Meeting New People and Staying Safe
Meeting new people is one of life’s great joys. Humans are intrinsically sociable creatures, and it is in our nature to strike up conversations and new relationships.
The vast majority of new people you meet will be perfectly nice, and perfectly safe. But sometimes, you might come across more spurious characters. These people can have ulterior or unpleasant motives, and it is important that you are aware of these.
You should remember that, while most people are good, some are not. While you are out and about, make sure that you are aware of the risks posed by this small minority, and that you are ready to tackle them.
Stay AlertYou can help to keep yourself safe by simply remaining alert, and aware of the potential risks. Make sure that you keep your wits about you. This will help you to spot potential danger before it is too late. If you are with strangers, try not to drink too much. Too much alcohol will lower your defences, and might cause you to take decisions that you would not otherwise take.
Don’t Give too Much InformationDon’t give out information like your phone number without thinking carefully first. Do not feel pressured into giving out your number – and if you do feel pressured, consider giving your number but with one digit changed. This will help to maintain your privacy, but will also give you a reasonable excuse in case you are ‘found out’. Above all, do not give your home address to a stranger.
Beware of Drink SpikingDrink spiking is a major problem. It is often thought of as a problem that only affects women, but in reality it is a risk regardless of your gender. You should remain alert to drink spiking, and make sure that you do not leave your drink unattended at any time. If you feel unwell, or if you feel that you have drunk too much, go somewhere safe; find your friends, or speak to a policeman or the security staff. You can read more about drink spiking in our article Drink Spiking: Tell-tale Signs and How to Avoid it.
Don’t Take LiftsDo not take lifts from strangers. The importance of this really cannot be overstated. Taking lifts from strangers can be very, very dangerous, regardless of how much you think you trust them. Again, if you have been drinking you need to be even more aware of the risks, as your judgement may be impaired. You should also remember that unlicensed minicabs are no different to taking lifts from strangers. You should always avoid these.
Always Tell a Friend Where You AreIf you do decide to leave with someone you have just met, you should make absolutely sure that you tell a trusted friend where you are going. Tell them the name of the person you are leaving with, and make sure that you and your friend both have their mobiles on.
Don’t be EmbarrassedRemember that there is absolutely no necessity on your part to do anything. You don’t need to go anywhere with anyone, and you don’t need to do anything with which you feel uncomfortable. If you do feel that you are being pressured into doing something that you don’t want to do, make this clear. Don’t be embarrassed to make a scene; often, simply loudly saying that you want to be left alone will be enough to get rid of someone who is pestering you.
Worried? Wear a RingIf you are female and you are worried about being hassled, particularly in nightclubs, you might consider wearing a ring on your wedding finger. Some women find that this is enough to keep away unwanted attention, particularly in unfamiliar environments.
It cannot be stressed enough that most people are perfectly harmless, and simply want to meet new people. But even with this in mind, it is important that you protect yourself when meeting new people. With just a few simple steps you can help to ensure that you are safe when around strangers. This need not mean that you have any less fun – but it will help to mean that you are protected from unintended consequences, and that you have comfortable, enjoyable nights out.