By Laurie Davis, Founder
Luckily, forest fires shouldn't occur on a date, so Smokey the Bear is not needed. But, it's important to remember that while you may have emailed extensively with your match, you're still strangers. Below are my online dating safety 101 rules — and breaking them isn't allowed!
- On a first date, always meet in a public place. Never compromise this rule! You simply shouldn't be alone with a match until you've met once face-to-face and had a great enough date to garner a second.
- Similiarly, don't accept a ride on a first date. It's important that you are responsible for where you are going and how long you'll be there.
- Don't give out your address. It's ok to let someone know what part of town you live in, but don't give specifics.
- Always let someone know where you are going. This could be a roommate, a friend that you talk to on the phone frequently, a sibling — anyone.
- Never leave your drink unattended! Seriously. Date rape is no joke. When you go to the bathroom, take it with you.
- Bring your cell phone with you. Never leave it at home in case an emergency occurs. It's best if you can keep it on your person rather than in a purse.
- Keep an eye on your wallet and identification. Remember I mentioned not giving someone your address above? It's easy for someone to find out — without you even knowing — if you leave your wallet lying around when you step away from the table for a moment.
- If you are one of the rare people left with a landline telephone, keep your number unlisted.
- Never walk home from a date with headphones on. Stay alert. Even if the date went well and you don't suspect anything, you just never know.
- If you live in the city, find a doorman building in your neighborhood. If a date that you are not comfortable with insists on walking you home, have him drop you off here instead of your own apartment.
- If you feel like you are being followed, take out your keys and hold them in your palm with a key through each finger. If you are forced to punch, the keys will add impact.