How to Stay Safe When Online Dating
Be cautious with your personal information
‘When dating online or in person, be wary of anyone who seems to be asking for a lot of your personal informal early on. Don’t share any details such as your address, birth date or financial information.
If a match is asking a lot of questions of this type, let them know that you’re not comfortable sharing that information and report them if you have any suspicions about their true motives.’
Arrange to meet in a public place
‘Even if they claim to make the best pasta in town, never meet someone for the first time at their home and don’t invite them to yours. Arrange to meet somewhere that’s busy and in public such as a restaurant or coffee shop that you’re comfortable in.’
Tell a friend
‘If you’re planning to meet an online date for the first time, be sure to tell a friend or family member who you’re meeting, when and where. If you have an iPhone you could also share you location on the app Find My Friends. Check in with a friend during the date or ask them to call you at a specific time to check on you.’
Don’t Get Drunk or Tipsy
Let me be clear about this: alcohol doesn’t assault people, people assault people. That said, I think most of us know from experience that it’s much more difficult to stay aware of your surroundings and make good choices when you’re drunk as hell. (Also, hangovers are the worst.) So instead of drinking five beers in five hours like I once did on a date, maybe stick to one nerve-settling glass of wine.
Consider Carrying Pepper Spray
Not everyone is comfortable with carrying a weapon, and that’s fine. Personally, I’m a fan of pepper spray, and I carry it with me often. I’ve never actually had to use it, and I hope I never need to, but it does make me feel safer.
If you’re looking for ways to feel safer while dating online, then you might want to start carrying the stuff, too. Just, you know, make sure you learn how to use it first
Don’t be afraid to leave
‘If your date is making you feel uncomfortable, leave. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just sat down or enjoyed a three-course dinner with them. If they do or say anything which makes you feel uneasy, walk away. This person is a stranger and you need to protect yourself, first and foremost.’
Travel there and back by yourself
‘If your date offers to pick you up at home, politely decline. Plan your own route to and from your date so that you remain completely in control at all times. This also means you’re not relying on someone else to dictate how long the date lasts if you need to make an early escape’