When I first met Mike, we emailed for several months before we met in person for the first time in Australia. And right after we met at the airport, I took Mike back to my parent’s house and dropped him in the middle of my family holiday (complete with parents, sister, and baby niece).
Now, there are some unusual aspects to my story.
Objectively, spending three months emailing someone and then inviting them to spend two weeks with your family is… sort of odd, in this day and age. But it worked for us—it gave us a chance to get to know each other better without the intensity and pressure of being alone straight away. And it was very safe, as far as plans go.
That safety issue is what I want to talk to you about today. Especially if you are a woman, I really want you to read this because, let’s be honest, women are much more at risk than men in these scenarios. If you are a woman meeting a man you’ve come to care about for the first time you must be cautious and smart. I can’t say this strongly enough.
Most people will turn out to be more or less who they say they are. Most people have good intentions. Most, however, is not everyone. So here are my top tips for staying safe when you’re meeting someone for the first time.
1. Meet in public
The first time you meet someone, the safest thing to do is meet in a public place—an airport, train station, bus stop, park, hotel lobby, etc.
Also, make sure your cell phone is charged and carry it on you.
If they’re coming to you,you’ll probably want to greet them alone (let’s face it, first meetings are exciting/nerve-wracking enough without an audience,) but make sure friends or family members know exactly when and where you’ll be.
If you’re traveling to them, carry enough cash in your pocket to pay for a taxi. Also bring cash or credit cards that you can use to pay for a hotel if need be.
After you meet, don’t immediately take them back to your home unless there will be other people present.
2. Keep family and friends updated
In addition to letting family or friends know where and when you’re meeting, check in with your “trusties” after the pickup via text or phone, and regularly throughout the visit.
Also, work out in advance with a friend or family member a discreet “I want backup” signal that you can use if you want them to join you or bail you out at any point.