Before meeting someone you have contacted online:
- tArrange to meet your new friend in daylight in a busy, public space, close to people and shops.
- tForget the classic ritual of being picked up from home. There’s no need for them to know where you live at this stage.
- tTell your family or friends where and what time you are meeting. Ring them after you finish, or even during the meeting if it’s going well and you’ve been there for long enough for a friend to wonder where you are at.
- tIf you’ve got a mobile phone, charge it the night before and keep it close to you for easy access.
- tIf you haven’t got a mobile phone, get one!
- tIf you like, get a friend to call and check on you during the meeting. This can also be the chance to find an excuse for leaving if the chemistry isn’t fizzing.
- tBe careful not to reveal any personal details in your first conversation. You may in the natural course of events be asked about where you live. Use general references, such as ‘the south’.
- tIf you are going home straight afterwards, call a taxi before you go. Think of it as spoiling yourself for being a bold adventurer of the heart.
- tConsider making another appointment for after the meeting. That way you won’t be going straight home. Or if you like, get a friend to meet you there. You will no doubt be desperate to de-brief, so this could kill two birds with one stone.
No matter what happens, treat yourself afterwards to a little something for taking the risk of trying something new. Being good to yourself will make you feel more secure than anything else. And if you don’t want to see the person again, look at your other options. And don’t be afraid to try again – because everything’s easier the second time.