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Many of us are using dating apps such as Bumble Match and Tinder to find potential soul mates. But, sadly, what may behind those handsome looks and beautiful faces may be something very different. A word to the wise: Use caution on the first few dates.

The following are tips and tricks I used when dating strangers:

  1. Before you meet someone, make sure that you get their last name. Now, I know many of you may find this intrusive. So be it. If you had a teenage daughter, your child would be drilled all about who he/she is dating, and want to investigate. Google this person, look on CCAP, and find out as much info as you can before agreeing to meet them in person. It’s not hard to get an idea from Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media about this person. It’s something I did and will continue to do. I want to feel safe.
  2. As romantic as it sounds to be walking the beach at sunset-for your first few dates… don’t. Meet in a public spot. The first date should be a coffee or adult beverage date, in a spot where there are a lot of people. Personally, I had a date with someone at a restaurant where I knew the chef. He and his team checked on me throughout the date, and I felt very comfortable knowing someone was keeping my safety close to the vest. To this day, we enjoy laughing about the multiple personalities he possessed, but that’s another blog.
  3. Call a friend when you arrive to let them know where you are, and then, at the end of the date, check back with them to tell them you are safe. This goes for both men and women. Let people know where you are at all times. Remember, as wonderful as they look or sound, you don’t know this person. I’ve been catfished more than once, and it’s not a pretty situation.
  4. Never leave a drink unattended. Never. Sadly, someone could easily slip something into it and the consequences could be life-threatening. Of course, this could get very uncomfortable if you are dragging your Frappuccino into the restroom at Starbucks, so finish up, and then enjoy the facilities.
  5. Drive yourself to and from the first meeting. This way, in case things go south, you have the opportunity to leave as needed. If you are in a dangerous situation, waiting for an Uber can become problematic. Plan your exit accordingly, and if you need assistance from the restaurant or bar you are visiting, don’t be afraid to ask. Most people are generous of spirit and soul and want to help those in need.

I don’t mean to sound negative, but I do want to make sure that you understand that safety is everything. Now, follow the above, relax and enjoy your date.

Lori Mendelsohn connects people both personally and professionally. With a knack for introducing people who wind up saying, “I do,” she can be reached at Her website is

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.