You’re all set. You have the outfit, the gloss, the smile and the attitude. Your blind-date jitters are in check as you slip on your stilettos and prepare to leave for the night. But, before you start dreaming of that good-night kiss, take a quick scan of our handy advice on dating safety rules. With the help of Toronto-based sexuality and relationship coach Dr. Rebecca Rosenblat, we give you some tips to remember before you head out to meet your mystery man!

Before the date
Ask whoever set you up on the date why they think you are a good match. “The answer needs to be more than ‘you’re both single,’” explains Rosenblat. Things like sharing similar interests (animals, cooking, reading), working in the same field, or having like personality traits are good reasons to be set up.

Pick a safe place
“Think safety first and arrange to meet in a public place that is well lit and has a good number of people around,” says Rosenblat. Try a cool, casual pizza joint, a laid-back café, or a popular java spot. A little noise is good — it saves you from those awkward quiet moments.

Make sure you have your own way home. You can cut loose when you feel like it, and your date doesn’t have to drive you home. “Be wary of letting your date escort you to your way of transportation,” cautions Rosenblat. Remember, you don’t know them that well yet!

The alcohol factor
Watch your alcohol intake, as well as your date’s intake. You need to be clear-headed to make rational decisions should you need to. The last thing you want is the both of you passing out on the couches in the bar lounge.

More key safety tips for blind dates on the next page…

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Single on the dating circuit: Give your dating life a boost

Watch your drink
“Never, ever leave your drink unattended,” says Rosenblat. “Even if you are getting a good vibe. If you do leave it, simply order a new one.”

Trust your gut feelings
Get the impression your date’s there for a one-night hook-up? Chances are, you’re right. “We often talk ourselves out of warning signs, only to regret it later,” says Rosenblat. Some warning signs could be rudeness, inappropriate comments, touching, or you just have nothing in common. If you start to feel uncomfortable, make your way out of the date as respectfully as possible.

The first minutes
First impressions are everything. You’re able to tell a lot by someone within the first few moments of interaction. How they talk, what they say, how they say it and their body language can speak volumes. “In the first 10 minutes, you can get a sense of whether the individual is kind, considerate, confident, self-centred, reactive, egocentric, or controlling,” advises Rosenblat.

Don’t expect too much
Going in with expectations of meeting your soul mate or the man of your dreams can lead to disappointment. “Easy connection is great,” says Rosenblat about a first encounter. “Sparks, rare.” Go into it with plans to have fun and let things happen naturally.

Don’t be a blind date hater
Even if one blind date doesn’t go as planned, don’t ban them from your dating options. “We’ve all gone to bad movies, dinners, vacations, parties, job interviews, but it shouldn’t keep us from trying for something better in the future. Blind dates should be no different,” says Rosenblat. “You can’t win the jackpot if you’re not playing the game!”

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