In an ideal world, singles could meet someone new and automatically trust that their partner is who they say they are but we all know that the real world is anything but ideal and that some people are quick to take advantage of those who are too trusting. In an effort to avoid being taken advantage of or stumbling into a potentially dangerous situation, it might be a good idea to use a reasonable amount of caution when getting acquainted with a new romantic interest.
There is, of course, something of a paradox in this advice. After all, a big part of forging romantic relationships is all about breaking down each otherís walls and being vulnerable together (both of which undeniably require a reasonable surrender of caution) but this type of interaction is best reserved for well after the first few dates anyway. Personally, I think that caution should be a vital component of the initial dating stage and then gradually be allowed to fade as two people grow to know and trust one another better. This is not to say that being careful in the beginning will automatically prevent heartache or disappointment later on but it can at least reasonably reduce the chances of such misfortune.
With that in mind, letís review some of the techniques that singles can use to improve their chances of staying safe and playing it smart while getting to know somebody new.
- Dating Sponsor - Ask a trusted friend or family member to serve as your dating sponsor. When venturing out with someone new, be sure to let your sponsor know exactly where you are going and who you are going with, including any contact information you may have for your date. Come up with a designated time by which you will definitely get in touch with your sponsor so that he/she will have an idea of when to expect hearing from you. Checking in with your sponsor before and immediately after the date will improve your chances of staying safe by letting somebody else know what youíll be doing, who youíll be doing it with and that you returned home safely.
- Location, locations, location - One of the easiest ways to stay safe on a first date is to choose the location wisely. Since you donít know your date very well and are not yet sure if he/she can be trusted, always plan to meet in a public, well-lit place. Also, rather than one person picking up the other, itís best to take separate transportation and meet at the chosen location. If it can be avoided, try not to let your date know exactly where you live or work until you have been out on a few dates and feel more comfortable spending time with and sharing personal information with him/her.
- Research - When employers are considering potential candidates for a job, it is common for them to conduct a search for background information on the applicants. There is no reason why dating should be handled any differently. You are technically screening potential dating candidates so one way to protect yourself from selecting the least qualified contender is to do a little cyber digging on each applicant and see what turns up. In most cases, there probably wonít be a whole lot to go on but no news is sometimes better than bad news so itís at least worth the effort. First, conduct a Google search with your dateís first and last name in quotation marks. You might have some trouble figuring out which hits are relevant for common names so in these cases it might help if you Google the name along with the city that you live in and see if that narrows it down. Next, you can try looking up your date on some of the more popular social networking sites. You can sometimes learn a lot about a person just by looking at their Myspace or Facebook profile (assuming that it is public). Lastly and most importantly, take a few minutes to check out the national sex offender list and be sure that your date is not on it.