This is the final article in the four part series on dating online safely. In the previous articles we decided we are ready to date online, and we decided to put our safety first. We learned to keep our private information private, and we put in the effort to qualify persons of interest. Now that we have weeded out obvious unsavory attention we can feel much better about meeting an individual in person. However, even though we did qualify this person, any person can behave well for a short period of time to get what they want. So we are going to put in the effort to ensure we choose a safe first date.
- Prep an Excuse to Leave
Make a list of a few reasons to leave in a hurry and make the decision
to use them, if necessary. Give yourself permission to trust, respect and take action on your gut instinct. Refrain from talking yourself out of it if you feel uncomfortable. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s most often because it’s not. If you leave and don’t feel safe, drive to a police station instead of going straight home.
- Check in with a Trusted Friend
Be sure to keep a trusted (and capable) person in the loop about when and where and how long you expect to be on a date. Let them when you are on your way and again when you leave safely. Also, talk to this person about the individuals you are choosing to date. Sharing with trusted friends our observations, feelings and experiences makes it more unlikely that we will be able to miss or accept unacceptable behavior.
- Meet at a Public Location
They may have a beautiful house on the lake or offer to take you somewhere secluded and romantic but insist on a public first meeting. Even though we have qualified this person, nothing takes the place of that initial gut feeling when meeting someone for the first time. Remember and respect that first feeling, for any person you meet, ever. Whether you drive or take an Uber, be sure to have a quick getaway planned for an emergency.
- Take a Self Defense Class
Self defense training is something that is best when taken regularly, at least annually. These are skills that are to be developed. Find a class that addresses situational awareness, avoidance and defensive communication skills. If you have Krav Maga nearby, go with that. If you are limited to police, dojos or community centers then take them all as they cover different approaches and perspectives. If possible, a female instructor is ideal.
- Carry a Personal Safety Device
A tool that you are unwilling to use is a useless tool, so don’t bother if you don’t see yourself using it. Take the time to look into local laws (as well as practicability) as a salesperson will often sell you anything. You can call the police department or a defense attorney with questions. There is no perfect tool, only the tool that is right for you. Get training in anything you choose to carry, especially retention – even if you think it’s unnecessary.
Carrie Conrad is a single mom and self defense specialist in Detroit. To support her daughter and her special needs she took her decades of martial arts training and lifetime of experience with violence to begin an evolving journey with Beating Disaster, a business offering specialized self defense training. From Basic Self Defense to coaching for parents with violent children, she invests her time in high level training in order to provide relatable guidance to women and children. You can find out more at