Dating is an exciting time and it should be loads of fun. Unfortunately, there are some crazies out there that make the rest of us a little nervous throughout the online dating process. No matter how certain you are that someone you’ve met online is a good person, we urge you to still take precautions to be safe on your first dates. There are just a few simple steps to make sure that you’ll be ok at the end of the night. Follow these dating safety tips as precautionary measures at least. Safety first, and once your bases are covered, relax and have a good time!

Get to know them a little first.
Exchange a few messages online, start texting, and have a phone conversation. To start things off, this shows that they are interested in investing time in you without some other quick, ulterior motives. Ask them for some basic information. If they’ve got nothing to hide, they’ll have no problem with telling you their last name, what they do and maybe even where they work. See if you can find them on Facebook, check to see if their profile matches up with their online dating info. Google them. Google is God, it knows all and sees all. There’s nothing wrong with running their name through Google for the sake of your safety before you meet with them. We’re not saying that you should hire a private investigator to find out everything, but it’s not a bad idea to do some quick searches just to make sure everything checks out.

Always make sure someone knows where you are.
Tell at least one friend about your date. Tell them where and when you are meeting. Have them call you about 45 minutes to an hour into the date just to make sure things are going okay. You could make up some code words to communicate how you are feeling without having to say it out right with your date close by.

Meet in a busy, public place.
There is no need to go anywhere secluded for your first couple of dates. Be somewhere where people are around and can see and hear you.

Don’t accept a ride.
As romantic as it sounds, you don’t need anyone coming to pick you up at your front door for the first dates… even if they have a red Porsche. When you get in a car, the other person is in complete control of your destination. There is no one else around to help you if you begin to get nervous. Save the joy rides for later on, once the two of you know each other better and are more comfortable in each other’s presence.

Be aware of inappropriate behavior.
Trust your instincts on this one. Just as you can know if someone is soulmate material on a first date, you can also probably figure out if someone is borderline psychotic. Watch for impatient gestures, they way he treats the wait staff at the restaurant, and the way he verbally responds to certain stimuli. If at any point you notice any aggression or feel uncomfortable, follow through with your plan on how to get out of a bad date. Keep personal objects with you. If you get up to go to the bathroom, bring you bag or your purse with you. Someone you barely know doesn’t need access to any of your personal information or even the temptation to look at what you have.

Don’t leave your drink unattended.
They’ve been telling us this one since college, yet people are still getting drugged via their drinks. If you’re having a drink on your date and need the toilet, try to finish it first. If you get a phone call, either take it at the table or call them back after you have finished. The risk isn’t worth it with someone you barely know.

Don’t drink too much.
Know your limits and cut yourself off when need be. We always think it will never be us, that we are always in control, but the number of stupid things we do while drunk can really get us into trouble one day. Stay in control during the date. There’s nothing wrong with order a soda or a water in between rounds. And if you’re drinking on an empty stomach, suggest splitting an appetizer or something to eat. It’ll make a big difference in the long run.

Go home alone on the first date.
People are conniving and even your instincts can’t pick out a bad guy on a first date. Even if there was an incredible sexual connection between the two of you, hold off and wait. It’ll only be that much better if it’s worth it!

Never be afraid to leave.
If at any time you feel uncomfortable, figure out how you want to leave. Even if you’re just not feeling the vibe of the date, you can leave. You’ve got plenty of options on how to escape a bad date, some funnier than others, but you still have the same outcome. Your safety comes first.

Safe and happy dating!

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