• Amber Hill

staying safe on a first date.

The day has finally arrived. You get dressed, wearing your lucky top; it hasn’t failed you before. You check yourself out in the mirror, making sure your hair looks good. You can’t help but feel nervous excitement, mixed with dread.

This is your first date, and it is only natural to experience such emotions. But often, people forget one very crucial thing: staying safe. This should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when someone new, or that you don't know very well.

meet in a public space.

Amongst the nerves and excitement, it is easy to forget that meeting in a safe, open space is paramount for your safety. Places like cafes, restaurants, or even parks can make perfect first date spots; with plenty of people around, you always know that there will be someone on hand. Additionally, if things aren’t going as well as you hoped or the conversation has dried up, you can leave when you choose without any awkwardness. While the Netflix and chill culture of modern dating is nice and all, meeting in public simply helps to ensure you are safe.

tell someone you trust about your plans.

An important piece of advice: keep your loved ones in the loop. Whether it be parents, siblings, friends, or housemates, let people know where you plan to go and who with. If you have it, it’s also a good idea to show your trusted loved one a picture of your date.

Any change to your location should be relayed to someone you trust, whether it be through a text or phone call.

The Facebook Messenger app allows users to share their location for an hour, and tracking apps like Find My Friends allow full-time access to your friends' location.

take your phone with you.

Few people actually ever go anywhere nowadays without their mobile phones on them; that is a fact that nobody can dispute. But it is more important than ever to have it charged up and on hand while on a first date. Not only will it allow you to keep your friends and family updated, but it will also provide an escape plan. While immoral, pretending that you have to leave for a family emergency is much preferable to staying on a date with someone who makes you feel pressured or uneasy.

plan how you’re getting home.

Never, ever accept a lift home from your date, especially if they are someone you have only just met. It can be tempting, but walking home in the cold is a much better option than allowing a stranger to see where you live and how to get to your home. In order to stay safe, the walk is worth it.

It is so easy to forget these simple guidelines when all you can worry about is whether or not you will get on with the person you are meeting. Nevertheless, in a world where we rely on finding love through the internet, it is more important now than ever that you stay safe.

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