We all know true love knows no bounds and recognizes no visa requirements. We also know that what you’re looking for when you’re lonely and swiping on Tinder and Bumble from your hostel or a random cafe where you can’t pronounce any of the menu items, could not even loosely be described as love. But for the sake of this article, let’s pretend that it is.
The warm embrace of a stranger is somehow even more appealing when you’re hundreds of miles from home, and the best part is that the two possible endings are either glorious (international love affair) or NBD (forgettable foreign fling). There is, of course, that third option: MURDER.
Women often joke about not getting murdered by their app dates, but these jokes are really just a coping mechanism for the very real stats around partner violence, made even scarier by the unfamiliar surroundings of a foreign country.
But we should never let fear get in the way of getting that sweet, sweet foreign booty.
To help in your quest, I present 3 Ways to Not Die When Dating Internationally:
3. Trust Yourself
When I look back at bad decisions in my life, I can always identify the multiple red flags that were warning me very loudly to STOP. DO NOT PASS GO. When it comes to app-based dating, it means reading into cues that might be harmless but in another, worst timeline version of the world, actually mean certain death. Only have one profile picture? Asking me where I live? Want me to get into your vehicle? NAH, SON. NOT TODAY.
The cues for me will probably be different than they are for you, but the key is to not ignore the nagging feelings telling you something isn’t right.
This may sound like an over-abundance of caution but better safe than human-trafficked.
2. Trust Your Friends
Once your Spidey senses are firmly untingled and you’re confident your future soulmate isn’t sending Joe from YOU vibes, it’s time to make some plans. A rule of thumb: always tell someone where you’re going if you’re meeting someone you don’t know. In this age of technology, Google Maps lets you share your live location and if you want to be really thorough, you can share your route including your ETA and how much progress you have made.
This can be a little tricky if you’re traveling solo and don’t actually have any friends in your new city. I would advise you to lean on the people you are connecting with, whether it’s someone else at the hostel (or an employee) or the friendly barista at the cafe where you’re swiping. It may sound random, but you can use that as your starting point: “Hey girl, this is so random, but I’m traveling solo and about to meet up with this gorgeous Tinder man. I’m sure it will be fine but you know how it’s always the cute ones that get you, and I don’t want to be murdered HAHAHAHAHA. Ahem. Could I just text you when I head out later just so someone knows where I am?”
People tend to be honored that you want their help. And what’s great about this method is that you’ve also made a new friend that will probably last longer than Tinder bae.
1. Keep Control
Control is an illusion and the sooner we embrace that the happier our lives will become. We are truly putting our lives in Bumble’s hands. But that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for things to turn sideways! Where you go and how you get there are two of the big ways you can remain in control of the evening.
First, pick a place you’ve already been or that’s close to where you’re staying so you aren’t at a loss if you need to dip on short notice. Second, don’t rely on your date to pick you up and drop you off. You don’t want to be at their mercy if you want to end the night early. If you absolutely must get a ride in their car, take a picture of their license plate and send it to your new barista friend. Don’t be worried about your date thinking you’re a crazy person, this is another opportunity for a joke! “Listen, I’m just taking this picture because I don’t want you to get away with it LOLOLOLOL.” Also, low-key I think it’s good to show your date that you’ve got a good head on your shoulders.
If they were going to try something, now they know you’re not the one.
Finally, make tentative plans with someone for after the meetup and let your date know about them. This signals to them that if you were to go missing, your absence would be immediately noticed. But definitely keep them tentative, you don’t want to be a flake in case things go sideways in a good way (I think you know what I mean hehe).
Those are my words of wisdom, hopefully these tips will keep you safe and satisfied when traveling and tasting (hehe) what your new country has to offer. Disclaimer: If you do get murdered, please do not haunt me. (Mostly because it will be boring, I’m mostly squinting at my phone, swiping right after deep reflection, then falling asleep with Netflix on instead.)
What are your red flags when it comes to dating internationally or through an app?