Strong, confident women tend to be go-getters—even when it comes to finding love. But when you’ve been set up with a friend’s new officemate or you click with someone online and want to meet up, it’s essential to take precautionary measures before going on a date with someone you barely know.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re out to meet a potential partner:
1. Talk on the phone first
Some say you can determine a person’s intention just by the tone of their voice. According to a Psychology Today feature, “research has shown that words account for only seven percent of how we communicate whereas our body language (55%) and voice tone (30%) represent the rest,” so a phone call a few days before the date wouldn’t hurt anyone (at least by 30%?). Texting and chatting casually on messaging apps should help, but a legit call lets you hear his voice and gives you a better idea of what kind of person he may be.
2. Practice your online research skills
..a.k.a. stalking prowess; check his Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and see what kind of guy he is. (Including if he already has a girlfriend!) There, you’ll learn his interests, what he looks like, and the crowd he hangs out with. Luckily, you’ll have a few common friends. At the very least, you can pick up good topics for meaningful conversation when you two finally meet.
3. Meet somewhere public and crowded
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you decide to go on a date, choose a public place where there are a lot of people. He’ll less likely harm you in any way since there’ll be a lot of witnesses. If he’s game, both of you can bring friends so it’ll now be a double date. The more the merrier, right?
4. Watch what he gives you to eat and drink
As much as you don’t want to judge, you have to be wary of this—even with people you think you know. It’s not uncommon for men to slip something in women’s drinks to sexually abuse them later in the night; that’s why it pays to be careful. Have fun, but be aware, and try not to leave your drink lying around.
5. Don’t go to his place
No matter how comfortable he made you feel during dinner, it’s still a bit dangerous to set foot in his loft (which is also his territory) right away. Plus, you should update a friend or a family member about where your date will be and if you switch locations.