Picture this: You’ve been swiping left and right on dating apps, and you might have found your perfect match. After safely exchanging messages, you’re ready to meet in person. It’s exciting. It’s nerve-wracking. It could also be unsafe since you met online.
Photo: @cetetreault | Instagram, SABRE Ambassador
Meeting someone for a first date should be a fun experience, but you should also take precautions to protect yourself. The next time you meet up with a potential partner from a dating app, remember these online dating safety tips to help keep yourself safe.
1. Meet at a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop
You’ve heard it before, but this is a crucial step for staying safe when you’re dating. When you're meeting someone for the first time, it’s better to keep your personal information, like where you live, private. If your date offers to pick you up or call you an Uber, even though it may seem romantic, they’ll know where you live, leaving you vulnerable to potential danger. Meet your date at a neutral, public location, and call your own ride home to keep your address private.
2. Set a time limit
Photo: Katerina Holmes | Pexels
In other words, choose to meet up with your date before another activity you already have planned. If you’re going to dinner with friends on a Saturday night, meet your date an hour beforehand for drinks. The world of online dating almost always includes a few bad dates and having somewhere to be afterward gives you an easy way to leave if you’re not having a good time or feel unsafe.
3. Carry a personal safety device
While it’s always a good idea to carry a personal safety device like a pepper spray, personal alarm, or stun gun for an added layer of protection, it’s especially important for a safe online dating experience. Knowing you have a way to protect yourself or call for help will make you feel more confident and help keep you safe.
SABRE’s Mighty Discreet and Lipstick pepper sprays are small enough to fit in a purse or clutch, Jeweled pepper spray will accessorize any outfit, and SMART Pepper Spray uses geo-tracking technology in the SABRE Personal Safety App to alert your trusted contacts if it is sprayed.
4. Use the people around you for help
If you think you may have found yourself in an unsafe situation, you can use the people around you for assistance. Excuse yourself and discreetly find a bartender or waiter to let them know that you might need help getting out of the situation. Ask them to come back and visit your table, keep an eye out, or if needed, call for help.
5. Keep an eye on your drink
Having a drink can help calm your nerves on a first date with someone from a dating app. If you choose to have a drink (or two), keep it close, or better yet, order it at the bar yourself. This allows you to watch as the drink is made and make sure it’s not tampered with. You can also pick a drink in a bottle or can instead of a glass. Since the top of a bottle or can is smaller, it’s harder to sneak substances into them.
6. Trust your gut
Your intuition has gotten you this far, and it's pretty good at letting you know if something feels off. Trust it! Don’t hesitate to leave if something doesn’t feel right.
If you haven’t matched with anyone you want to meet in person, check out these dating safety tips to keep in mind on dating apps when you’re swiping left and right.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated for timeliness.