The risks of blind dating: What you need to know

Emily Schultz, Staff Reporter

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The older I get, the more I hear talk from anxiety-ridden friends looking to find a partner. While hooking up is definitely a large part of college culture, after four or five years in school, most people seem to be ready to settle down, and this is understandable. Relationships are comfortable. It feels good to be cared about and to care for someone else.

The problem is actually finding someone. Asking someone out on a date is hard to do. Finding someone you genuinely like enough to ask out can be even harder. This is why so many people are relying on dating websites or turning to friends who offer to set them up, which is what happened for two UW-L students Eric Barreau and a student who will be referred to as Margaret Jones.

While neither Barreau nor Jones ended up with the people they were set up with, they both experienced the infamous and highly dreaded social situation: the blind date.

Both stories are similar: friends set them up based on their not-so-solid dating histories. Interestingly, Barreau and Jones had very different reflective experiences.

“My coworker [the woman who set him up] got really mad when I broke up with her friend,” Barreau said. “I was like, [there] is a big difference—we don’t see eye to eye on pretty big issues. I’m not going to try to salvage something that I don’t want to pursue any longer.”

In Barreau’s situation, he found it difficult to continue a friendship with the woman who set up his date once things didn’t work out.

“I’m assuming the mutual friend involved probably also caught a lot of slack from the girl I dated,” said Barreau.

When we involve our friends in our romantic relationships in this way, it can be hard to keep everyone happy, which is an interesting perspective I would not have attached to blind dating.

Jones, on the other hand, emphasized the issue of safety on blind dates. While neither Jones nor Barreau felt that they were in danger on their blind dates, they saw the issue of safety slightly differently.

“Since my friend knew us both very well, it wasn’t like [the date] could take advantage of me or do something stupid and just get away with it,” said Jones.

Barreau, on the other hand, said, “I don’t see [blind dates] as any more dangerous than meeting someone at a bar and going home with them.”

He did, however, acknowledge his male privilege. “I’m sure the person I went on the blind date with was cognizant of the [risks involved] and decided beforehand that we would be meeting in a public place and not going home together,” he said.

With that being said, Jones offered some safety advice for anyone who may ever go on a blind date: “Make sure to meet in a very public place. You may even want your friends to go to the place first and pretend to be random people. Do not rely on your date for transportation. Make sure you have a friend who is checking up on you every 30 minutes. And also, have an escape plan! Bring pepper spray and learn self-defense for heaven’s sake.”

Blind dating isn’t always dangerous or unsuccessful. Go into it with an open-mind, just be prepared for your own protection.

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