical or difficult
- Make disrespectful comments to or about you
- Ask you for personal information (home address, bank account information, etc.)