By Lilly Kujawski | Editor
Claire Convis | Deputy Editor
If you feel unsafe, leave the date. Fake that classic emergency phone call or head for the “bathroom.” If you feel like you’re in danger, ask an employee for help or call the police.
Your safety is always more important than being polite.
“Make sure that your safety comes first, before anything,” said Joseph Wooten, a 19-year-old photography student.
It’s also wise to keep your phone charged and on hand at all times.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
For the first date, consider going somewhere familiar; choose a well-lit cafe or coffee shop where you will be around other people.
“Never go out on a first date by yourself,” Wooten said. “Always go with someone, or at least to a public setting, where there’s more people than just you and that other person.”
When you are first getting to know someone, you may not want to commit to a sit-down meal just yet; go get coffee or ice cream so you can get a feel of what the person is like before you decide to go to dinner. If the date goes south, you can always pick up your coffee cup and leave, but you don’t want to find yourself praying for the waiter to come back with the check.
“Make sure your friends know you’re going on a date,” said Abesh Bhandari, a 25 year old student going into photography. Alison Rounke, a 29 year old student aiming to be a physical therapist assistant, shared a similar tip.
“I think you should absolutely share your location with a friend, a family member or a trusted individual,” Rounke said.
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
You don’t owe anyone a date or sex, even if you’ve gone out before or they paid for your meal.
“Don’t feel pressured to do anything; you don’t owe these people anything,” said Wooten.
If someone tries to pressure you to do something you’re not comfortable with—like meet somewhere you’re unfamiliar with, move too fast too soon, or have them over at your house—take it as a red flag and shut things down.
DON’T COUNT ON SOMEONE ELSE
It’s a good idea to provide your own transportation so you can make a quick getaway if needed.
“The biggest thing that I do is driving myself,” said WCC student Amanda Wandrie. “So I can always just go home when I want to.”
Wandrie, a 20-year-old elementary education major, also mentioned that it can be wise to tell your date you have plans for later that night in case you aren’t hitting it off and you need an easy escape. If sparks are flying, you can always “cancel” your plans and continue hanging out with your date.
It’s also best not to assume the other person will pay for you—bring your own money and that way you can avoid a potentially awkward moment.
IF YOU’RE JUST NOT FEELING THE SPARK…
If you feel like you’re wasting your time talking to someone, don’t feel obligated to keep chatting with them.
If you want to leave “ghosting” in 2019, just be honest and say, “You seem like a great person, but I just don’t think we’re a great fit. Thanks for your time though!” and peace out.
STAY SECURE IN CYBERSPACE
Users should be careful not to share too much personal information on the apps, said Scott Hilden, chief of WCC public safety. He added that by using your full or real name on these apps, other users can look it up online and find anything from your address to personal details from your Facebook profile. Hilden suggested running a Google search on your own name to see what information comes up and to change your social media account settings to private. He also advised against sharing information like your place of work or the name of the yoga studio you go to every week. If you decide to share a phone number with someone from a dating app, Hilden said it’s best to start by just using a temporary phone number—such as a Google Voice number—first before sharing the number associated with you.
Don’t share photos of your children online, if you have any, and don’t send anyone money or credit card information.
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, asks you for a lot of personal information or even just gives you a bad vibe, most apps have the option to report and block an account.
If you’re in the LGBTQ+ community and not fully “out,” be wary of where and with whom you share that information.
TIPS FOR USING THE APPS
Be careful with which way you swipe—the function may differ app-to-app.
Beware that you may match with a friend’s ex—or an equally awkward acquaintance.
Before you sign-up, keep in mind that some apps are free, some cost money and others offer paid add-ons and premium features.