First dates can be exciting and fun - however, you must be careful. Whether you are male or female, here are some guidelines to follow to ensure your well-being.
- Make sure a friend or family member knows where you are going and has as much information about your date as you do. Give him or her your date's full name, phone number and destination of the date. If you are too shy to ask for your date's full name before you meet him, maybe you are not ready to date. If someone is offended that you have asked specific questions about who he is, this is a red flag.
- Check in with your friend or family member by text during the date. When you are settled in and feel that the date is going well, excuse yourself to the rest room and send a quick text. If you and your date have a plan for the evening, stick with it because deviation from your original plan can leave you feeling vulnerable. Don't be afraid to speak up if you are uncomfortable. If someone is not concerned about your feelings as well as your comfort, she is not someone you want to date.
- Meet in a public place, using your own transportation. Coffee shops are perfect for a first date. You are not obligated to stay if you don't feel comfortable. Have a quick coffee and size up your date. If he is not acceptable, you don't have to stay for an awkward meal.
- Do not leave your food or drink unattended. Date rape drugs can be slipped into your food or drink quickly and they are undetectable until you begin to feel the effects.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum. It is easier to succumb to impulsiveness when you have liquid courage.
- Listen to your gut. If someone or something does not feel right, trust yourself to act on your feelings and leave. You do not owe anyone anything. You can be polite and excuse yourself to leave. This is where people get in the most trouble when they do not listen to their gut or pay attention to the red flags because they are afraid of being rude.
- Do not be embarrassed to have strong boundaries. Anyone who cares for you and wants to get to know you will appreciate your limits and self protection. Self-respect is a strong part of boundaries and is also very attractive. If you don't love and respect yourself, how can anyone else?
- Remember just because someone finds you attractive and is interested in you does not mean that you have to follow through and date him. Pay attention to how you feel. Ask yourself questions to check in to ground yourself. Is this person good for me? Is she considerate? Does he have manners? Do we have anything in common? Am I really listening to what she has to say or is this only a physical attraction?
- Ending your first date. It is completely acceptable to shake hands when saying goodnight. If you don't feel that you want to kiss or embrace your date, do not. Remember, this is about your comfort. Boundaries are healthy.