I will admit that I have tried some online dating and interest groups since I have come here. It can feel dangerous and unsafe, so I have thought very hard about what I can do that will not diminish my desire to go out and meet people, but also give me a sense of security and feel like it is OK.
I will admit before meeting someone for a date, I will look them up online. I will check their social media and things like that just to make sure that the information they have told me matches what I see on the internet. There has been an incident or two where I found that the person had a girlfriend or was not really who they said they were.
I also talk to them on the phone a few times, too. Mostly to see if I feel comfortable talking to them because sometimes I do not. Sometimes people just are not compatible. It is always good to find out at this early stage before it goes any farther.
Next, I will agree to meet them at a public place that is not on campus. I usually don’t even tell people where I attend school. There are a few here and are decent sized so that helps. I tell the RA on duty where I am going and my sister, too, even though she is an intern at a hospital several hours away. It is imperitive that you tell someone where you are going and the person you are supposed to be meeting. I do not assume that every person I attempt to meet is dangerous but it is better to be smart. People need to know where you will be and who you are supposed to be with. Usually, I make the first meet a coffee date. This way it isn’t too long of an amount of time but is enough to see if you want to see that person again. Even if they invite me to a movie or something afterward, I will say no. Partly because then I will be somewhere that I have not told anyone about but also to give us both an out if either one of us isn’t feeling it but thinks it is necessary to be polite. I always check back in with my RA to let them know I have returned. A second date can definitely be longer but I will tell my sister what my plans are. If our plans change, I will excuse myself as politely as possible at the first opportunity to text her and let her know. I have been on a couple of third and fourth dates but nothing too serious so far.
For group events, I have a much easier time. I just tell someone where I am going and then I go straight there and back. If there are a group of people that Ihave been talking to that want to extend the event and go somewhere else, I’ll only go if I really feel comfortable. I’ll text my sister, too. I never get in the car with anyone and always drive myself separately, or will suggest somewhere within walking distance.
Some experiences have been good and others not so good, but I do feel safer taking some smart precautions. I wish you luck meeting people and hope you stay safe too.