Dating can be intimidating (ha!) these days making safety precautions more important than ever. It’s not that everyone out there is dangerous or nefarious in their intent, it’s just that those that are can be super evil. One only needs to turn on the news to verify the validity of that statement!
Dating has changed so much over the years, where once people were set up with eligible matches by their parents, nowadays we meet up with complete strangers thanks to the glorious internet! Husband and I met on a dating site and, at the time, telling people got crazy looks. These days, it’s normal! A good free dating site for you can certainly enhance the dating pool!
London has created a very clever way to help ensure safety when dating. Ask for Angela is a program that has already been rolled out in South London boroughs for those who feel unsafe in pubs and clubs to obtain a safe and successful exit. Police and various pubs and clubs have teamed up to “help reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing customers with a non-descript phrase they can use” to get themselves out of situations that feel unsafe. This is absolutely awesome! I appreciate that they are taking a proactive step in protecting the populous! Hopefully, Ask for Angela will inspire similar programs worldwide!
How does it work? When customers in pubs and such ask for Angela, they are pulled to the side (to a safe place) in such a way as to not alert ones date, then the staff can call a cab, friend or family member for the person or ask the offending party to leave the location. This is definitely a safety plan that all night spots should have, in my opinion). I love that it empowers people so that when fear sets in, they can find a safe way out with support! We should never be ignored or feel as if our concerns aren’t validated, especially if we feel there is a danger!
Safety is Essential!
5 Tips to Protect Yourself on Dates
- Protect yourself! Remove the Geo tag from your photos! This will prove quite helpful in protecting oneself and it’s super easy. Once you modify the settings in your phone, you never have to do it again (until you get your new device). No one needs a stalker and there is no aspect of ‘I know where you are’ that is cute when coming from someone you don’t know!
- Follow your gut instinct. Please note: I said GUT, not anything related to hormones! The flirtation of online dating is fun and releases endorphins that tend to deter our natural inhibitions. Don’t let anyone manipulate you or pressure in doing anything you are even remotely uncomfortable in. If something in your body is saying no, there’s a reason. I’ve never regretted listening to that one, though I have regretted ignoring it. Safety, safety, safety!!! Did I mention that???
- Time to Meet Up? When it’s time to meet up, plan carefully. While you will feel like you know the person you are meeting, they may not have been honest with you. Many people misrepresent themselves for various reasons online. Choose a public place where you won’t be walking to or from your vehicle either in the dark or on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from staff if you need to escape. This recently saved a friend of mine at a Wal-Mart in the daytime!
- It’s better to completely avoid alcohol, but if you aren’t willing to avoid it make sure you see the bartender prepare your drink (if it’s at a bar) or have their staff bring it to you and don’t leave it unattended. Keep your hand on your drink so that there is less of a chance for someone to slip anything into it. Again, my advice is to skip it altogether. If a ‘date’ is buying you drink after drink, or pressuring you to drink, that’s a giant red flag!
- Safety Net: Create a safety plan with a friend. This will both keep you safe and give you an out if you need one (turns out their pic wasn’t recent, real, or even reasonably resembling). As your walking up, take a shot of the person and send to your net, just in case. Have a planned phone call 30 minutes in, a required post-date call, a tracker in your butt, whatever you feel is best for your safety!
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Got any tips that work for you? Or -gulp- near miss situations you’d like to share to warn others?