Donna Carbone, the founder of Feel No Shame, is an advocate for survivors of assault. She is a published author who uses her crime novels to impart information that will keep women safe in an ever increasingly dangerous world. When we called Ms. Carbone to provide content for this chapter she certainly had a few dating tips and ideas to share with our Ultimate Social Network Members.
According to Carbone, “Dating should be fun and it should be safe. Whether you are an experienced dater or a novice, there are a few ground rules you should know before heading out into the dating world.” Although you can gather a lot of info about someone via text and email, there's nothing like hearing another person’s voice and engaging in some back and forth banter to get a good sense of their value
In today’s world, it is vital that you have a basic sense of who a person is before agreeing to meet. At the very least, make sure you know their full name and place of residence. Share the identity of your date, a photo if possible, occupation, place of employment, and whatever contact information you have with close friends and family. Advise a family member or friend of where you will be meeting and ask that they call you from time to time during the evening to make sure all is well.
Rules of Safety
Always trust your instincts – they haven’t failed you yet
Never publish your phone number or email address
Take your time and look at, watch, or listen to lots of different profiles. What about these profiles attracts you most? Use these points as guidelines when deciding who to date
Don't take anything at face value – lying has become a way of life and it’s easy to do online
Ask lots of questions when chatting with your potential mates
Make sure you feel comfortable with whomever you are chatting with at all times
If someone is abusive or rude, block them immediately
Don't give your home or work address to anyone you have not met in person
Before agreeing to a date, make sure you know as much about the other person as possible
Don't allow yourself to be talked into anything. Take charge!
Take your time to get to know someone -- don't be rushed. A patient person will be happy to wait until you are ready to meet
Make sure anyone you're talking to is willing to provide photos and information about himself or herself
Talk on the phone for a while before arranging a date
Always meet in a well-lit public place
Always tell a good friend where you are going and who you're meeting
If possible, step away and call a friend during the date to confirm that everything is okay or ask the friend to call you at regular intervals
Always carry a cell phone on a date
Schedule lunch dates -- they're convenient and they have a time limit
Always make your own travel arrangements to/from a first date
Do not accept a ride home on the first date or reveal your address
Keep your first date to a specified time limit so you always have an "exit" point
Never feel like you owe it to someone to meet them. You don't!
These rules might seem overly cautious, but the reality is that you are introducing yourself to complete strangers and need to take all possible precautions. Following these and other safe dating strategies will allow for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience while keeping yourself safe.
Never give another person the opportunity to take advantage of you. Be prepared. Again, if it does not feel right, do not do it. You are responsible for your own safety, and no one can protect you better than you can do it yourself.