As you unpack the boxes in your dorm room or apartment and get settled in for the next year of college classes, there’s a good chance you’ll be making new friends. For many students, there will also be romantic sparks flying.
Dating during college can be a thrilling and exciting experience. Many people even meet their future spouses while in college. Even if you aren’t quite ready to pick out venues and floral arrangements, having a plan for safe dating on campus is a smart move.
Five Tips for Dating Safely on Campus
1. Let Someone Know Where You’ll Be
As HerCampus reports, many modern-day college students are finding dates on apps like Tinder and Bumble. The close proximity of so many same-age peers makes the dating pool especially deep, and there’s a good chance you’ll find an opportunity to swipe right.
Before you head out for your big date, however, make sure that you let someone know the details. Who are you meeting? Where will you be? What time do you plan to come back?
You can also temporarily share your location with a friend or family member through your phone. Another good strategy is to have a designated check-in time when a friend or family member will call you.
2. Do Your Research
Unfortunately, the ease of dating apps is tempered by the ease of misleading profiles. Make sure that your date really is who they say they are before heading out to meet in person.
Some good strategies include checking social media accounts, a basic Google search, and scheduling a video call before opting to take things further.
3. Choose a Good Meeting Place
Your first meeting place should be public (avoid giving your address until you’ve gotten to know each other more). It’s best if it’s in an area with lots of other people.
Think about your transportation options as well. You don’t want to be beholden on your date to get you back to your dorm or apartment. Plan a location that’s easy for you to get to (and from) on your own, with public transit, or with a ride from a friend.
4. Be Prepared to Reach Out for Help
Don’t head out on a date with your phone on 10% battery. You want to be able to get in touch with someone if things take a turn for the worse.
In addition to having a full battery, it’s a good idea to scope out the campus safety call boxes near your meeting location. Most campuses have these boxes at regular intervals throughout campus, and a single push of a button can get public safety professionals on the scene in minutes.
5. Be Mindful of Your Drinks
It’s not a great idea to drink alcohol on a first date. You want to be clear-headed and fully aware of your surroundings. If you do choose to imbibe, make sure to limit your intake so you can stay focused and attentive.
It’s also important to be mindful of any drink (alcoholic or not) and its potential for being drugged. Only take open drinks directly from servers and don’t leave your drink unattended. If you’re ever in doubt, get a fresh one — even if you need to “accidentally” spill the one you have.
While you shouldn’t let the concern of a date going badly keep you from meeting someone, it is important to be aware of potential risks and take steps to protect yourself.
With a little planning, a supportive network of friends, and a bit of caution, you can set yourself up for success — and safety — on the dating scene!