Dating is a great chance to get to know someone better before entering a relationship. It is a time when everything is new. Because dating is a time when you are learning about someone, caution may help keep you safe.
Ways to Make Dating Safer
Try to communicate even before the first date. Text, email, IM, or talk on the phone before hanging out in person. This gives you more to talk about on the date and gives you a chance to get clues about who the other person is.
Make the first few dates with a group. This will not only reduce your stress and nerves, but also give you an opportunity to see your date's personality around other people.
Inform family members or friends about who you are going out with, where you are going, and when you will be home. Safety should be your priority.
Know what you are comfortable with before the date. Decide what you are comfortable with sexually and what you want to do to protect yourself. If your partner does not respect your choices, he or she is not the partner for you.
Stay where other people can see and hear you. If something does happen, you can call or run for help.
Avoid drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol can make you act differently than you normally would. This may be dangerous with someone you don't know well.
Feel free to say "no" at any point. If you are not comfortable with something, you have every right to say "no." Say it clearly and loudly. You can change your mind whenever you want. Your partner should respect your choice.
Know the warning signs of dating violence. Even if your partner seems charming and sweet at first, look out for these warning signs:
- Angry outbursts
- Rudeness to other people
- Cruelty towards younger kids or animals
- Unreasonable jealousy
- Trying to tell you what to do or think
- Blaming everyone else for their problems
If any of these signs sound familiar, think about whether this is someone you want to be with. Talk about it with friends, family, or counselors, or call Project STAY.
For more information about how to be in a healthy relationship, click here. You can also learn more about healthy relationships with these resources.