Going Offline for a Meeting...Safety First
Once you've agreed to meet face to face, don't ask the other person to pick you up. Get yourself to and from the date, even if you have to ask a friend to drive you or take a taxi.
Before you go, make sure that several friends and family members know where you're going, who you're going with and when to expect you back. Make sure everyone writes down the information so that there are no misunderstandings.
Always meet in a public place. A public place does not mean a parking lot - they are not monitored closely enough to be considered safe. Make your first meeting a lunch or coffee date. If the sparks don't fly, it's much easier to say that you have a meeting or some other commitment that requires you to end the date prematurely.
Stay in a public place. If they pressure you to go elsewhere, say "NO." If they pressure you, they obviously do not care about your feelings - so it is best to end the meeting and leave. If they start to follow you to where you are parked, stop and hail a cab. Come back later for your car with a friend or family member.
If possible, bring a cellular phone. If you need help or feel a little nervous, excuse yourself to the bathroom and call for back-up! Put together an instant, "accidental" meeting with a friend. They're also good for emergencies or in case you think your online love is an offline stalker who's following you home. Use the cellular phone to call the police - DO NOT HEAD BACK HOME. Keep the person far from there and if you feel it's necessary, drive to a police station.
Never leave your personal belongings unattended. A purse or wallet contains all of your personal information. Keep your keys with you. Do not take unnecessary risks.
Do not leave your beverage unattended. If you do, nonchalantly ask for another drink.
Stick with non-alcoholic drinks. Being drunk is not a good way to be safe.
If all goes well, set up another date before the first one comes to an end. Be sure that this second date (and any others thereafter) incorporates all of these safety tips.