While most people you meet will be great, there is still a risk anytime you meet up with someone you don’t know.
Regardless of what gender you are, or how well you think you know a person, there may be situations that start to feel unsafe. But don’t let fear hold you back from meeting new people! These tips will help you feel better prepared to leave any situation that makes you uncomfortable.
It is easy to feel like you know someone because you share common interests or share the same faith, but remember you are meeting this person for the first time and don’t really know them yet. Although these suggestions are tailored to online dating, many of these tips are applicable for dating situations no matter how you meet someone.
Ask them to verify their profile.
Mutual has a new security feature that allows users to verify their profile. This adds a layer of security to help you know that who you’re talking to is who they say they are. Users will be able to submit a photo in one of our approved poses. Our team will then verify their profile. Verified profiles will have a special badge you’ll see as you’re swiping and on their profile, so you’ll know they’ve gone through the approval process. If the person you’re talking to has not yet verified their profile, ask them to! (In the Mutual app go to Settings > Verify Your Account, and follow the steps.)
Meet in a public location.
Always meet in a public place, at a time when other people will be around. A shopping mall can be a great place to meet. A deserted shopping mall with nobody around however, is not a good idea. It might be tempting to have someone come over, or to go to their place, but it’s better to meet somewhere public where you can easily leave if necessary.
Don’t let your date pick you up.
You may feel like you know a person after chatting online for a while, but it’s important to have your own transportation. This is not only safer, but it also allows you an easy way to leave if the date is going longer than you anticipated or even if, we hate to say it, you’re just not getting along.
Charge your phone.
A fully-charged phone is an important accessory on a first date. If you are using Uber or another rideshare app, make sure your phone is charged enough that you can get back home without issue. A charged phone also helps you connect with friends and prevents them from panicking when you don’t respond. Which leads us to the next point…
Let a friend or family member know where you’re going.
Text a friend where you’re going and what time you expect to be home. Figure out how to easily share your location using your cell phone. Just remember to text your friend when you’re done, or if you’ll be out later so they don’t worry unnecessarily. It’s also a good idea to have a codeword you can text your friend or say on the phone if they call if things aren’t going well. You can also share a photo of your date with your friend.
Stay alert and aware.
Make sure you are fully alert and aware on your first date. Avoid going on a first date when you’re overly tired. Pay attention to where you are and what’s going on around you. Don’t consume anything that might make you drowsy or otherwise inhibited on purpose, and try not to do it on accident either – make sure to keep an eye on your food and drink so that it isn’t tampered with. Don’t be afraid to cancel or leave early if you’re feeling sick or tired, or not 100% for any reason.
Remember that on Mutual, we take dating safety very seriously. If someone is acting inappropriate, let us know by using the “Report or Block User” feature. We have zero-tolerance for anything that makes people feel unsafe.
Always go with your gut.
Even if you’ve already committed to a date, it’s okay to cancel or set up a different kind of date if you start to get a bad feeling. If you feel okay about the person but not the activity, suggest somewhere else you can go where you will feel safe. You can suggest an area or activity you’re more familiar with.
Don’t worry about offending someone. While it may be hard to cancel plans or ask someone not to pick you up, your safety is what is most important. Anyone worth dating will appreciate that you are trying to keep yourself safe.
Remember – don’t give up if you have a bad experience, there are plenty of great people out there and online dating is a great way to meet people you wouldn’t meet any other way. Dating is a fun way to get to know new people and experience new things and with these ground rules, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself on every date you go on!