Dear Rabbi and Shira
Hi. I’m a weekly reader of your column. I figured this was the right place to ask my question. On my friend’s very first date, she got in a fight with the person she was set up with. It got so bad that he pulled over on one of the service roads of Ocean Parkway and demanded she get out pf the car. While there are scarier possibilities that could have happened, I started to wonder what are “best practices” that one should utilize while dating
Seeking Safety in Brooklyn
Dear Seeking Safety,
This is an important conversation to have. As much as we like to assume that everyone is going be respectful of boundaries and date in the healthiest way, we should always exercise care in how we date and interact to ensure everyone’s safety.
Trust your intuition- Your mind is processing and scanning all the time, and sometimes will pick up on cues that something is not safe. If you feel something is off, it probably is.
Stand your ground- If a request to do something makes you uncomfortable, express it. If the question being asked is inappropriate, you don’t have to answer it. It might be uncomfortable especially if you don’t know the person well, but you’re are entitled to stick to your principles.
Keep contact- Let your family know where you are and where you are going. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave for your date.
Date in a public place, where there are plenty of people. A good litmus test can be- is this location and situation appropriate to the laws of yichud? These laws were created to ensure that when there is a meeting between two people, there are plenty of witnesses and people are less likely to act inappropriately.
Open your own beverages, don’t share or exchange drinks, don’t drink anything which tastes unusual. As stated above, most people are nice, normal and respectful, but always be vigilant.
Be Prepared- make sure you have money, a charged phone and a wallet.
Get home safe- If you are the person who is driving home, make sure that your date gets into their home safely. If they drop you off, make sure that they arrive home safely.
Good luck and stay safe.
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack