First dates can often be filled with unknowns. In today’s society, social media has quickly become the way most people connect and communicate. It has also become the way thousands of people find their romantic partners. Chances are if someone is single, they are registered on an online dating app or website. The scariest part about finding a date online is that often people lie on their Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Grindr or other dating profiles profiles in order to appear more enticing. In many cases, the individual met online could potentially be the one standing at the end of the altar. However, not all get this lucky. The U.K. National Crime Agency has found that online dating-related rape has risen more than 450 percent in six years.
Emily Gray, a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh, admits an uncomfortable encounter she had with a boy during her senior year of high school.
“I simply gave a guy a ride home. When I pulled up to his house to drop him off, he started aggressively making out with me. He unbuckled his seat belt and started climbing on top of me. I had to shove him off and force him to get out of my car. We haven’t spoken since,” Gray said.
Be sure not to give away too much information prior to the date. There is no need to disguise and lie, but rather keep certain information to oneself before meeting in person. Information like Facebook profiles, location and full name can all be found out during the first date. Feeling unsafe when meeting a stranger for a drink or dinner date is completely normal. Meeting in person after having only talked from behind a screen can be rather intimidating. If the person that came to dinner isn’t the person they seemed to be or they have given off an uneasy vibe, trust those gut instincts. Here are five tips to ditch a date that has made the situation uncomfortable.
Swiping right on Tinder indicates you are interested in a person based on their photos and bio. Gif made by Sophia DeVito.
- Have a Back-Up Plan
When going on a date with a complete stranger, make sure to have a plan in case things go south. Having a friend call about an hour into dinner can be an easy escape route. Throw out an excuse as to why the friend needs attention and leave the restaurant. Before the date, make sure to warn a close friend or relative where the date will be and who it is with in case something serious happens.
- Drive Separately
A great way to get out of a date is driving separately. If the date isn’t going well, mention a task that must be done, say the goodbyes and drive home. There isn’t anything to be sorry about. If a date is giving off unsafe vibes or making the situation uncomfortable, leaving in your own vehicle is the best option.
- The Apple iOS 11 Update
With the iOS 11 update from Apple, there is a way to make an emergency phone call with little effort. If the date is going worse than expected and you begin to feel unsafe, quickly press the sleep/wake button on the side of the phone five times. This will automatically alert emergency services. It also allows the user to contact the emergency contact number in the phone, giving them your location.
For all the Android users out there, don’t worry. The Samsung Galaxy S8/9 has an SOS message option. This can be turned on in the settings or advanced features. It sends an SOS message when the power button is pushed three times (similar to the IOS update for Apple phones.) If options like this aren’t available, apps like SafeTrek and SirenGPS can be downloaded for similar usages.
The Emergency SOS on the iPhone is a great tool in an unsafe situation. Photo taken by Sophia DeVito.
- Meet in a Public Place
Whenever meeting a person for the first time, it is important to meet in a place where there will be plenty of people around. This could be at a restaurant or a coffee shop during the day. Day dates can also be a good idea for the first date. This way, neither person will be leaving in the dark.
- Check the Bathroom for Signs to Help
Many bars and restaurants in popular cities have found a way to help women feeling unsafe on a first date. Some places have signs in the bathroom with instructions for the person feeling unsafe. For instance, the instructions might direct the person to the bar to place a specific order. This signal will let an employee know that the date isn’t going well and that an escape route is needed. While this is a fairly new concept, it might be a good idea to check the bathroom during an uncomfortable situation.
Most people turn to online dating sites in hopes to make a connection. Many authorities warn that because online dating platforms are growing rapidly, the risks are also increasing. These five ways to ditch a date can be helpful when in an uncomfortable situation. If you recognize the date isn’t going well, there is no harm in asking for the check early.