Navigating the world of online dating can be daunting. There are many options available but reality and the online profile may not be the same thing. When you are looking to meet someone for a date from an online application or source, there are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that you are safe.
First and foremost, get a name and a phone number. A first name at least, a full name is preferable. Use available tools, such as Garbo background checks, google searches and viewing online profiles to check out the person that you will be meeting. It’s not an invasion, it’s simply a smart move to keep yourself safe. Getting this information out of a dating app or similar after the fact can be difficult to impossible, so get it beforehand.
A few other things before you embark on the date, check out social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and see what information is available. Once you’ve done this, see if you have any mutual friends that you can ask about the person. Having as much knowledge as you can about a person will help keep you safer.
When planning the date, make sure that a friend knows all the details of the occasion, date, time, location. Check in with a friend before you leave and when you get back. If you are nervous, you can always check in more often. Another thing that you can do is have a prearranged code, so that if you need assistance, you can make a casual remark or text that lets the other person know that everything is not ok.
If you are unfamiliar with the location, check it out before the day of the actual date. See what kind of area it is in, how crowded it is likely to be, easy ways to get in or out, and if there are options to leave if the date does not go well. If you are uneasy at all about the location, arrange a different one. Always trust your gut, if something seems off, it is likely to be. To be as safe as possible, you pick a location that you know fairly well. Don’t make it a regular haunt that you go to, but someplace that you have been before and feel comfortable.
Finally, use an app that tracks your location. If things do end up going very wrong, being able to track your location may help people find your phone or where you are. This is hopefully a last ditch mechanism, but it’s just another way to stay as safe as possible.
It takes a little bit of preparation, but by doing so you can relax and enjoy the occasion, rather than worrying about other things. You’ve prepped, you’re safe, enjoy the time together!
Written by: John Paitel, Storm Self Defense & Tactical Fitness
John Paitel is the founder and principal instructor of Storm Self Defense and Tactical fitness, providing self defense seminars and fitness training for the tactical community. A two-time world champion in Tae Kwon Do, he has over 30 years experience in martial arts and teaching others how to effectively implement safety and self-defense techniques.