Most people are honest, decent and probably just as nervous as you are. Of course it can be a bit frightening meeting new people for the first time. They feel the same, so make a joke about it.
Remember when you were a shy, spotty teenager going on your first date? I expect that you told your mum or dad where you were going and what time you would be back. It is still a good idea when going on a first date to tell a friend or relative where you are going and to follow these guidelines...
1. If you haven't driven yourself to the pre-arranged meeting place, take your mobile phone with you and pre-enter a local taxi telephone number beforehand. Then if you want to make a quick exit you can ring for a taxi while in the loo to save any embarrassment. Be kind though - See number 5 below.
2. Meet in a public place, such as a bar, a restaurant or a cafe. This makes it easier to extract yourself if you feel that you have made a mistake in meeting someone. If you feel especially nervous or wary, perhaps you could arrange to have a friend or relative sitting discreetly in the background. Their opinion may be valuable and you could always express surprise at meeting them and introduce them to your date.
3. Don't rush things. It takes a while to get to know someone, so don't rush in too quickly. Try to establish a casual friendship before considering romance. This will give you time to get an idea about the other person's reliability and honesty. Remember too that the other person is probably also a bit nervous and cautious, so try not to rush them. Even if you fancy them like mad as soon as you meet - keep a little cool and let things develop at their own pace.
4. Check out your date for your own peace of mind. Get a phone number at home or at work before you meet, if you can. Give the number to a friend or relative before you go. (Some people are married and still dating and we cannot weed them out for you).
5. Be honest (but kind). If you really don't feel that there is any future in meeting again, gently tell your date, but thank them for the opportunity of meeting them and wish them well for the future. You will still have had an outing, some fun and some dating "practice". We can't all "click" with everyone. Don't be dishonest and say you will be in touch if you don't mean it. Kindness costs nothing.
6. Safe sex. (Yes, even the over 50's sometimes still have sex - despite what our children think). Don't rush into anything that you are not ready for, but if a relationship becomes physical, make sure that you practice safe sex by always using a condom for any penetrative sexual activity. Don't take any risks with your health. It only takes one occasion with an infected partner to ruin your life.
7. Be brave. Most people are honest, decent and nice. The risk of meeting a "bunny boiler" or psychopath are very slight. Take sensible precautions (see above) then just get out there and have some FUN! If nothing else, you will have had an outing, some laughter and hopefully, made a new friend.