Is he worth your time?
A lot of women are terrified at the thought of having to spend an entire evening (or even an hour) with a complete stranger, and understandably so. What if he’s a serial killer, a rapist… or just plain weird? These are completely legitimate concerns. You don’t have to dedicate an entire evening to a complete stranger who hasn’t earned the privilege of spending that amount of time with you. You could agree to meet for drinks and then simply see how things go instead of setting aside an entire evening just for him.
Unsure whether or not he is worth investing in? Take the free Quiz: Is he worth your time?
Ways to protect your time, get around your fears and secure your safety:
1. Find out their real name
Before I met with someone I had been chatting with online and agreed to a date, I would first find out their full name. Sometimes I would ask them outright, other times I would simply ask them to add me on WhatsApp. WhatsApp is an app that allows you to IM for free, but more importantly, it shows the name of the other person every time you receive a text from them.
2. Stalk the hell out of their social media profiles
I know that a lot of people prefer not to look someone up before they meet them so that they can form their own unbiased opinions of the person without the influence of social media, but I am a big believer in pre-meet stalking. Looking someone up before you meet them is a way for you to assess how honest they are about their looks, age, job (sometimes) and relationship status. By getting guys to add me on WhatsApp, I’ve been able to find them (using their names) on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. From this, I’ve been able to out several guys for blatantly lying to me on dating apps and saved myself from awkward or perhaps even potentially dangerous dating situations.
3. Tell a friend where you will be going
Whenever I agreed to meet up with a man who looked like who he said he was, I let a friend know exactly where and when I would be meeting him. I do this not to be dramatic, but because one can never be too careful with a stranger. We teach kids not to take candy from strangers (stranger danger!) – so why should we as adults be any less cautious?
4. Organize a designated friend check-in
I would ask my friend to check up with me soon after I met the guy with an “is it all good?” text, and again later. If my friend didn’t hear from me, then she would know something was up. It sounds dramatic, and I’ve never actually been in a situation where I’ve been in danger, but these things do happen, and we need to be careful. Rather safe than sorry.
5. Make sure your social media accounts don’t reveal too much personal information
Furthermore, make sure that your own social media accounts are either private and/or do not disclose your private information such as location, or locations that you frequently visit. It’s easy as pie for people to find your Instagram profile and figure out which places you usually go during the week, when you will be in certain places, and when you are away from home. Don’t allow yourself to be a sitting duck or victim of crime. Be a smart dater and social media user, and protect your location by turning off your location settings on Instagram.
6. Pay attention to red flags
Most women don’t recognize the signs until it’s too late. Learn to recognize the red flags and be honest with yourself. (Read: 15 early signs you’re dating an abusive man)
7. Go easy on the booze, and never leave your drink alone
Don’t put yourself in a compromising position where you are unable to defend yourself or think clearly should you need to. Even if you’re just drinking a pumpkin spice latte, don’t leave your drink alone with a stranger while you go to the bathroom. You don’t have to be paranoid or suspicious of everyone, but you should always take certain precautions such as being sober enough to take care of yourself. Being responsible for your own personal safety should always be your top priority.
8. Let him earn the privilege to spend time with you
You don’t have to commit even an hour to someone who hasn’t earned that privilege with you. Start with a half hour coffee date if you’re not willing to invest the time, and see how it goes. You can always extend the date if it’s going well! (Read: The 5 Questions You MUST Ask On A First Date That Will Tell You EVERYTHING You Need to Know) He can earn the privilege to spend more time with you by treating you well, being a good conversationalist and expressing a genuine interest in you. (Read: 6 Signs Someone is Genuinely Interested in You)