First things first, you need to think about your safety. Meet somewhere busy and secure.
Make your own transport arrangements. Watch for any signs that seem strange or weird to you – or maybe even dangerous. Dress in comfortable, casual clothing - stuff you can run in, if necessary! Need to escape urgently? Go to the loo. Phone for help or a taxi. Add or remove clothing, put on sunglasses. Slip away amongst a group of people. Don’t look back.
It sounds like an action thriller, and hopefully none of that will be necessary.
But on a first date you should always be looking for reasons not to continue, rather than the other way around! Be truthful, because that’s the basis of a successful relationship. Expect your companion to do the same. And if you have a feeling they aren’t? Don’t go out with them again. Listen to your gut – it can save you a lot of trouble!
That doesn’t mean telling all on the first date. But you mustn’t wait too long. Quickly ‘broad brush’ your history, relationships, and so on.
Don’t even try to hide something important, not even for a few dates! For example, if you’re a single mother, slip that into the very first conversation.
Maybe: ‘Oh dear, is that the time? I must go and pick up my daughter…’
You don’t have to tell every tiny detail of every last fling, but own up to anything really wild you got up to – however long ago – and any current issues! So there are no surprises in the future. But lots of detail is unnecessary. After that, whenever your partner shares something, share something similar about yourself. Neither getting too far ahead or falling behind. Things like how you spend your time, your passions, parents, siblings and friends – including any skeletons in the closet!
Gradually increasing disclosure is what draws you closer together. Gently move from facts towards opinions and feelings. So as you talk about each other, your jobs and families, also start asking questions that draw out your new friend’s opinions and feelings. And while people rarely remember the details of a conversation, they will always remember how you made them feel.
Communicate enthusiasm, interest, excitement and humour. And before you know it, things will be going really well!