Meet in a busy, public place and don’t accept a lift
Save secluded, midnight walks for later in your relationship. When you’ve only just met someone, meet in busy bars, restaurants or tourist spots.
If your date offers to pick you up, politely decline. Plan your own transport to and from the date. Never reveal your address to someone you’ve only just met, and drive or use public transport to avoid getting into a car alone with a stranger.
Always make sure someone knows where you are
Make sure a friend or flatmate knows when and where you’re meeting your date. Give them basic information about the person you’re meeting, check in once you’ve met your date and when you plan to leave. Let someone know what time you plan to be home, and if you live alone, check in with a friend at the end of the night. There are a number of safety apps that you can download so a friend knows where you are at all times.
Don’t drink too much
Dutch courage may be an appealing option when you’re panicking about a date, but try not to drink too much. Alternate glasses of wine with glasses of water, or opt to drive as that’s an immediate way to take alcohol out of the picture completely. Remember: alcohol not only eclipses nerves, but also lowers inhibitions. And lastly, never leave your drink unattended.
Remember you’re in control – never be afraid to leave
If you feel uncomfortable, leave. Regardless of whether it’s in the first five minutes of the date, or after five hours. If someone does or says something which makes you feel remotely uncomfortable, don’t feel like you can’t walk away. It’s your life, and your safety. This person is a stranger, and you need to protect yourself, first and foremost.
Go home alone on the first date
No matter how much someone excites you, don’t rush into sleeping with him or her. At the end of the evening, go home to your own bed, alone. Get to know someone a bit better before you invite him or her to your place, or spend the night at their house. When you do decide it’s time to get more intimate, remember to be safe and again make sure someone knows your plans.