In the previous articles on dating we committed to putting our safety first. We learned to keep our private information private, and we put in the effort to qualify persons of interest. Now that we have weeded out obvious unsavory attention we can feel much better about meeting an individual in person. However, even though we did qualify this person, anyone can behave well for a short period of time to get what they want. So we are going to put in the effort to meet up safely while we get a feel for whether or not this person is who we think and hope them to be. We can...
Carry a Personal Safety Device. Any tool you are unwilling to use is a useless tool, so don’t bother if you don’t see yourself using it. For concerns relating to dating we are looking for something to be used close range (this means pepper spray is probably not the best choice). There is no perfect tool, only the right tool for the job and one that is right for you. Get training in anything you choose to carry, especially in retention. We obviously prefer and recommend carrying a KeySlinger.
A KeySlinger is a key chain that allows the holder to use keys in self defense. It's legal, discreet and devastatingly effective. Take it anywhere weapons are forbidden (concerts, schools, airports, courthouses, etc). Find upcoming KeySlinger Self Defense Training here.
Check in with a Trusted Friend. Be sure to keep a trusted (and capable) person in the loop about when and where and how long you expect to be on a date. Let them know when you are on your way and again when you leave. Also, talk to this or another person about the individuals you are choosing to meet and how the date went. Sharing with trusted friends our observations, feelings and experiences makes it more unlikely that we will be able to miss or rationalize telling behavior.
Prep Excuses to Leave. Make a list of a few reasons to leave in a hurry and make the decision to use them, if necessary. Maybe a friend wants to be included. These are helpful anyway just for if the date sucks, but from a safety standpoint give yourself permission to trust, respect and take action on your gut instinct. Refrain from talking yourself out of uncomfortable feelings . If something doesn’t feel right, it’s most often because it’s not.
Meet at a Public Location. They may have a beautiful house on
the lake or offer to take you somewhere secluded and romantic but insist on meeting somewhere public and somewhere that don't usually frequent. Even (and especially) if this person seems to be dreamy, we need to be able to leave on our time and we need to be around other people. An unsafe person can be safe as long as you stay in the public eye.
Stay Sober. Alcohol might take the edge of off those dating jitters, but it also may prevent us from recognizing tell tale signs that this might not be an ideal partner. Not only is it important to consider what we drink but also pay attention to the drink itself. It's always best to get our own drinks and to keep them in sight at all times.
Hopefully, on your first date you will be safe to be worried about every other crazy concern of typical dating. By following the suggestions here and in previous blogs, you will know whether or not this is a safe person for you. However, denial runs deep. These are opportunities for a person to show their true colors, we hope that you are taking care of yourself to be willing to walk away from anything that doesn't serve you. To help, next we will be discussing leaving safely.