There are certain things we tend to worry about before going on a blind date (FYI Tinder dates count, too). What should I wear? What sort of a person will the guy be? Will he like me? Will we have anything in common?
But the most important thing to remember (sorry to be a buzzkill, but it’s true) is that you’re meeting up with a stranger – and your safety is the priority. Without getting anxious – because he’s probably a fun guy who’s also nervous, too – take notes on these tips so you get home safe.
Before you agree to the date
- Find out as much as you can about your date. Watch out for inconsistencies or contradictions in what he says about himself – these could indicate he’s not being honest.
- Ask for a photo. Not only will this help you spot him when you arrive (FYI: great excuse to ask for a pic, too) but according to Match.com, if he makes excuses about why you can’t see a photo, it’s possible that he has something to hide. Once you get a pic, send it to a friend you trust, so they also have some background on your date, just in case.
- Until you’re sure you can trust him, be careful what info you share. Things to definitely keep quiet about: personal details like your surname, street address or place of work.
- Arrange to meet him in a public place, such as a busy restaurant. Even better: a lunch date gives you the excuse to return to work, where colleagues will quickly pick up if you’ve gone missing. One thing’s for sure: never, ever agree to meet first at his place – or yours.
Before you go
Let a friend know where you’ll be going, what time you plan on getting home and how she can contact you. Also, give her your date’s name and contact number. Ask her to check in on you about an hour into the date, so you have a way to make an excuse and leave if you need to.
If possible, you could even ask a friend to meet you at the venue after the date. That way, your date can leave before you do, eliminating the risk that he may try to follow you home. Also, if potential-bae sticks around, he can meet your friend and lose some of the anonymity that can be dangerous on blind dates.
On the date
- Arrive in your own car, and leave in your own. No car? Use Uber where your journey is trackable. You’ll also feel empowered to leave on your own if you’re uncomfortable or, frankly, just not having any fun.
- First impressions count. ‘Trust your intuition,’ says COSMO’s self-defence expert Sanette Smit. ‘Your gut instinct is seldom wrong.’ If you get the feeling something isn’t right, make an excuse and leave.
- Don’t drink too much. We know, we know – blind-date nerves are gonna be killing you, but ‘you need to be in control of your senses at all times,’ says police spokesperson Elliot Sinyangana. And protect yourself against the possibility of your drink being spiked. ‘Keep an eye on your glass,’ says Smit. If you’re in a bar, order your drinks from a waiter or get them yourself. If you leave the table to use the bathroom, she advises, finish your drink first and take your handbag with you.
If things go wrong
Don’t feel obliged to stay if you feel awkward. If you’re really scared, excuse yourself, say you’re going to the bathroom and leave. Alternatively, alert a member of staff at the bar or restaurant – all can help you stay safe and ensure other people know where you are, and if you need help.
‘Never worry or feel embarrassed about your behaviour,’ say the experts at Match.com. ‘Your safety is much more important than one person’s opinion of you.’ Besides, if he doesn’t understand you looking out for yourself and rather being safe than sorry, he’s an asshole and he doesn’t deserve a second date. Simple.