If you’re a young single adult and find first dates a little scary, that’s good. That means you understand that the world of today is not the same as it was thirty years ago when I was that age. As the father of two beautiful young ladies who are out on their own and active in the current dating scene, I take great concern in this topic. That’s why I decided to write this article.
Most of what we focus on at Black Tree are geared toward building self-assurance and situational awareness in the millennial generation so I thought it prudent to share 5 common sense tips to set you up for success and help you feel a bit more confident when going on the illustrious first date.
1. Go early in the day to a very public place. By making your first date take you somewhere public you will see how creative they are, determine if they are interested in the same things as you, and be comfortable in the fact that even if they turn out to be a total loser, at least you will be safer than going someplace secluded and dark where your personal safety may be in danger. Do not do as one person I spoke with and plan on going back to the person’s house after the first date even if it’s just to sit on the couch and watch movies. Save that for a time when you feel more comfortable with the person.
2. Don’t rely on your date for transportation. What if things go badly and you find out that your date is a complete creep? Do you really want them to know where you live? True, it’s relatively easy to find out someone’s address in today’s world of technology but why make it easy for them? Secondly, when you rely on your date for transportation, you have put yourself at the mercy of their whims. It also creates a situation that will not allow you to end the date should you get a feeling that something just isn’t right, which leads to tip number three.
3. If you start feeling uncomfortable, leave immediately. Learn to trust your instincts. If things don’t seem right, they probably aren’t. Even if you misinterpret signals from your date, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Imagine if something goes terribly wrong and you find yourself in a dangerous situation simply because you didn’t listen to that inner voice that said, “Get the hell out of here.” Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings. First dates should be selfish in that you are trying to find out if this person is worth a second date. In other words, first dates are about you and your feelings, not theirs.
4. Don’t forget your cell phone and arrange for a friend to call you during the date. If the date is going great, then a phone call appears to be just a curious friend. Your date won’t be offended. It will also put them on notice that you have good friends who are looking out for you. If the date is going badly however, a phone call is a perfect way to end the date. Some people I know have “code words” they use with their friend that will let them know how things are progressing or if help is needed. For added safety, you can also download an app on your phone that will allow a chosen friend to find your location at any time should you need them to physically rescue you from a horrible date. You should also tell you friend as many details as you can about the date before leaving. Give them the “Five W’s” as we like to call them.
a. Who: Your date’s name and any other identifying information (Phone number, address, etc.)
b. What: Let them know what you intend on doing during the date.
c. Where: Tell them where you plan to go.
d. When: What time does the date start and when do you plan on being back?
e. Why: What is the purpose of the date? Is this someone in which you are genuinely interested in pursuing a relationship; are they free tickets to a ball game; or are you going just because you are tired of sitting home alone on a Saturday afternoon?
5. Double date if possible. Double dates are good for a couple of reasons. The first is for safety purposes. If this is your first date, chances are you don’t know the person as well as you may think, or many times, not at all. Having another couple with you provides for a level of comfort knowing that at least with them along, your personal safety is still intact. Additionally, it gives you a second opinion about the person.
Dating, especially first dates, as with anything else in life, comes with risks. Risks that are sometimes scary. But dating doesn’t’ have to be scary. It shouldn’t be. It should be fun, exciting and enlightening. A time of discovering each other. If we mitigate the risks involved in dating, we can concentrate on the things that are most important. Following these tips may not mitigate all risks to your personal safety while on that first date, but it’s a good start!
By Dale Antry
Dale is the Chief Operations Officer at Chester Security Group (CSG) and its subsidiary company, Black Tree LLC. CSG is a veteran owned small business dedicated to empowering others through comprehensive threat assessments and training in a multitude of physical and personal protection disciplines. Black Tree specializes in situational awareness training and weapons handling. To learn more about CSG or Black Tree or sign up for a course of instruction, please visit their websites at csgblacktree.com or blacktreeexperience.com