In the post-COVID age, online dating is the go-to way to find love. With approximately 35 million people in the U.S. on dating apps this year, 57% of women on dating apps believe online dating isn’t safe. While there are numerous success stories of dating apps to find your person, it’s crucial to take those precautionary steps and listen to your gut before taking those flirty messages to real life.
We’ve compiled several tips to help you navigate safely meeting your dating matches in person. Check them out below.
Research your soon-to-be date.
Ensure you ask enough questions and determine if this person is safe to meet. Many dating apps also have the option to hide your last name on your profile, so try to get their last name to do a little sweep to see if what they’re telling you matches what you find on their Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Video chat before you meet up in person.
Once you have matched with a potential date and chatted, schedule a video chat with them before meeting up in person for the first time. This can be a good way to help ensure your match is who they claim to be in their profile. That could be a red flag if they strongly resist a video call.
Keep friends and family in the loop.
Whether grabbing a quick coffee or going out to dinner, let your friends and family know where you are headed, or invite them on the date and have them sit elsewhere. You can also send a screenshot of your date’s profile to a friend. Be sure to text your friends and family members with updates.
Have a personal safety app or button.
Take an extra safety precaution by downloading a smartphone app such as Arlo Safe, which provides a one-tap safety button to instantly connect you to a live, medically trained security expert. When pressed, that expert will send fire, police, or medical help to your location and alert your emergency contacts. With an easy-to-install home screen widget, you can immediately access the safety button, ensuring fast and reliable security when needed.
The Arlo Safe Button accessory fits into the palm of your hand and, with one tap, discreetly alerts live security experts to send help to you. The device pairs seamlessly with your phone and easily clips onto a bag, backpack, purse, or keychain.
Meet in a public place.
For your first date, avoid meeting someone you don’t know well yet in your home, as it might be unsafe. Think of coffee shops, restaurants, or museums for the first date.
Don’t rely on your date for transportation.
Drive yourself or catch an Uber/Lyft. It’s essential to control your transportation to and from the date so you can leave whenever you want and do not have to rely on your date if you feel uncomfortable. Even if the person you’re meeting volunteers to pick you up, avoid getting into a vehicle with someone you don’t know and trust, especially if it’s the first meeting.
Make sure to bring your charger or a portable battery.
Leverage the bartender or waiter.
If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it can help to find an advocate nearby. You can ask the waiter or bartender to help you create a distraction, call the police, or get a safe ride home.
Trust your instincts.
If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and leave the date early or cut off communication with whoever makes you feel unsafe.