If you’re looking for love on a dating app (or several), there will hopefully come a time when you decide to meet up with your matches in person. That’s great – it could lead to a lasting relationship or at the very least, an interesting evening that leaves you with a story to tell your friends later. However, it’s important that you take precautions when going out with someone you don’t really know. Here’s how to protect yourself when taking your dating app relationship into the real world.
- Do some research first. You probably don’t need to be told this, but it’s still good practice. Plug your date’s name into Google (and yes, you should know their first and last name if you’re going on a date with them). Dig around and see what you can find, not to spy on them or find out creepy personal details but to see if there’s anything alarming that pops up that might indicate you’re better off skipping out. After all, you never know what you could uncover: previous arrest records or convictions, horror stories from exes, etc…
- Meet in a public place. Again, this should go without saying. In order to protect yourself, please don’t meet up with a dating app match at his apartment or yours or in an otherwise private place where there aren’t a lot of other people around. Plan to go for coffee or some dinner or even to attend an event where a lot of other people around. This is vital to ensure your safety. Regardless of how much you think you know this guy, you don’t quite yet. Take precautions.
- Make sure people know where you are. Let your parents, siblings, your best friends, and/or your roommates know where you’re going and with whom before you leave. Make sure they have a link to his profile on whatever dating app you met him on, any relevant info on what time you’re meeting up, and maybe even give someone the ability to track you via your phone for the evening.
- Avoid giving too much personal information right away. When you have an immediate connection with someone, it can be tempting to spill the beans on all the details of your life right away. However, avoid doing this with your dating app match right away in order to protect yourself. Don’t tell him exactly where you live or work or any other information that could allow him to track you down outside your date. This might sound paranoid, but trust me, it’s important.
- Read the red flags. You’re a smart woman so make sure you use that intelligence when on your date. Look out for any worrying behavior that could indicate that this guy is trouble. If he gives off any red flags – overstepping boundaries, acting overly familiar, being pushy despite your obvious discomfort – take those as a sign to get away from him as soon as possible.
- Trust your instincts. At the end of the day, the best way to protect yourself is to listen to your gut and trust your instincts. If something is telling you that something is off with this guy, listen to that voice inside yourself and get out as soon as possible. Just make sure to get home safely.