In fact, over 337 million people worldwide have been actively looking for love this year! Dating should be (and often is) a fun and truly exciting experience, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take care of our personal safety at the same time – which I promise is easy to do.

While I haven’t been at Maclynn long, in my previous university role as Social Secretary I was responsible for the health and wellbeing of 166 girls. Though there were many fabulous times, sadly, I also witnessed many girls experience certain situations in dating that didn’t make them feel safe. This has led me to think about safety perspectives in a different way. According to the NCA, 37% of dating app users have reported someone for inappropriate behaviour and 63% have felt uncomfortable on a date initiated via a dating app. This demonstrates a common shared experience when dating and highlights the need for better safety practises, all of which can be very easily implemented. So here are four common-sense practises to do before, during and after a date.

1. Choosing the date spot

Restaurants, bars and coffee shops are all perfect spots for a first date. Location really sets the tone, whether you’re looking for something more relaxed and lowkey or if something formal is more up your street. But ideally, confined and isolated locations such as your home or public parks should be avoided when meeting for the first time. It’s also a bonus to choose a location that you are comfortable with and know the surroundings of well. That way, even if you don’t click with your match, you can still enjoy your time.

2. Planning Ahead

Whether it’s figuring out which tube line you need to catch, driving, or booking an Uber, be in control of your own transportation. Doing this allows you to leave confidently and at a time that suits you, rather than being in an awkward limbo of ‘how do I get home?’. This is particularly important in situations where you might like to make a premature exit, allowing you to dictate the length of the date and avoid being reliant on your date to get you home.

3. Letting a friend know

Letting someone know about your date, whether that’s a friend, family member or house mate, is an easy way for at least one person to be aware of your movements; when, where and who you are meeting. Provide them with updates throughout the date – perhaps you’ve moved to a different bar, you’re on your way home or you’ve made it home safely. That way, they’re clued up on your latest updates. Pre-arranging a call part way through the date can also be helpful, whether that’s a giddy chat about how great a time you’re having or coming up with an excuse for you to ditch the date.

Something that I have personally made good use of, and handy far beyond the scope of dating, is Find My Friends or Whatsapp Live Location. These are great tools to stay in the know of a close friend or family member’s movements without even having to call or message. This might be checking whether they got home from their date or just that they made it back from work okay.

4. Finding an advocate

If you ever feel unsafe, uncomfortable or threatened on a date, always look for a nearby advocate to get help, such as a waiter or bartender. ‘Ask for Angela’ is a campaign in England which started in 2016, allowing you to discreetly get help by simply asking for Angela and its meaning being unanimously understood. This codeword is useful to have on the backburner, even if you never need it. But if you ever feel uncomfortable it is absolutely okay to end the date early, whether it’s just a niggling gut feeling or a physical threat.

There you go, four simple ways to keep yourself safer while looking for love. Here at Maclynn, supporting our members in feeling safer through their dating journey is something we pride ourselves in. Through personally meeting all members prior to matching them, getting feedback after every date and giving date spot advice, we play an active role in promoting personal safety.