Introducing: Afterglow and Safe Dating
Afterglow is a dating app with wellbeing and safety at the heart of it, created by University of Southampton students. Dating is a minefield of conventions, comedy and awkward encounters, but it can also be unsafe. Meeting someone we don’t know, of course is a risk. So, here are a few tips from the Afterglow team about safe dating!
If you or someone you know has encountered abuse, harassment or assault while at university, please contact the local authorities or use the SUSU Report and Support Tool.
Tips on Safe Dating
Meet in public for the first few dates
This may be a common one but it’s exceptionally important. If your date doesn’t want to meet in public, then there is clearly something wrong or dodgy going on. This is often a red flag. Suggestions of places to meet can be coffee shops, restaurants, the cinema, or a venue you know well!
Always let someone know where you’re going
Whenever you go out late at night, make sure other people know where you’re going, when you’re going and when you’re coming back. That way if anything were to happen, and you don’t return back on time, they know to help you out, even if it’s just a message to check how you are. If it’s a date or you’re meeting someone new, screenshot the photos of your date, their name and the address of where you’re going. If you’re meeting up with someone new or going someplace unfamiliar it’s also good practice to share your location with your close friends and family so they can see where you are and if your night is going to plan. It only takes the flick of a switch to do so, but this can be invaluable to help your loved ones know how your night is going. Apps you could use include Apple’s Find My, Snap Maps or the Afterglow app.
Avoid drinking too much
Many of us like a drink on a date, but you want to be able to remain in control and get home safely and you can’t always do that if you’re wasted. If your date is trying to push you to drink more or doesn’t respect your wishes to not drink, then there is something wrong. It’s also not the best first impression to make if you’ve made your way through a few too many pints or cocktails.
Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have connection to order an Uber or a taxi
Try and ensure your phone is fully charged and you’re always in an area that has service. You can’t share your location or access help and support if your phone is dead. It’s good practice to get in the habit of putting your phone on charge before you get ready for an event, a night out or even just a general day to day trip.
If you feel unsafe, leave.
Don’t stay out of politeness. LEAVE. The truth is, if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable you should leave. You have no requirement to stay and shouldn’t feel awkward leaving half-way through. In many bars you can pop to the bar and ask for Angela, this will allow the bar staff to help you leave in a calm, safe way. This is a system in place at The Stags and The Bridge.
Research your date
Try and find out a bit more information on them and do some background research. This can help you verify the person is who they say they are. On Afterglow, all members are verified, however, you can still conduct your own research. Treat it as a fun experiment!
Don’t accept a drink that was bought for you before you arrived.
Again, food and drink wise. Don’t accept anything that was bought for you if you haven’t seen it being poured. This stranger could have spiked your drink and at the end of the day you want to keep yourself safe. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to say no. A small tip is to say ‘Sorry I can’t drink that, here you have it’ or ‘Sorry, I’m allergic’ or even just being remotely honest ‘Sorry, I didn’t see it being poured and this is our first date so I’m going to decline. Thank you though.’
Debunk your night out afterwards
Lots of things can happen on a night out and whilst prevention is the best course of action, we don’t always notice everything or aren’t able to react. That’s why it’s really important that you have a discussion with all your friends after your date and so they can check in with you. If any incident does occur, remember, none of you have to be the hero by yourselves, you can always get help from other people, such as venue staff or, if required, the emergency services – everyone is there for your need.
Top Tip: It’s only fun if it’s safe
For more advice about debunking nights out, read this amazing blog post by Megan Laing on the Afterglow Blog https://afterglowdating.co.uk/post/post-club-cheesy-chips-why-you-should-debunk-your-night-out-when-you-get-home
For more great blog posts, check out the Afterglow Blog https://afterglowdating.co.uk/blog and find great safety and wellbeing resources on our socials Insta: @techafterglow and Facebook: @afterglowtech and head to our website to register to download the app!
Stay safe and we hope you all have a wonderful student experience ☺
The Afterglow TeamTags: student led