While I was single I loved going out on dates. I never felt in danger. As for as I can remember, every date I went out on was very enjoyable.
One of the reasons for that is because I very carefully screened and actually “predated” most of the ladies I asked out. These were women I had been acquainted with and had seen in action at church, in singles groups, or in other social situations. They had good reputations and carried themselves in a confident and kindly manner. I could see that they dealt with people from a position of strength and were emotionally healthy.
But, as a DivorceCare facilitator, as a singles group leader, and as a single man out on dates, I heard many horror stories. Some of them were just embarrassing, some were uncomfortable, but some were downright dangerous. I heard stories ranging from the irritating “he wouldn’t stop trying to hold my hand” type to the darker “I suddenly felt woozy, I think he put something in my drink” variety.
Danger of Compromising
So you’re out on a date. The person you are out with says, “Hey, let’s ____ ?” What do you do?
That blank could be almost anything. Let’s have a drink, hold hands, go watch the submarine races, skip town, go line dancing, go to my place, go bungee jumping, elope, go skinny dipping – there are so many possibilities as to what someone might ask you to do on a date that you cannot possibly be prepared for every situation and every question. Some suggestions may be perfectly harmless. Some may contain hidden dangers.
The best thing to do is to have guidelines in place now as to what you will or will not do. If you make decisions while on a date, there is a high probability that you will at some point mess up – possibly badly.
You may end up hurting only your pride, but you could very possibly put yourself in a situation that endangers your morals, your chastity, your reputation, your finances, or even your life. And while you cannot anticipate every situation, you can create guidelines and boundaries now that point you in the right direction then.
Have a Code
Create a code of conduct before you date. What kind of places will you and will you not patronize? Where do you draw the line physically? Do you drink alcohol? How much? What time will you be home? What kind of language do you use and expect your date to use? How much money will you spend tonight? These are YOUR boundaries. They are non-negotiable, immutable, and immovable. Never trust someone who keeps trying to move your boundaries. They are probably not interested in what is best for you.
Carefully think it through and determine your convictions and boundaries well beforehand, then etch them on a stone tablet. Only change them if after careful consideration you find them erroneous. Never change them because someone pressures you, especially in the middle of a date. Never compromise who you are for anyone – ever.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who are master manipulators. These people only care about their own gratification and will attempt to manipulate, cajole, and control you.
They are emotional vampires who will leave you empty, spent, and doubting yourself. They will mock and belittle your convictions and your boundaries if they get in the way of their good time. The art of subtle pressure is one of their favorite weapons. Actually, they have it down to a science and have probably honed their skills on many unwitting victims.
Look for warning signs. Bragging about themselves, belittling or being overly critical of others, mistreating the wait staff at a restaurant, being a little too friendly with members of the opposite sex, pushing against your boundaries, making fun of your beliefs – these are all flashing red lights. Danger! Do not go there.
This is one of the reasons it is so important to see someone in action in other situations, or predate them you could say, before agreeing to go out alone with them.
I have very rarely seen someone go out with someone who had more permissive morals or looser boundaries than them and end up in a good place. I have many times seen people stretch or forsake their boundaries to go out with someone and end up heartbroken. More than once, I have seen attractive and otherwise smart people get involved with a bad boy/girl and end up devastated, then turn around and do the same thing again.
Bad company corrupts good morals.
I’m sure you have seen it too, the good Christian go out with the bad boy/girl and later forsake what they once treasured – their friends, family, responsibilities, sobriety, God.
You Will Know Them By Their Fruit
I’m not sure which is worse, the bad boy/girl or the seemingly nice guy/girl with the hidden agenda. These can be harder to spot. It takes time for what they really are to show itself. But, eventually, they cannot hide who they are at their core.
As the Bible says, you will know them by their fruit. How do you feel after you have been around them or after observing them interact with others? Don’t go out alone with anyone right away. Give it time. Wait to see some fruit, then examine it carefully.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly there is the risk of physical danger. Sometimes, despite all of your precautions, you find yourself on a very bad or possibly even dangerous date.
Have measures in place in case of a worst case scenario. Let people know beforehand where you will be and at what times. Have people check in with you periodically. Don’t hesitate to end the date early and call a friend for a ride if you feel at all uneasy.
Double Date / Group Date / Chaperone
Before you go out alone with anyone, why not go on a double date or group date first? Or, you could do like Anita and I did when we started dating for real, we had a chaperone a lot of the time.
It was not until shortly before getting married that we allowed ourselves to be alone at her or my place, and looking back at it, I’m not sure it was wise to even then. But, that is for reasons of chastity, not physical safety.
A few more suggestions would be to never meet someone you do not know very well at your place or their place. Instead, always meet at a well-lit public place. Never leave your food or drink unattended. In my opinion, carrying mace is not a bad idea. Try doing an internet search for dating safety. You can find a lot of good strategies and tips that way.
Finally, ask for details about where you will be going and what you will be doing. “You’ll see when we get there,” is NOT a good answer. Unless it’s someone who has proved himself or herself to you over a long period of time and you trust them with your life, your money, your reputation, and your chastity, you need to know the details and someone you can count on needs to know the details.
Go On Dates – Just Be Careful
Please do not get the idea that I am anti-dating. As I wrote in the beginning, I loved going out on dates. Please read my other dating posts to get the whole balance of my thoughts on that important subject- especially my posts Dating vs Dating and Best Date Ever. All I am saying here is – BE CAREFUL.
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