When Do We Actually Need to Meet in Person?

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Video chat before you meet up in person. Once you have matched with a potential date and chatted, consider scheduling a video chat with them before meeting up in person for the first time. This can be a good way to help ensure your match is who they claim to be in their profile. If they strongly resist a video call, that could be a sign of suspicious activity.

Tell a friend where you’re going. Take a screenshot of your date’s profile and send it to a friend. Let at least one friend know where and when you plan to go on your date. If you continue your date in another place you hadn’t planned on, text a friend to let them know your new location. It may also be helpful to arrange to text or call a friend partway through the date or when you get home to check in.

Meet in a public place. For your first date, avoid meeting someone you don’t know well yet in your home, apartment, or workplace. It may make both you and your date feel more comfortable to meet in a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar with plenty of other people around. Avoid meeting in public parks and other isolated locations for first dates.

Don’t rely on your date for transportation. It’s important that you are in control of your own transportation to and from the date so that you can leave whenever you want and do not have to rely on your date in case you start feeling uncomfortable. Even if the person you’re meeting volunteers to pick you up, avoid getting into a vehicle with someone you don’t know and trust, especially if it’s the first meeting.

Have a few ride share apps downloaded on your phone so in case one is not working when you need it, you’ll have a backup. Make sure you have data on your phone and it’s fully charged, or consider bringing your charger or a portable battery with you.

Stick to what you’re most comfortable with. There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks on a date. Try to keep your limits in mind and do not feel pressured to drink just because your date is drinking. It can also be a good idea to avoid taking drugs before or during a first date with someone new because drugs could alter your perception of reality or have unexpected interactions with alcohol.

Enlist the help of a bartender or waiter. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it can help to find an advocate nearby. You can enlist the help of a waiter or bartender to help you create a distraction, call the police, or get a safe ride home.

Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and feel free to leave a date or cut off communication with whoever is making you feel unsafe. Do not worry about feeling rude—your safety is most important, and your date should understand that.

If you felt uncomfortable or unsafe during the date, remember you can always unmatch, block, or report your match after meeting up in person which will keep them from being able to access your profile in the future.

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