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Dating 101 Having Fun While Staying Safe

Spring is in the air, and with spring comes romance, or the dream of romance. Many hopeful singles look forward to beginning a new year and a new spring season with a new relationship, or simply meeting some new people for good times. This can be an exhilarating experience,with the rush of someone wonderful and new, the chemistry can bring a whirlwind of excitement. It can also be a time of anxiety, filled with questions. "What is he/she really like?""Will they like me?" "What should I say/do as we begin to become acquainted?" People naturally put their best foot forward when they are first getting to know each other. But how do we know what they are REALLY like?

The onslaught of daily news stories, and true crime TV, shows such as, “Dates from Hell”, “Stalked”, “Fatal Encounters”, “Scorned, Love Kills”, “Deadly Affairs”,(courtesy of Investigative Discovery Channel) and the like bring to mind the idea of meeting someone who is not what they seem to be.We see where people share frightening accounts of someone who had anger issues, turned into a stalker, was secretly married, psychotic personalities, and people who have disappeared.This could cause even the bravest and most adventurous person to think twice when meeting someone new. While these encounters are not typical, they can, and do happen. Whether you meet on-line, in a bar, grocery store, school or any social setting, there are some basic precautions to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe experience.

A handsome or pretty face and a charming personality can certainly influence or cloud our thinking. Somehow in our society, we tend to think that good and bad people have specific physical characteristics,"well he looked so nice or normal", "she was so beautiful" we do not expect certain behaviors from attractive people, and we assimilate someone evil with an unattractive or ugly appearance, but this is certainly not so. Generally, we want to believe the best about the people we meet, but when first meeting a date, it is wise to keep this in mind and take these precautions when meeting:

  • 1. Let a friend know your plans.

Where you are going, and who you are going to meet. (Give them the name of the individual and any basic information).

  • 2. Drive your own vehicle

And have a back-up plan should you plan to drink and don’t feel you should drive; either a taxi or a friend you can count on to pick you up. There are those who would take advantage, so don’t put yourself in a potentially precarious situation.

  • 3. Meet in a public place
  • 4. Never leave your drink unattended.
  • 5. Make sure you have some extra money.

If you can carry it on your person, all the better. This is especially a good idea if you should lose your purse and cell phone. This way you can always find alternate transportation and won’t be stranded.

  • 6. Don’t give out too much personal information.

Give your cell, not your home number. In this day and age it is very easy to “find” someone, via Google, reverse directories, or other sites, if someone is so inclined.

  • 7. Keep the conversation casual and fun.

When getting acquainted, don’t divulge too many personal details. It will not only make the date more lighthearted and pleasant, but predators prey on people who are vulnerable, such as a personal tragedy or a previous bad relationship. If you continue to date, you can share these experiences at a later time.

  • 8. Carry a protective device.

Mace, pepper spray, or a small stun gun. These items are a good idea in everyday coming and going, especially if you go out at night. Having something to protect yourself is ALWAYS a good idea under any circumstances.

  • 9. Keep your cell phone charged and close and inform your friend(s) of any change in your plans.

A good idea would be to have your friend call you after a designated time to make sure you are ok, with the understanding that if you do not answer, they send help or call the police.

  • 10. Be honest and establish boundaries.

Flirtation is fun, but don’t lead your date on; which may cause them to anger. Be aware of someone trying to pressure you into a sexual situation you are not comfortable with.

  • 11. Follow your “Gut”, if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't..
  • 12. Recognize that it is time to leave.

If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, politely excuse yourself and leave. This applies for guys and gals. I am aware of a man who was on a date with a female who became increasingly erratic or belligerent during the course of a conversation. If someone makes you uncomfortable for any reason, you have every right to leave. If you feel the need, have someone (a manager or a doorman) walk you to your car.

There has been an increasing trend to do background investigations on a potential date. (Keep in mind; someone might be checking “US” out as well!) If you feel so inclined, prior to the date, there is the option to check him (or her) out. Many people insist on “getting the scoop” on a potential date. There are sites where you can get some basic information and even find out if this person has an undesirable background, criminal, domestic violence charge (which thankfully, I personally discovered and as a result chose not to go out with this individual.) or, if they are married.

I am supportive of checking an individual out in these days and times. Keep in mind that this will not always reveal everything, but you might uncover some information that will help you avoid an uncomfortable/unsafe situation.

Many of these sites allow you to pay for a single background check, or they have on-going memberships for a fee. You can purchase a trial membership, with some sites which is usually 7 days, for a nominal price, some just $1.00. These sites include: BeenVerified, Spokeo, and Instant Checkmate, among others.

Here is a link to an article/advertisement for the “Best 10 Background sites”:
http://www.top10bestbackgroundcheck.com

You may want to Google ‘background checks’ and see what is right for you. Many times you can simply “Google” the individuals name or email and find some information!
Another option is to check the local Clerk of the Court search options (in the county where the individual lives) which is usually free.If they do not have an online information option, you can call or go by in person. Public records are free.
It can be a bit disheartening to think that we feel the need to take these measures, when meeting a new person. We don’t want to think that this person is anything but nice, but there is always a chance they are not.
It is ALWAYS a good idea to expect the best but be prepared for any circumstance!

Now, notwithstanding the anticipation, and first date jitters, get ready for an enjoyable time, knowing you have taken precautions to be safe!
Relax and have some fun!
Here’s to great dates!