COLUMN: Exercise caution when dating a complete stranger
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 01:10
Question of the week: Do you think it’s safe to go on a date with a complete stranger?
– cautious cait
To answer your question, I’m going to say there are certain precautions that every person should take while dating — both online and offline. There’s a cliche we’ve all heard and used: “You’re not a serial killer are you?” While it’s obviously a joke, there may need to be some sincerity behind it as well.
Someone can pick up on you from anywhere at anytime and place. Anyone you meet could easily result in a date. Sorry to break it to you, but the majority of people you date are going to be strangers, so isn’t the point of dating getting to know new people? Chances are their intentions are just as innocent as yours and you will be just fine going out with them, but since they are a complete stranger, how can you be sure?
First of all, I am a firm believer in paying attention to emotional red flags. Go with your gut feeling. If something doesn't feel right, be safe rather than sorry and don’t go anywhere with them. Just because you have a bad feeling doesn’t mean something is going to happen, but it’s better to remove all possibilities of danger and not take the chance.
It’s easy to get swept up in the emotions and passions when you are going on a date, and unfortunately, too many people ignore these red flags. It’s a lot harder when there may be chemistry between the two of you, but if these signals are not addressed it could mean getting into a bad situation or a relationship that is emotionally unhealthy. I know it can be hard to turn someone down when you’re attracted to them, but if you feel at all uneasy around them, do yourself a favor and walk away.
I am also a firm believer in giving everybody a decent chance before you decide you’re not interested — especially if they seem nice enough — but appearances can be deceiving. Now I’m not preaching to be judgemental; I’m just saying that it’s important to get to know someone a little bit beyond just their first impression. It’s not always dirt and soil that makes someone filthy. Someone can be as clean and smell as fresh as evening and still be the filthiest creature on this earth.
Now this just wouldn’t be a dating safety column without some precautionary tips that apply to online interactions. I’d say — and will always say — to practice extreme caution on Facebook, in online dating and yes, the new and popular Tinder. You’re probably thinking I sound like your mother at this point, but I have heard some sketchy stories. The scariest thing about online dating is there is no face-to-face interaction. Lies are a lot easier to form through a keyboard rather than in person. If they seem too good to be true, they probably are. It can also be hard to gauge the feeling they give you when you can’t be in their presence. But if you do feel comfortable enough to take the next step and meet them, make sure to be smart and abide by these few rules.
First, always meet in a public place and let a friend or family know what you’re doing and where you’re meeting them. Second, always get there in your own transportation. That way if it doesn't work out, you can leave at any time. Third, don’t give them more personal information than you need to the first time you meet. And lastly, besides guarding your identity, guard your heart. Love at first type is not always what it turns out to be.